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Thank you, NYer. Your response clarifies my fuzzy recollection of what happened. Were the two stage auditoriums to the left of the original Criterion Theater? Were they both at street level? Both one level down? One of each? I think I was in there only once. And neither was in the original Criterion moviehouse space?
While it may be true (and probably is) that the Criterion never had a stage or dressing rooms during its decades as a major moviehouse, it definitely had at least one stage at the end, after the theater had been subdivided into many smaller auditoriums. One of the plays I saw there was an off-Broadway political satire called “MasterGate.”
Am I correct that both Ralph and Millard Green died many years ago? (And I’m thinking Ralph died first.) They were a hoot — separately and especially together.
Al, “Flying Down to Rio” was rated A-3 several years ago. It was never rated before. Indeed, it was released three years before the Legion of Decency came into existence (1936).
What is OP, Al?
Anyone can post anything on Wikipedia, which is why in the newspaper business we were never allowed to quote or take any unverified information from there. The misinformation quotient makes it unreliable.
The only one of those movies that was “C” (condemned) was “Never on Sunday.” “Psycho” and “Some Like It Hot” were “B.” “Spartacus” was A-3. Most of the “Carry On” films were A’s rather than B’s. Although I have the original ratings book, this information is readily available on the Internet. I did monitor it closely as a kid as the ratings came out every two weeks as I recall.
“The Last Temptation of Christ” also received an “O” rating, with this explanation: “Deeply flawed screen adaptation of the Nikos Kazantzakis novel probing the mystery of the human nature of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fails because of artistic inadequacy rather than anti-religious bias. Director Martin Scorsese’s wrong-headed insistence on gore and brutality, as well as a preoccupatiuon with sexual rather than spirtual love, is compounded by screenwriter Paul Schrader’s muddled script, shallow characterizations and flat dialogue delivered woodenly by William Dafoe in the title role. Excessively graphic violence, several sexually explicit scenes and some incidental nudity.” (O) ® ( 1988 )
The “pledge” taken in Catholic churches annually for many years was a generalized agreement not to support “indecent” entertainment. It did not carry specific penalties for Catholics.
“Rosemary’s Baby” received an “O” (morally offensive)rating from the National Catholic Officer of Motion Pictures, successor to the Legion of Decency. The “C” rating (condemned) had been discarded. Here’s the official explanation: “Modern-day horror story about a young husband (John Cassavetes) who turns his wife (Mia Farrow), body and soul, over to the next-door neighbors, a coven of witches (led by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) so she can become the mother of Satan Incarnate. Directed by Roman Polanski, the production values are topnotch and performances completely chilling, but the movie’s inverted Christian elements denigrate religious beliefs. Brief nudity. (O) ® ( 1968 )
Not again! The Legion of Decency (LOD)is regularly cited for condemning (“C” rating) the most innocuous movies. Even the hallowed TCM runs documentaries in which some blithering idiot of another accuses the LOD of condemning some classic such as “Singin' in the Rain” or “Miracle on 34th Street” when in fact some were rated “B” (objectionable in part) for such reasons as “suggestive costuming and dance,” “reflects the acceptability of divorce” or “low moral tone.” There was no pressure on even Catholics to avoid such “B-rated” films. Period. The ratings were for Catholics and reflected the more stringent moral code of their era. It was extremely rare for a major American movie to carry a “C” rating. “Baby Doll” was one, “Kiss Me, Stupid” another. The National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures, a later identity for the LOD, rated “The Odd Couple” A-III for “some sexual references.”
I remember now, but had forgotten, that oddity of the Festival being relatively flat for a major Manhattan first-run art house.
Interesting that the marquee for “The Untouchables” contains two lines of ad copy and billing for De Niro and Connery but nothing for top-billed Kevin Costner, who obviously means less on 42nd Street.
According to Ross Falvo, a former manager of Eastland Mall’s theater, it closed Aug. 1, 1993.
The theater was thriving and in excellent condition when Ross Falvo was manager back in the day. I’ll ask if he he remembers when the theater closed, although he was not there by then.
Gene Kelly worked there briefly in his teens, also, although I cannot specifically recall confirming that detail with him or with Gorshin. Although the Enright was the largest theater in East Liberty, the Sheridan Square was the neighborhood’s second largest and its crown jewel.
The theater did not close in 2010 as projected in the brief introduction posted here. In 2014 the six auditoriums were renovated. The capacity was reduced in each to 97 comfortably spaced seats. Though the theater does not have stadium seating, each row is about three inches higher than the row in front of it.
Correct. Mt. Lebanon is a suburb, about eight miles southwest of Downtown Pittsburgh.
The current Starbucks building was indeed the neighborhood’s other moviehouse. It was called the Plaza, by far the nicer of the two side-by-side theaters in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood. It survived decades longer than the Metropolitan. See separate Cinema Treasures file on the Plaza.
The Etna Theater in Etna was another locally in which you entered the theater from behind the screen. Was never in that one but was in the Strand many times. One marked disadvantage: Anyone entering or leaving the theater during a movie or anyone going to and from the concession stand (behind the screen) tended to pull one’s focus from the screen. There are auditoriums of Manhattan multiplexes like this, also.
This is a longshot, but … As a child in 1952 I visited an adult sibling in Youngstown and saw movies with her that were playing concurrently that weekend. Can anyone tell me which Downtown Youngstown theater played “Where’s Charley?” and which played “Don’t Bother to Knock” (those theaters were practically side by side) and which played the reissued double bill of “Dodge City” and “Virginia City”? That theater was less impressive than the other two and was directly across the street from “Where’s Charley?” as I recall. Many thanks for any help.
That’s a different Liberty Theater, Charmaine. Yours was located in the beighborhood of East Liberty. This site is for the Liberty still operating in Downtown Pittsburgh, a site formerly known as the Art Cinema.
Up until perhaps the 1970s, there was an indoor theater called the Mary Ann, which I believe was in McDonald PA. There seems to be no Cinema Treasures entry for it. Can anyone help here? I’m asking on the Tri-State Drive-In forum because I think the Mary Ann and the Tri-State were rural neighbors. Thank you.
At the risk of going too far afield from the subject of Manhattan’s Palace Theatre, the film of “The Diary of Anne Frank” opened in Pittsburgh in May 1959 at the Nixon, the city’s main legit national touring company theater and one of two Downtown theaters (the Warner being the other) that shared the roadshow (reserved seat)films.
It was the Nixon, for example, that had the roadshow film engagements of “Guys and Dolls,” “South Pacific,” “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music,” for example.
The “Anne Frank” movie was booked to stretch from May through the summer until the 1959-60 legit season began in the fall.
“Anne Frank” drew so poorly, though (less than $5,000 in its second, third and fourth weeks) that it closed after four days of its fifth week.
My guess as to what worked against the film version is that – whether as a higher-priced roadshow engagement or not – it “sensed” to moviegoers like a long slog in a single, confined set.
This Liberty Theater was, indeed, near the beginning of Frankstown Avenue in Pittsburgh’s once-thriving East Liberty neighborhood.
I, too, found it interesting that there was almost never anyone in that subterranean quad despite a fair amount of traffic in the music store and the video store beneath that.