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I’ve seen five other Cinerama screens (Montclair NJ, Washington DC, Dayton OH, Los Angeles, Seattle) but the one at the Capitol is the only one that felt close to being 93 feet wide. I know memories are often faulty, especially 50-year-old ones, but that screen was truly an unforgettable sight.
It’s sad to think how the really big screen at the Capitol was torn down 50 years ago, and nothing was ever really built since to replace it. I’m grateful I got to experience “2001” on that screen.
I stumbled on this recently on TCM. I’d never seen it but I knew its bad reputation, which turned out to be quite undeserved. Very enjoyable, and the plot had a startling resemblance to the 2016 Trump-Clinton election. Maybe one day someone will make a musical about that.
“2001: A Space Odyssey” in 70mm is going to play here starting May 18th, according to the trailer I saw last week preceding “Ready Player One”. It is quite a beautiful theater and one of the closest things Manhattan has to a real movie palace, like it says in the intro.
Joe, I was very surprised at the $20 cost of a 70mm show. I do qualify for senior discount but I had already seen on their website that they don’t apply to 70mm, so I just handed over my $20. But I’ll gladly pay it to see 2001.
Howard mentioned the Village East. I saw Ready Player One there last Friday, and they showed a 70mm trailer for 2001. Just before it was over, it said that 2001 would be playing “at this theater”.
It was no Capitol, but it was a very nice theater with a big screen. It had the look of an old movie palace, or half of one anyway. It looks like the balcony of what was once a much bigger theater.
Fantastic article, Michael, just like all your others, but this one is extra special to me.
Reposting Paul Noble’s reminiscences from the 40th anniversary. He attended the first-ever screening at the Capitol:
Paul Noble on April 3, 2008 at 4:54 pm
Three nights in advance of the NY premiere, I attended the first press screening of 2001 at the Capitol at its full-length. I believe it clocked in at 161 minutes. The place was packed, but after intermission several hundred people were missing. During the closing credits, there were just two of us left, the other being Gene Shalit who was “conducting” “The Blue Danube”. I turned around at the end and waved to Kubrick in the booth and gave him a thumbs up. In the lobby, I joined a heated conversation with Judith Crist, Bruce Bahrenberg and other critics, who were loudly putting the picture down. I told them about “The Sentinel,” the landmark Clarke short story, and what the possible meaning of the picture was. They laughed me out of the lobby! The director cut the film, supposedly on the print, over the next few days, and the shortened version was the one which opened at the premiere. I’m still a great fan of 2001 with its enormous impact on future motion pictures, and the Capitol Cinerama as it was on that night with that gigantic curved screen, even in sharp focus from my third row seat!
Happy actual 50th anniversary today to 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Capitol. Big article about it in last Sunday’s NY Times, big 70mm re-release coming in May. It’s the movie of the year!
But the Kings in Brooklyn did show a movie about a year ago, and it sold out the place: Barry Lyndon, accompanied by a live orchestra. That’s why I thought it would be cool if they showed 2001 this year. They’d get that same huge audience back.
Thanks, Mark. I hope you get to run “2001” on May 18th.
Thanks for the good news, markp. Is the Kings the theater with the wide curved screen and the elephant decorations? I’m basing this on that long- ago viewing of The Wild Bunch, but I’m sure there were elephants there somewhere.
The Village East on 12th St. and 2nd Ave. is showing Ready Player One in 70mm. I’ve never been there, but I am going to check it out. I heard that all 70mm engagements of Ready Player One are preceded by a 70mm trailer for 2001.
Waiting for Warner Bros. to post the list of 70mm screening venues. The story is all over the movie industry websites, and I even heard about it on the radio this morning. I’m a happy man.
The biggest non-IMAX theater in the AMC Lincoln Square complex on Broadway and 66th St. would be a good place to show it, if they haven’t gotten rid of their 70mm projectors. I saw The Wild Bunch there in 70mm some years ago, and if I remember right the screen even has a slight curve.
If the Uptown in DC is showing it, and they still have their Cinerama screen, I’ll be making a train trip to Washington.
Just found out that “2001” will be getting a nationwide 70mm release starting May 18th, 2018. Exactly what I was hoping for.
At least they left the marquee up. Small consolation, I know.
Correction: some of the reviews are from Washington DC critics. But they did manage to fill the page. Seeing that ad back then was a great relief to me after the bad reviews it got in the NY Daily News and the NY Times. I was so afraid it was going to be a bomb.
I just posted in Photos a full page ad of good reviews of “2001” from New York critics, taken from the NY Times, 4/5/1968. The 50th anniversary is only a few days away.
From the New York Times, April 5th, 1968, which was also the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
I really don’t know the details, but can a blu-ray be created from a print of a movie? I thought you needed a good copy of the movie’s negative, which bigjoe59 said had been damaged in the case of Brothers Grimm.
This Australian print played at the Dome in 2012. It was really something to see. It did break down once, in the first 10 minutes, but played perfectly after that. I would love to eventually see a Blu-ray in Smilebox. Probably the most underrated Cinerama production. The showmanship, imagination and kindness of George Pal are on constant display.
I just posted a NY Times ad for King Kong in the photo section. It says “50,000 Seats Were Not Enough”. The date was March 3, 1933.
Thanks, JodarMovieFan. I should have realized the 70mm projectors would be gone. It would be so great to see it again on a real Cinerama screen – unless they got rid of that too?
Does anyone know if the Uptown is planning to show “2001: A Space Odyssey” during its 50th anniversary year? In 1993, the 25th anniversary, they showed it for a week. The movie had its world premiere at the Uptown on April 2nd, 1968.
I’d have to give the edge to the Capitol, especially since it was my first time seeing the film. I’d also never seen a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen before. 5 years earlier, I’d seen How the West Was Won at the Clairidge Cinerama theater in Montclair, NJ, but that screen was positioned off the floor on, I think, a stage. Some mid-1960’s reference book I saw at my local library back then said that the Capitol had the world’s largest screen. I don’t think that can be proven, but it certainly seemed that way.
The screen at the Uptown was pretty overwhelming itself, especially when I sat in the front row. It was worth the trip from New Jersey all the times I went there, including when it played for a week in 1993 to commemorate the 25th anniversary. I’m hoping the Uptown is going to show it again this year.
Sound was excellent in both theaters. I think my favorite showing of 2001 sound-wise was a 35mm screening at the Lafayette Theater in Suffern, NY., with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood in the audience. I remember thinking, they must be hearing this outside in the street.
I found that picture and I just posted it on the Photos page.