Fox Studios and 20th Century Pictures merged in 1935 and continued to make movies with some of the biggest actresses in the industry. The festival’s October 11 selection features “Down Argentine Way” (1943) , starring Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda in her first Hollywood role. By 1945 she was the highest paid woman in America.
The festival continues on December 6 with one of the biggest stars of all, Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), before wrapping up December 20 with 8-year-old Natalie Wood’s breakthrough role, “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947).
All shows include pre-show entertainment, Q&A discussions, raffle prizes, and other special guests and surprises.
Pre- and post-movie entertainment are a cornerstone of UPCA’s programming, honoring the Palace’s origin as both a deluxe movie theatre and vaudeville house. “The greatest compliment we receive for our films is when audience members tell us that watching a movie at the Palace is as electric as seeing a live performance on Broadway,” said UPCA Executive Director Mike Fitelson.
For each show the doors open at 4pm, pre-show entertainment begins at 5pm, and the movie starts at 5:30pm. (The September 20 double feature starts with “Bright Eyes” at 5:30pm followed by “A Fool There Was” at 7:15pm.)
Discount tickets are onsale for $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and seniors. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12 and seniors. Seating is first come, first serve, and with 1,800 seats in the orchestra there will always be great seats available. For the December 20 screening of “Miracle on 34th Street” all guests dressed in tuxedos or gowns will get in for FREE. All titles will be screened on BluRay or DVD and will have Spanish subtitles (except for "A Fool There Was.")
This is the first collaboration between UPCA and the Fort Lee Film Commission.
“This festival could not find a better home than the United Palace to showcase the birth of a great American movie studio at one of the premiere picture palaces in America today,” said Tom Meyers, Executive Director of the Fort Lee Film Commission. “The involvement of the family of William Fox makes this festival unique and links the present to the past.”
Background on the Fort Lee Film Commission
The Commission was established in 2001 as a department of the Borough of Fort Lee, NJ. Its role is to preserve films made in Fort Lee; to promote Fort Lee as a location for current filmmakers; and to educate through film retrospectives about Fort Lee's role as the first American film town, which gave birth to the American film industry. Studios such as Universal and Fox were born in Fort Lee. Filmmakers such as Alice Guy-Blaché, the first female director and studio owner, and Oscar Micheaux, a pioneer African-American filmmaker, plied their trade in Fort Lee studios. The first gangster film, “The Musketeers of Pig Alley” (Biography, 1912), and the first American slapstick comedy, “The Curtain Pole” (Biography, 1909), were filmed on the streets of Fort Lee. Fort Lee is where Mack met Mabel, where the Barrymores lived and made their first films, and where Pauline met her perils atop the Palisades.
Background on the United Palace and UPCA:
The United Palace opened in 1930 as the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, the last of the five Wonder Theatres. In 1969 the theatre was purchased, and renamed, by Rev. Ike whose success as a “prosperity preacher” allowed the congregation to maintain the spectacular architecture. With 3,400 seats the United Palace is Manhattan’s fourth largest theatre, and has hosted concerts by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Adele, the Allman Brothers, and countless top Latin acts. In 2012, Rev. Ike’s son Xavier Eikerenkoetter fulfilled his dream of creating an arts and cultural center by incorporating UPCA as an independent nonprofit. One of UPCA’s priorities has been returning movies to the Palace. Crowdsourcing campaigns raised close to $75K to replace the screen and buy digital projectors. The “Classic NYC Movies at the Palace” series, launched in 2014, has been hosted by Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and New York Post Chief Film Critic Lou Lumenick and featured the likes of Rita Moreno introducing “West Side Story” and John Landis introducing “King Kong.” In 2013 amNY named the United Palace, "The Best Way to See Movies the Way They Used To Be."