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My wife’s Uncle recounted once how it was no big deal to ride the subway home to Brownsville at 3:00 in the morning in the 40s and 50s. Can you imagine that today? Hell, no.
$12.00 for RCMH? No way. Movie ticket prices for an average movie theater in Manhattan are about $10.00. I think for the priviledge of seeing a movie at the Hall + the needs of the management for upkeep, they would at least charge $15, possibly $18 or $20. Would this scare people off? Yep. But, like I’ve said before, IF and only IF the movie is a true “Event”, you will find people willing and ready to shell out that amount. Who would’ve thought people would pay $10? Hell, my Mom was shocked when the top ticket price went up to $4 at the Lynbrook in 1977 to see “Rocky” there (one of my most memorable film experiences in that grand old theater…packed with people screaming their lungs out at the end!…now that’s what I miss about movie going!)
What’s with the hostility? This is the first time I’ve EVER seen nastiness on this site. Everyone is usually SO nice to eachother here. It’s one of the BEST things about this it.
Please stop or can someone please intervene and make it stop. It’s depressing.
Vincent: as a self described “Godfather” junkie, I can tell you that Pacino and Keaton are coming out of the Hall because Keaton says Pacino “would love me more if I was Ingrid Bergman?” Then she sees the headline saying that Vito Corleone was shot.
I went to this theater in the 70’s when it was Northstage Theater Restaurant. The place was pretty successful from the late 70’s into the early 80’s but after that, I don’t think it did very well.
BUT…the theater was smashingly beautiful. Very ornate murals on both sides of the auditorium, chandelier in the ceiling dome, etc. Wasn’t a gigantic place but it was very, very beautiful inside. There would be no way this would have been demolished now days. But back in the 80’s?
I worked in Glen Cove in the late 80’s and drove by it when it was completely demolished. There was just a pile of rubble.
Stumbled upon this theater while looking for a movie on Fandango.com. Haven’t been there but the idea sounds novel: combine a restaurant and a revival theater. It might just work here. Nyack is an open minded and culturally rich area near NYC. Last Saturday night(2/12/05), they showed “Casablanca”.
If anyone knows more about this theater, please let us know…
Bill Huelbig: RE: Baxter’s immortal line: THAT’S THE ONE! A few years ago I sat down to watch it with my Jewish wife (I only mention her being Jewish because she kind of took the movie a tad seriously).
It had been quite a few years since I saw it and I nearly fell on the floor laughing over the badly delivered dialogue and THAT one really got to me. Baxter virtually huffs and puffs her way through the whole movie. Her performance is like one giant breath. Unbelievable stuff. I’m laughing as I’m typing. I just LOVE that line! And how much you wanna bet it wasn’t in the Bible like that.
Eugene Iemola: can you please elaborate on what exactly was “The Closing of the Capitol”? Was this some kind of (sad) retrospective?
“Beat the Devil” was/is a notorious BOMB though it’s considered a classic now.
Bogart made it because he had such success with John Huston with “The African Queen”. After seeing the finished product, Bogart blasted the film. The studio felt the same way and pretty much got it in and out of distribution very quickly. It’s a great film but it’s humor is sly. Jones is one of the best things in it. It’s one of the few films that used her comedic abilities. She delivers one of the film’s best lines at the beginning when she gets a look at her fellow, criminal shipmates and says to her unsuspecting husband: “They’re desperate characters. Not one of them looked at my legs.”
Selznick’s instincts were uncanny. “Duel in the Sun” was his attempt to recapture his glorious experience (not to mention success) with “Gone With the Wind”. It soon became apparent that tastes had changed after the war and heavy handed (and heavy breating) “lurid” melodrama like “Duel in the Sun” (also known in camp circles as “Lust in the Dust”) was passe.
Selznick must’ve known this and released the film wide. It was a big disappointment at the box office. Maybe not an out and out bomb but it failed to recoup it’s considerable production costs.
