Comments from Al Alvarez

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Movieland on May 2, 2006 at 1:33 pm

On the question above about the Warner Twin, Cineplex Odeon called it the Warner Twin upon takeover from RKO. Since the building was coming down, they moved the name over to the Rialto 1 & 11 later in the year. The theatre never reopened in the new construction but Cineplex and the landlord settled out of court. The World Wide and product problems made the battle for yet another theatre redundant.

You will find some ads in the summer of 1987 that refer to the Rialto as the Warner Twin but in reality the basement theatre, although newly re-seated and refurbished, only opened for hours. Flooding, subway noise and lack of product forced them to cut their losses and stay open on a single screen only.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Movie-Plex 42 on May 2, 2006 at 11:50 am

The Zami Yellow pages:

http://newyork.zami.com/Movie_Theater/Clinton

Still list this as 244 W. 42nd street.

Bless!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Loews Cineplex Cinema 5 on May 2, 2006 at 11:26 am

This theatre survived after the Fresh Meadows re-opened only because of product splitting. Cinema 5 and Loews Bay Terrace Twin played all WB, MGM and Disney product while the Meadows played Touchstone and eveything else. It was an eyesore.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Loew's 34th Street Showplace on May 2, 2006 at 10:55 am

I can confirm that it opened on May 22, 1981 with THE FAN, BUSTIN' LOOSE and OUTLAND. They may have received a temporary permit made official in January.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 34th Street East Theatre on May 2, 2006 at 10:41 am

I think that 34th Street Theatre was near Macys and I have some signs of it being opening 1949-1950. It tracks where Wendy’s is now.

241 East 34th Street is the 1963 Walter Reade house which was Head Office when I worked for Cineplex Odeon.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Loew's Yorkville Theatre on May 2, 2006 at 9:05 am

The part of town is confusing enough but I found yet another Yorkville on 96th and Third playing German films in 1933-1934.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Loew's 34th Street Showplace on May 2, 2006 at 8:36 am

The address for this theatre is 238 East 34th Street. The address listed above is for the 34th Street East across the street.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about United Palace of Cultural Arts on May 1, 2006 at 12:45 pm

That seems about right, Ken. There is a venue on 176th and St. Nicholas that shows up in the NY Times as playing movies but then switches to boxing matches in the early 40’s when the US enters the war. It can’t be this theatres since Loews 175th Street was open and showing films during this same period. It is possible that the St. Nicholas Palace had boxing events while the “Annex” or “Garden” continued with movies and concerts. By all indications this seems to have been a very active section of Manhattan at least until after the war or whenever the Major Deegan cut-off the Bronx. There was skating rinks, bowling and concerts nightly along with the movies, fights, music halls and plays.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about United Palace of Cultural Arts on May 1, 2006 at 10:59 am

Make that St. Nicholas…

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about United Palace of Cultural Arts on May 1, 2006 at 10:57 am

Is United Palace (above) a theatre name? Also, does anyone know about a Palace Theatre and annex on St. Nichol showing movies from around 1918-1922?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Little Lenox Theatre on May 1, 2006 at 9:07 am

This advertised in the NY Times in the early thirties as the LENOX LITTLE THEATRE.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Big Cinemas Manhattan on May 1, 2006 at 6:47 am

I think I finally figured this street out:

239 East 59th Street
1969 – Cine Malibu
1976 – D.W. Griffith
1989 – 59th Street East
2004 – ImaginAsian

220 East 59th Street
1969 – Avco Embassy/Pacific East
1970 – 59th St Twin-1/59th Street Twin-2
1977 – EastWorld/ 59th Street East
1979 – Manhattan-1/ Manhattan-2

211 East 59th Street
1970 – Lido East

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about DMac Theatre on May 1, 2006 at 2:14 am

As far as I can tell this location only ran one film, MALE MAGAZINE, in the late sixties for a few weeks and even that appears to have been a gimmick at turning gay porn loops into performance art. The Fortune should probably be delisted here.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Eros Theatre on May 1, 2006 at 12:43 am

The Eros 2 was indeed a separate theatre and it did later become the Venus.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Loews Festival Theatre on Apr 30, 2006 at 6:41 am

This theatre has received a real beating in the posts here and as I recall, they are not undeserved.

