The “original Hollywood” was in this Jersey town?

New film center in Fort Lee will honor the town's glamorous past

Jun.June 02, 2019 03:00 PM
A rendering of the Barrymore Film Center and a photo from 20th Century Fox's "Kiss of Death" (1947), which was filmed in Fort Lee (Credit: IMDB)

A rendering of the Barrymore Film Center and a photo from 20th Century Fox’s “Kiss of Death” (1947), which was filmed in Fort Lee (Credit: IMDB)

Fort Lee, New Jersey isn’t known for its style and grace on the silver screen, but a new film center hopes to set the record straight.

The town across the Hudson River was the site of the “original Hollywood” back in the early 20th century, according to the New York Post. Universal Pictures, Fox and Paramount all launched their studios there in the 1910s at the height of the silent film industry.

Famous stars at that time, including Lionel Barrymore, Drew Barrymore’s great uncle, started their careers in Fort Lee. And famous films like Universal Picture’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” were shot there on location. After the film industry moved to Hollywood in California, Fort Lee remained the setting for classic noir films in the 1940s.

The new center, to be known as the Barrymore Film Center, will include a 260-seat movie theater along with space for a museum and archives. It’s expected to be complete in October 2020. [NYP] – Maya Blackstone

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