But it’s a well known film today but not as how Selznick would’ve wanted. It’s probably one of the biggest camp classics out there. I mean that whole wildly ridiculous shoot out scene at the end with Peck and Jones is a hoot! Oh the painful dialogue! It was only topped later by DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments”. Anyone recall Anne Baxter’s famous love line to Moses in that one? Great, campy stuff!
Regarding films playing at RCMH.
First off, the “Kill Bill” films were a bad choice on my part. They’re not that good and they did not do as well as Miramax thought.
Of course there are the enduring classics that are standards. “Psycho” being one of them along with others (everyone will have their own list so I won’t go there now…)
What I’m trying to say is very simple: if the film is big enough, anticipated enough and it played even for short time at the Hall, people will come and the place would sell out. I think the days of RCMH being a movie showplace all the time are done. But a limited run of a big movie? Oh, yes indeed it would sell out.
Think of the next “Harry Potter” movie there. Or the next (awful) “Star Wars” installment? The line would be around the block.
If you want to fill up the Music Hall, you’ve got to put the right film in there.
I can imagine “The Exorcist” packing the place. It’s debatable whether the film is a classic or not but it’s undeniably popular. Put “Pulp Fiction” or (even better) both “Kill Bill” films and, VOILA…a packed house GUARANTEED. (Again, the artistic merits of “Kill Bill” is highly debatable…I’m not talking about films that are good. Just films that will sell out the Hall.)
As fine as “My Fair Lady” is, to the present generation, (please forgive me…!) it’s a dinosaur. You’ll pull in some older folks, film lovers and maybe some “youngsters” who appreciate it but anyone else? No. Sad but true. Ditto for virutally any of the musicals starting in ‘65 with “Sound of Music” and going backwards.
Here’s a very troublesome story about the new film director Spike Jonze. He directed “Being John Malcovich” and “Adaptation.” The quote is from a review of the book “Rebels on the Backlot” by Susan Waxman from Salon.com:
“Waxman reports that one day on the set of "Being John Malkovich” director Jonze took Malkovich aside to tell him he was overacting a scene. “I was getting a little Blanche there, wasn’t I?” the star agreed. Jonze looked puzzled. “Blanche Dubois,” responded Malkovich. “Tennessee Williams? ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’? Blanche Dubois?” Jonze could only shrug; he had no idea what Malkovich was talking about. “What did you get me into?” Malkovich moaned to producer Steve Golin, who could only respond, “At least it won’t be derivative.”
Get it? Spike Jonze’s film references only go back as far as “Star Wars”. Sadly a lot of my peers and younger just don’t “get” classic film. If they have ANY film references at all, they go only as far back as the late 60’s for “Bonnie & Clyde”.
So, to fill up the Music Hall, you won’t do it with the classic films. There’s simply not enough of an audience for them. You COULD fill it up with contemporary or semi-contemporary films that could supplement the classics.
Actually I find the entries for these lesser known classic films fascinating. “Westward the Women” in particular sounds very interesting. Here’s the entry from imdb:
It happens to be directed by one of the best of the Hollywood directors, William Wellman.
I’m 38 and I cannot stand the latest movies. Generally speaking, they’re pure garbage. I appreciate the input from people who remember when movies were made to truly please an audience not just to make a quick buck.
I never knew “The Exorcist” played as a revival at the Hall. The former management must’ve been spinning in their graves.
Jim Rankin is, of course, correct.
The New York Times ran an article a few weeks ago that stated that over 60% of a films gross earnings is achieved through DVD sales along. Only 20% is aquired through it’s theatrical release. The studios see a film’s theatrical release now as a mere platform to advertise the film for DVD. Just look how quickly “The Incredibles” is coming out on DVD (in March)! The big reason for the shift is because more people now buy DVDs to own rather than rent them like they did in the now good-old-days of VHS rentals. The fact that the studios now make the bulk of the money off of DVD sales is kept pretty much a secret because it’s part of their home entertainment divisions. The stars and writers do not get much of a percentage from it. Yet.
