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In the mid-60’s I went to a special Gloria Swanson evening at the Beacon. The diva herself was on hand to introduce the silent QUEEN KELLY, including outtakes that were in her personal collection. Also shown was her early talkie THE TRESPASSER. What a great and memorable evening in a great and beautiful theatre! I still have photos I took of Swanson.
The Apollo 42nd Street was much more than a “grind run” house. Perhaps the term “grind run art house” would be more accurate. For decades it ran double bills of recent and older foreign-language films. Sometimes movies that didn’t get an opening in an art house “of class” found their way here. Films shelved by distributors occasionally got aired here. The premiere of Franco Rossi’s wonderful THE WOMAN IN THE PAINTING (“Friends for Life”) took place here in 1959 and was reviewed by the New York Times. I remember walking by the theatre in the 60s and noticing a revival double bill was playing of Rossellini’s WOMAN along with Vittorio Gassman in SHAMED. I am a lover of Italian films, but I had to leave the city and could not stay to see this program of revived Italian rarities. WOMAN was really “Desiderio”; SHAMED was “Preludio d'amore.” I have since seen DESIDERIO, but never PRELUDIO D'AMORE. Damn! But, the point is, the Apollo 42nd Street showed stuff like this and much more…and they were open about 20 hours per day.
In the 40s and 50s as the World Theatre, this place introduced to American audiences great works of the Italian neo-realist cinema, such as Rossellini’s OPEN CITY (which ran over a year) and PAISAN, De Sica’s THE BICYCLE THIEF and MIRACLE IN MILAN, Zampa’s TO LIVE IN PEACE. Going back to the pre-war years, Max Ophuls' stylish LA SIGNORA DI TUTTI played here in 1936.
I remember August, 1949, as a child of seven, being taken by my older sister to see a revival showing of the movie THE WIZARD OF OZ, which I was seeing for the first time. We went to a matinee. Admission was 60 cents till 5 PM, children 35 cents at all times. Before the film we saw a live stage performance by singer Frankie Laine…including the song “Mule Train.” Also performing were Artie Dawn, Four Step Brothers, The Four Macks, and Connie Haines. The Journal ad said “Loew’s State Brings You the Gayest State & Screen Combination Show!” The movie was one of the first I had ever seen. I remember the theatre as being packed and just extremely exciting.
I fell in love with the movie and with the theatre itself. It is one of my most vivid childhood memories.
In 1954 I saw GONE WITH THE WIND here for the first time at a revival showing. 11 A.M admission was 25 cents.
Oh yes, this theatre was and remains the most beautiful entertainment palace in the state of Rhode Island.
It was the kind of grind-run movie theatre (cheap, tacky, dingy, wino-populated) that we used to call a “scratch house.” And yet, snobbery aside, what a film education you could get by going there…so many movies, new and old…in constant turnover. A poor man’s cinematheque. Nothing like it exists any more.
As a child in the 1940’s I was taken to see some of my first movies ever in this paradise lost: SONG OF THE SOUTH, JOAN OF ARC (uncut version), and CINDERELLA in 1950.
Yes, but this is the WARWICK CINEMA, on Post Road, not the Warwick Mall Cinemas…which I will have to add right now. I live not far from where each one was, and went many times to each.
No, it was called the OLYMPIA, as in my original posting. The name OLYMPIA still appears spelled on the mosaic tiling on the walkway in front of the theatre entrance. I took a photo and just checked it to be sure.
Yes, I indicated that in giving other names to the theatre, but that didn’t show in the posting. As a young film nut, I went to the Art Cinema frequently and saw pictures here like THE MIRACLE OF MARCELINO, RIFIFI, THE STONE FLOWER, JAMES JOYCE’S ULYSSES, numerous Ingmar Bergman films in series they would run, even a revival of Griffith’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION. They even showed rarely screened films like Rossellini’s STRANGERS (VIAGGIO IN ITALIA), Malaparte’s STRANGE DECEPTION, Germi’s MADEMOISELLE GOBETTE. The theatre may have had some agreement with Art Film Booking Service, because they seemed to show everything in that distributors vault of interesting but commercially unviable esoterica.
