Hill Theatre

8324 Germantown Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19118

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Additional Info

Architects: William Harold Lee, David Supowitz

Styles: Colonial Revival, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Belvedere Theatre, Chestnut Hill Theatre

Nearby Theaters

HILL THEATER 8620 Germantown Avenue 1932

Opened as the 315-seat Belvedere Theatre by 1914. It was enlarged in 1916. It was equipped with a Moller 2 manual 10 ranks organ. In 1920 it was renamed the Chestnut Hill Theatre. It went into receivership and closed in 1930. It reopened in 1932 as the Hill Theatre. It went through a remodel in 1940 by architect David Supowitz. The remodel featured a Streamline Moderne style exterior. The interior was done to resemble a dignified old mansion in a Colonial Revival style. The Hill Theatre was closed on April 5, 1973 with Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”.

It was sold to the Bell Telephone Company and was demolished to provided an extension & parking lot for their adjacent building.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

RickB on September 11, 2005 at 3:23 pm

If memory serves Art Carduner was involved with the Hill during part of the time that he operated the Bandbox. The Hill was a more mainstream house but I think it did play some foreign and independent films.

Betzee on January 12, 2006 at 2:15 pm

I remember seeing movies here as a child—it had family friendly programming with Saturday matinees and mainstream films in the evenings. And, like the Crest in another section of the city, a trolley line passed right in front of its pinkish art deco exterior. It closed sometime in the early 1970s when Ma Bell, which was next door, expanded onto the lot. It was an early omen of what would happen to independent movie houses everywhere.

DennisMcG on June 1, 2006 at 11:50 am

The Hill Theatre, was located in Chestnut Hill at 8320 Germantown Avenue. It opened in 1916 as the Belvedere Theatre and the name was changed in 1936 to the Hill Theatre when it was remodeled. This was a relatively small theatre with just less than 500 seats. It closed in the mid 1970s and was torn down. Thia was a theatre that wasn’t before my time. I do remember it, but was never in it. I recall that this theatre was showing the same artsy type movies as the Bandbox Theatre in Germantown. Both theatres were probably owned by the same owner as I remember they ran joint ads together to promote the movies they were showing.

DennisMcG on July 11, 2007 at 2:17 pm

The City of Phila photo has the wrong address. The correct address is 8320 Germantown Ave, now parking for the Bell Telephone building

ffoulkrodrogers on August 29, 2011 at 11:36 am

Was in Chestnut Hill recently and was remembering visits to the Hill Theatre. It played British films as well as popular Hollywood films. I remember it being very narrow and dark and had a vending machine in lieu of a concession stand.

Alan_Kohn_235 on July 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I saw Tokyo Story by Yasujiro Ozu here in 1973.

TheALAN on February 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm

This theater was remodeled in 1936 by William Harold Lee, but who was the original 1916 architect? PAB lists the seating for this theater as 550, while Cinema Treasures lists it at 497. The 1936 remodel could have resulted in a decrease, or increase. Can anyone clarify?
Neighboring Bell Telephone, now Verizon, has expanded onto the theater site.

dallasmovietheaters on February 9, 2022 at 4:40 pm

The Belvedere opened in 1916. It was known as the Chestnut Hill Theatre by 1919. The Chestnut Hill went into a receivership auction in 1930 complete with its Moller Opus 2410 Pipe Organ and 500 seats unable to convert to sound. It found new operators in 1932 reopening and closing as the Hill Theatre. It reopened as the Hill Theatre under new operator William H. Wold in 1933. It closed and reopened under a new operator in 1935.

Under a new operator, the theatre was renovated in 1940 to the plans of David Supowitz bringing air conditioning, new seating and a streamlined look. (The Lee remodel reference as occurring in 1936 seems odd given the short period of time between refreshes. Especially, a Lee refresh which would likely have been extensive.) Meanwhile a brand new theatre was proposed by Goldman Circuit to the plans of William H. Lee seating 750 just three blocks away - and could be the reference above. I’m assuming that Lee theatre got off of the drawing board but was not built. Meanwhile, the Hill Theatre closed April 5, 1973 with “A Clockwork Orange.”

JayFarrell on December 14, 2022 at 8:16 pm

The actual address of the Hill Theatre was 8324 Germantown Ave, according to various newspaper ads and historical maps, but the property possibly included more than one number, such as 8320-24.

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