DuPont Theater

1322 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20036

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dweitzman on January 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm

The Dupont Building and the Dupont Movie theater were both owned and operated by my parents, J. Daniel and Mary Weitzman, and the desegragated theater opened in 1948, not by Mann or Freudberg in 1961. American movie distributors refused to lease films to the desegregated theater and the FBI harassed my parent until they eventually had to sell in 1961.

rivest266 on June 21, 2015 at 7:04 pm

March 19th, 1948 grand opening ad in photo section

dweitzman on May 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm

My parent built and ran the Dupont Theater from 1948 and it was the first nonsegregated movie theater in Washington D.C.

lesbrown0 on April 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

This may have been the movie house I saw a Melvin Van Peebles film called “Don’t Play Us Cheap”. I couldn’t remember the theater until a saw the exterior photo. Thanks CSWalczak

sconnell1 on August 30, 2009 at 1:20 am

HIGH NOON opened in New York City on July 24, 1952, but did not make it to D.C. until 12/31/52. According to an article I read in the “Washington Post” by their film critic Richard L. Coe, the film was held back because of protests by the American Legion.

HIGH NOON opened simultanously at the Dupont, where it played for 16 weeks, and the Playhouse, where it played for 6 weeks.

CSWalczak on August 13, 2009 at 2:50 am

Picture of the Dupont:
View link

sconnell1 on August 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm

JULIUS CAESAR, with Marlon Brando and James Mason, was released in June of 1953 and played in other major cities before coming to the Dupont on February 3, 1954.

sconnell1 on July 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

The Dupont opened for business on March 19, 1948. It’s premier attraction was the documentary THE ROOSEVELT STORY.

sconnell1 on June 17, 2009 at 11:57 pm

The longest running films at the Dupont between 1954 and 1972 (when I lived in the D.C. area) were: JULIUS CAESAR (15 weeks), THE HORSE’S MOUTH (14 weeks), NEVER ON SUNDAY (43 weeks!!!) ONE, TWO, THREE (15 weeks), PHAEDRA (15 weeks), THE THRILL OF IT ALL (14 weeks), DR. STRANGELOVE (14 weeks), THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT (11 weeks), ZORBA THE GREEK (22 weeks!), THE LOVED ONE (11 weeks), GEORGY GIRL (27 weeks!), THE FOX (16 weeks), ROMEO AND JULIET (36 weeks!), IF (12 weeks), and THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY (12 weeks).

There were also a great many films that played at the Dupont for almost two months, and I will include the entire list of every picture that played at the theater from January of 1950 to January of 1972 at a later date so you can find your favorites.

Some sidenotes: DR. STRANGELOVE and THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT played back to back at the Dupont between 2/20/64 and 9/1/64. THE THRILL OF IT ALL with Doris Day and James Garner was hardly an art house film, which was the Dupont’s specialty, but it obviously did great business. Undoubtedly a great “date movie”, it ran at the Dupont from 7/24/63 to 10/10/63.

Ironically, the 1954 version of ROMEO AND JULIET with Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall also had its first-run engagement at the Dupont. It played for 7 weeks, starting on Christmas Eve of that year.

After enjoying a healthy run of 10 weeks at the Embassy, JOE (1970) moved over to the Dupont on 10/28/70 and played there for 8 more weeks.

The only films I saw at the Dupont were: PRIVILEGE (1967), THE SWIMMER (1968), the 1968 version of ROMEO AND JULIET, TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE (a late 1969 release that opened at the Dupont on 1/16/70), THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY (another late 1969 release that opened at the Dupont on 2/18/70), and THE GREAT WHITE HOPE (1970).

kencmcintyre on January 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm

There is an enormous office building at 1330 Connecticut that spans the entire block. If the 1322 address is correct, the theater is gone.

kencmcintyre on January 29, 2009 at 8:18 pm

This was a Ted Mann Theater in 1961, according to Boxoffice magazine:

WASHINGTON-In his first move east, Ted Mann’s Emerson Theater Co. of Minnesota has acquired full control of the Dupont Theater in Washington. The art house formerly was owned jointly by United Artists and a syndicate of private investors represented by Leopold V. Freudberg, a Washington financier.

Mann, who owns 12 theaters in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, also heads a booking operation, Northwest Theaters, in the Minneapolis territory. The Dupont has been setting box office records with “Never on Sunday” for the past 43 weeks.

Local619 on December 3, 2007 at 6:16 pm

The booth ran Simplex E-7s and Peerless Magnarcs.. Above the booth was a low fan room..

The office building had a manual elevator so at midnight the Projectionist had to call the elevator and have an operator bring him down to the ground floor..

Due to the long Narrow auditorium the lenses had a very long focal length, thusly making the focus sharp as a razor..

Local619 on December 3, 2007 at 6:13 pm

I worked as Projectionist at the old Dupont in the summer of 1970. The theatre had a long and narrow auditorium with a long narrow lobby next (North) to it. The office building that housed the Dupont was on the South side of Dupont Circle, West side of Conn Ave, East side of 19th St but only half of the block, not all the way to “N” St at the new building is.. The theatre was at the South, widest end.. The booth was entered through the office building and the door looked like an office.. upon entering the “office” there was a foyer with a rest room and to the left was a steep metal stair half a flight down to the actual booth, there was a slanted ladder (emergency exit on the right) a small kitchenette opposite the rest room.. on the booth level was a generator room (North side kinda under the stairs).. on the South side of the booth, more room due to lader, not stairs, was a re-wind and work room, all with heavy (nitrate) fire doors.

tomasej on April 13, 2006 at 12:16 pm

The last posting from Sept. 4, 2005 got the wheels turning; the art house I remember from 1957 on was located at 14th Street and New York Avenue, NW (can’t think of the name at the moment). It was next door to the Capitol Garage which was demolished along with adjacent structures and replaced with office buildings (what else?). The theater played mostly (daring) foreign films, such as And God Created Woman with BB!

crownx on September 4, 2005 at 4:58 am

Does anyone remember an art house in downtown DC I used to attend showings quite frquently in the late fifties. I thought I remembered the name ‘Plaza" but I could be wrong.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 12, 2005 at 2:46 pm

rivjr, Thanks. The Little Theatre has now been posted. Perhaps you could add some information there as well.

rlvjr on July 12, 2005 at 2:36 pm

The LITTLE was on 9th Street between F and G Streets. It was later called Roth’s LITTLE. They had an extremely long run there of MGM’s movie “LILI” with Leslie Caron. NOT a first run but a clever re-run it played there at first run admission prices for about a year.
The DUPONT THEATRE had some incredibly long first run engagements. Pictures like HIGH NOON, ZORBA THE GREEK, DR STRANGELOVE each played for months-on-end.
FIRST RUNS in WASHINGTON, as elsewhere, were destroyed by the Martin Luther King Riots. After Dr. King’s followers burned and looted the downtown areas, with no interference by police, people stayed away from downtown and hence from first run theaters. Within a few years movie studios did what was necessary and opened first runs in the suburban neighborhoods. This was the death blow for all of America’s beautiful downtown first runs. Good thing to remember on the MLK holiday in Jamuary. His leadership led to fire, looting, and the end of so many movie palaces as collateral damage.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 18, 2005 at 4:24 am

Does anyone remember a D.C. movie theatre that in the 1940s and later was called the “Little Cinema” or “Little Theatre”? I’ve seen references to it but could not find it on Cinema Treasures. It was an art house. I’d like to know the address and/or other names for this place.