A reproduction of a flyer from a book I have on silent Italian cinema has a film called NAPOLI CHE CANTA or WHEN NAPLES SINGS playing at the Belmont Theatre, 123 W. 48th Street, called “The Only Italian Motion Picture House on Broadway.” This is the Cines-Pittaluga version made in 1926 but released in the U.S. in the early 30’s, probably with music and songs added to create a sound track. No dates are given on the flyer. According to Variety Magazine, the first actual Italian sound film, LA CANZONE DELL'AMORE, played at the Belmont in March, 1931.
The subtitled version of Vittorio De Sica’s delightful MARRIAGE, ITALIAN STYLE, with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, began a nice run here in January, 1965.
They also in their time premiered such honorable films as Cocteau’s ORPHEUS, Fellini’s I VITELLONI, Rossellini’s THE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS.
Interesting bit of programming at the Carlton: in January, 1936 they showed the film THE LAND OF PROMISE. It was described in the newspaper ad as “Produced in Palestine under the auspices of Palestine Foundation Fund, auspices of Zionist Organization of Rhode Island.” Some details on the film can be found at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162427/
The theatre is now called the Art.
The Carlton, judging by the address in the Providence Business Directory of 1915, was previously known as the Emery.
The exact address was 15 Olneyville Square.
The exact address was 19 Maple Avenue. The theatre was also formerly known as the Odeon.
The exact address was 1849 Westminster Street. The theatre was also known as Conn’s Olympia Theatre.
The Stadium has now been beautifully restored and serves as an arts center to Woonsocket. Many cultural events take place here. Two years in a row we were treated to the Moscow Boys Choir. Free classic movies are often shown. The world premiere showings of two Farrelly Brothers films were presented in the theatre: THERE’S SOMTHING ABOUT MARY and the STUCK ON YOU (with Cher in attendance.) The Farrelly Brothers grew up in nearby Cumberland and have a particular affection for the Stadium, where they saw movies as youngsters. The theatre has a fine pipe organ. There are occasional organ recitals, and in December, 1971 I remember seeing a special presentation of Rudolph Valentino’s THE EAGLE, with live
organ accompaniment by Lee Erwin.
The Carlton Theatre is a faint memory from my childhood, since the auditorium was torn down before or at the beginnng of my teen years in the early 1950’s. What was the original entrance area and building front remains as a group of shops. The only movies I remember seeing here were the Italian film ANGELO in 1951, which my Italian-speaking parents brought me to, and a couple of years later I saw Disney’s PETER PAN. For the record, Mr. Van Bibber, the spelling of the street is Mathewson (only one “t”).
As of this date the red-brick theatre building is there and used as a storage facility. I have never seen the interior. Perhaps some are residents acquainted with the theatre could give some details. Otherwise it just remains a tantalizing presence on Taunton Avenue.
The marquee is no longer there. East Providence has a large Portuguese population. For the longest time after the theatre closed (early 60s?), the marquee announced an imminent program of Portuguese films. Ghost programs for a ghost theatre?
The only time I was in that theatre, and I remember it well, was to see Carlos Saura’s haunting CRIA! (Cria Cuervos) an the late 70s.
This is the theatre that opened Truffaut’s THE 400 BLOWS in 1959, Resnais' HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR in 1960, and Godard’s BREATHLESS in 1961. The Fine Arts played some very significant films in its time. My own best memories there were of seeing Pasolini’s THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW and Germi’s THE RAILROAD MAN. Film enthusiasts who went frequently to the Fine Arts during those years may owe some of their best cinematic affections to what they first saw on that screen.
I believe it was known as the Trans-Lux in the 1950’s where it indeed specialized in the racier foreign films that contained subject matter not generaly allowed in American movies.
I only visited this theatre once, to see a showing of CABARET in the 1970’s. Recently, when driving through Danielson from Rhode Island, where I live, I looked for the theatre and wondered what had happened to it. Now I know. I remember it as place with some character.