The big question is (they say…) will the trend of people buying DVD movies continue? The Times article stated that already DVD sales a slowing. People are waking up and realizing that they’re accumulating these huge libraries of movies they never watch (or may never want to). If that happens, maybe, just maybe, we might see a return to better theatrical releases. But is the damage done?
I’m not very into buying DVDs. I have maybe 20 or so but they’re strictly films that I love with my heart and have watched over and over again like “Citizen Kane”, “Dr. Strangelove” etc. I cannot imagine why anyone in their right mind would waste money buying a DVD of, say, “The Grudge” or “I, Robot”.
Sorry…I know this is not the place to put all this down but it does follow the basic theme that’s been written over the past few days.
It’s weird that if Radio City is like some kind of petri dish for the film industry, why the hell don’t they play movies there? At least the big releases…I know, I know…we’ve asked this question before…
I saw the terrible John Ritter film “Problem Child” in one of the upstairs “theaters”. Yep, you’re right: the place was tiny. But it was packed. The neighborhood, Franklin Square, is still decent and there are a lot of homes within walking distance not to mention the shopping district on Hempstead Turnpike is very well maintained with little vacancies. Thus I can see why this place is still open and doing well.
Does anyone know of a good website where one can learn more about the architect Thomas W. Lamb? I’ve read so much about the theaters he designed here but there’s very little else. When was he born? Where did he get his schooling? Who and what were his influences? How did he come to design theaters as opposed to other kinds of buildings? I’ve searched the web and there’s precious little. I DO keep getting redirected to THIS site, though so it seems to be the main site for info on him.
Can anyone help?
They played the organ before the Christmas show started. At first, it was just one on the left hand side. Then, as a finale, the one on the right came out and finished things up with a kind of organ duet. My daughter LOVED it! She thought it was part of the show.
TJKelly: yep, that’s the one my Fantasy had. If I remember it correctly, it was a golden hue when I went there. And for some reason, I seem to remember the theater had a golden hue as well. One of my most distinct memories was seeing “Barry Lyndon” there in 1975. The theater seemed to glow from that curtain. The place looked spectacular.
I went to The Fantasy throughout the 70’s and I remember it very well. Not sure when exactly you worked there but who ever did, they did a fantastic job. The place was a wonder. The curtain I remember rose from the bottom up and seemed golden or something. It was the only theater I knew where the curtain rose up, not parted from the middle out. Because of that, I always thought The Fantasy was better than any others.
Sadly, the last time I saw something there was in 1984 for “2010”. I was shocked at home run down it had become. The paint on the inside of the auditorium was peeling all over. Obviously they were not doing maintenance knowing that it was soon to be multiplexed.
I read people here saying how nice the theaters are in the “new” Fantasy. But they probably have no idea what the “old” Fantasy was like.
Thanks so much for your memories and please, if you can, give more.
TJKelly: fascinating. This is one of my favorite theaters from my childhood and teenage years. I was so upset when the multiplexed it. It was one of the last and I thought that maybe they weren’t going to do it.
With dressing rooms in the back, can I assume that they once had vaudeville or some other kinds of stage shows?
Also, what do you mean by running Funny Girl “Red Carpet”?
Can you give me (us) some other memories of the place? As I remember it, The Fantasy was large but it was not enourmous. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Lynbrook was bigger?
Please give me some other stories! This was one of my favorite theaters growing up.
For the Christmas show, they give you the glasses with each program and they did a good job ensuring that everyone had them. The announced repeatedly that everyone should have the glasses and the attendents were very good about getting them out. You could keep them at the end.
Like I said, the movie was fine and I understand why it was short. I was just a little surprised that they did not utilize more 3D effects. Again, I think I’m expecting too much now…
Re: the 3D film at the beginning of this year’s Christmas show. It’s mediocre. It’s not very long and it’s way skimpy on the 3D effects. I thought it was/is a great idea to open the show but it’s not very imaginatively done. You will see much better 3D shows at Disney. (I know…I’m stomping on the Christmas show again….)
I’m not sure how many there were at one time. I know in addition to this one, there was another one in Massapequa and another on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. Both of those theaters are long gone.