The Hi-Pointe Theatre: A Vintage Movie House Where the Silver Screen Rules
When driving past the hectic intersection of Highway 64, Clayton and McCausland, motorists are accustomed to seeing the iconic Amoco and Hi-Pointe signs—both St. Louis landmarks that have withstood the test of time.
The Hi-Pointe Theatre takes its name—fittingly—from its location at the highest point in the city. It’s the metro area’s oldest continuously operating single-screen movie theater.
The theater has changed ownership many times since it opened in 1922. The Warner Bros. Circuit, Fanchon and Marco, St. Louis Amusement and Arthur Enterprises have all operated it at one point or another. In 1977, St. Louis natives George and Georgia James purchased the theater and, along with their children, they have operated the theater independently for 20 years.
During the past two decades, the Jameses have kept the Hi-Pointe in good hands, with Landmark Theatres and movie house veteran Brian Ross operating the Hi-Pointe for a time. For the past five years, the James’ daughter, Diana Grayson, has handled operations.
The theater’s 414 aquamarine seats, first added in 1963, were refurbished a few years ago—just one of the many renovations that have taken place over the years. Large teal curtains frame the big screen, and mid-century modern chairs line the lobby. Classic film posters decorate the walls, taking theater-goers back 50 years.
In 2015, Grayson and her husband, Bill, added a second theater, the 48-seat Hi-Pointe Backlot. They gutted the entire building behind the original theater and left only the brick and concrete remaining before renovations. The extra screen allows the Hi-Pointe to offer a variety of shows for a longer period of time—a necessity when competing with newer, larger movie complexes.
The Hi-Pointe Backlot’s lobby is sleek, with brown leather couches and light fixtures made from old film reels. The concession counter offers beer, wine and cocktails as well as classic snacks like candy and buttered popcorn.
The Hi-Pointe screens movies ranging from classics to art house favorites to first runs. Tickets are available online or from the front desk starting half an hour before the first screening of the day. Prices are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and students and $5 all day Wednesday.
Featured image courtesy of Carmen Troesser.