Last Updated: 4/10/24


Since 1992, the Secret Cinema has been the Philadelphia area’s premiere floating repertory cinema series, bringing hundreds of unique programs to nightclubs, bars, coffee houses, museums, open fields, colleges, art galleries, bookstores, and sometimes even theaters and film festivals. Drawing on its own large private film archive (as well as other collections), the Secret Cinema attempts to explore the uncharted territory and the genres that fall between the cracks, with programs devoted to educational and industrial films, cult and exploitation features, cartoons, rare television, local history, home movies, erotic films, politically incorrect material, and the odd Hollywood classic. As long as it exists on real celluloid, that is—Secret Cinema screenings never use video/digital projection. While mainly based in Philadelphia, the Secret Cinema has also brought programming to other cities and countries.

Fashion Undressed: Films of Style

and Beauty in Princeton

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
7:30 pm
Admission: $13.50, $7.75 members, $11.00 seniors/staff/faculty, $10.00 students

The Princeton Garden Theatre
160 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ

On Wednesday, April 24, the Secret Cinema will bring our projectors for the first time to the Princeton Garden Theatre. We'll present short films on the themes of fashion and beauty, including educational and advertising films, entertainment shorts and newsreels from the 1930s through the 1970s. It's called Fashion Undressed: Films of Style and Beauty (we've previously shown this program at Towson University in Maryland and at the Rotunda in Philadelphia…and will present it again next month at the Ambler Theatre).

There will be one complete screening at 7:30 pm. Admission is $13.50 general, $7.75 members, $11.00 seniors/staff/faculty, $10.00 students

Just a few highlights of Fashion Undressed... are:

The Costume Designer (1950) - In 1950 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences oversaw the production of a series of one-reel shorts covering different aspects of the film industry, each film being produced by a different studio. R.K.O. made this reel on the importance of the wardrobe department, with a special focus on sunglass-wearing designer Edith Head (who, oddly, is not named).

Figure Forum (1954) - Warner Brothers -- not the famous film studio, but the Warner Brothers Foundations and Bras Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut -- made this film about choosing the proper bra and girdle. Trivia note: This reel was among the first 3 or 4 16mm films the Secret Cinema ever owned -- it was thrown in with the first projector we purchased, back in 1975!

Girls in Short Short Dresses (1966) - Paramount made this topical film in the final days of the theatrical short subject era, to capitalize on the worldwide interest in then very-Swinging London. It stars actual mod band The Thoughts, best known to record collectors for their recording of Ray Davies' (of the Kinks) otherwise unreleased song "All Night Stand." In this rare Technicolor pictorial, they perform two songs in the famous Blaise's nightclub, and in a reverse on the usual rock band scenario, they chase girls around tube stations and Carnaby Street boutiques. The film also makes a visit to the studio of fashion designer Mary Quant, inventor of the miniskirt.

The Look of Shangri-La (1973) - A "production reel," or promotional short showing behind-the-scenes looks at a then-forthcoming major motion picture. This one was made to plug the disastrous 1970s musical remake of Frank Capra's classic 1937 fantasy Lost Horizon, with an emphasis on the new version's now very dated costume design.

How to Undress in Front of Your Husband (1937) - Curious comedy short made by indie exploitation producer and distributor Dwain Esper (Maniac, Reefer Madness). While not quite as salacious as its title implies, it nonetheless achieved notoriety by virtue (?) of its leading lady, Elaine Barrie, who was then in the middle of a rocky marriage to legendary actor John Barrymore.

Plus Heavenly Body (1975), Winning Styles (1968), How Do They Tie-dye Cloth? (1970)<'B> and more!


  • Fri., April 26 @ Glen Foerd: Silent film The King on Main Street with live pipe organ music from Don Kinnier!
  • Thurs., May 2 @ The Ambler Theater (Ambler, Pa.): Fashion Undressed: Films of Style and Beauty
  • Thurs., May 16 @ Bryn Mawr Film Institute (Bryn Mawr, Pa.): From Philadelphia with Love 2024 program

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    NEW! 2008 interview with Secret Cinema's Jay Schwartz from an academic journal

    Channel 29 news piece on Secret Cinema from 1999!

    Joey Ramone, R.I.P.

    Secret Cinema 1999 Annual Report

    Secret Cinema 1998 Annual Report

    Secret Cinema 1997 Annual Report

    Information about the 1998 Secret Cinema "Class Trip" to the Syracuse Cinefest

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