WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Shirley Temple are taking center stage at the historic United Palace Theater.
The United Palace of Cultural Arts and the Fort Lee Film Commission are collaborating on a film series to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Fox Studios in Fort Lee, N.J. The series will highlight films starring some of the big-name actresses who helped make Fox a household name.
“The Women of Fox Festival,” featuring stars such as Monroe and Natalie Wood, kicks off on September 20 and runs through the end of the year.
Opening night offers a double feature of two classics: “A Fool There Was” and “Bright Eyes.”
Originally released in 1915, “A Fool There Was” stars Theda Bara, one of the biggest stars of the silent film era. Ben Model, resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art, will perform a live soundtrack with the film.
Opening night will also feature “Bright Eyes,” a 1934 film starring Shirley Temple. While “Bright Eyes” was not Temple’s first movie, it was the first project developed specifically for her and features her hit performance of “On the Good Ship Lollipop.”
On October 11, the series will jump forward a decade with a showing of “Down Argentine Way.” The film helped make Betty Grable a star and introduced American audiences to Carmen Miranda.
The festival continues on December 6 with a film featuring one of the biggest stars within the Fox galaxy, Marilyn Monroe. The 1955 romantic comedy "Seven Year Itch" is best known for the iconic scene of Monroe standing over a subway grate, holding down her white dress as it billows around her.
The series will wrap up on December 20 with a showing of “Miracle on 34th Street," starring an 8-year-old Natalie Wood in her breakout role.
Each screening will include pre-show entertainment, Q&A sessions and special guests.
“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, of the first collaboration between organizations.
The United Palace Theater, formerly the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, was built in 1930. After many years of use as a church and event space, film screenings returned to the space in 2013 with the formation of the nonprofit United Palace of the Cultural Arts.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.