…but no one has mentioned that it did open with Fellini’s 8 ½, first-run. How many theatres can lay claim to that?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Criterion Theatre on Apr 30, 2006 at 6:28 am

Great to hear that, Warren!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Elysee Theatre on Apr 30, 2006 at 2:00 am

Gerald, I recently tried adding the Ambassador and it was not posted either. Does anyone know the reason why a theatre that ran movies for over six years and brought foregn language classics like CHILDREN OF PARADISE to New York does not rate but the Winter Garden, Henry Miller, Bijou, and Drury Lane do?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Criterion Theatre on Apr 30, 2006 at 12:18 am

I see a lot of moaning about the loss of this great theatre but not a single mention of the Criterion this one replaced. I would appear it was demolished in June 1935 (along with the Loews New York)in order to make this Criterion happen. The new one was open by September 1936. How was such a speedy construction of this mammoth building possible?

The old Criterion ran the first western blockbuster, THE COVERED WAGON and Oscar winner WINGS for over a year each. It also had the New York premiere of HELL’S ANGELS. Does anyone have more info on the OLD Criterion so it can get posted?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Circle Theatre on Apr 29, 2006 at 10:58 pm

The 1934 Film Daily seat count is 1671.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Amphion Theatre on Apr 29, 2006 at 10:46 pm

LM, it appears the Brooklyn Amphion was a major theatre since the nineteenth century with Manhattan dated talent making an appearance before leaving town. I found several NY Times stories about the shows but no mention of movies. The Williamsburg location assured the eventual tilt towards Yiddish Vaudeville and it seems it was a major drawing card.

In one story, when the femele lead failed to show up for a performance, the manager cancelled the show and refuse to pay the troupe. They promptly beat him up. You don’t need an address to figure that was Brooklyn. My Film Daily shows it was closed by 1934.

The Manhattan Amphion is more illusive.

Yes Ken. I live near Vauxhall and to NY often as I consider it home.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Amphion Theatre on Apr 29, 2006 at 9:31 am

Thank you, Ken. This is one of the most obscure NY theatres I have encountered so far. It appears in my 1934 Film Daily (as Ampion) and an obituary for owner William Yoost. (He died in Miami Beach, like all hard working New Yorkers deserved to in 1940.)

The obit does confirm that all his theatres were in Manhattan. (Chelsea, Circle, Royal, 34th Street, Chaloner, and REGENT!)

By the way the 1934 address is 614 Ninth Avenue, as above, and to make matters even more convoluted, the Brooklyn Amphion was really off ninth street, not Division.

Are you based in London?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Henry Miller's Theatre on Apr 29, 2006 at 7:45 am

There appears to be an error in the introduction to this theatre. It did not premiere LONESOME COWBOYS. 55th Street Playhouse and the Warhol GARRICK in the Village did.

I think the confusion comes from the another nearby theatre, the Henry Miller owned HUDSON on 44th Street. In 1967 that theatre premiered Andy Warhol’s MY HUSTLER, I- A MAN and BIKE BOY.

Aside from gay porn, the Henry Miller’s life as a cinema consisted of two upscale long runs. LA DOLCE VITA and LES LIAISONS DANGEROUSES.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Angelika 57 on Apr 29, 2006 at 1:59 am

From the NY Times:

The Lincoln Art opened in July 1964 as an outlet for Joseph E. Levine’s Emabssy Pictures. Levine also owned the Festival at the time.

Opening night patrons in to see CARTOUCHE! received portraits of Abraham Lincoln. Seat count was placed at 571.

Construction: William Ely Kohn (architect?)
Color schemes- green and black in the looby, red and black in the auditorium
Interior decor by Yale R. Burge, Inc.
General contractor: Lasberg, Inc.
Focal points include large prints of Lincoln at the White House and at his inaugural parade.

“The opening of the new Lincoln Art theatre technically may be listed as historic. The intimate showcase is the newest to grace a mid-manhattan already bristling with new or fairly new miniature film palaces.”

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about East 86th Street Cinemas on Apr 29, 2006 at 12:33 am

That photo really tells a story, Warren. I wonder if the Cameo faced a similar scenario during the cold war?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 55th Street Playhouse on Apr 29, 2006 at 12:15 am

Open in 1927, this was one of the first ever fulltime arthouses. This place was specialising in Far East martial arts films (think Kurosawa, not Bruce Lee) from 1965 until 1969 when it switched policy for Andy Warhol’s LONESOME COWBOYS. The success of that film sealed its fate and like many other Manhattan arthouses, it switched to increasing graphic sex films, this one eventually specialising in gay product and then gay grind porn.

In 1929 it premiered Abel Gance’s NAPOLEON which received bad reviews in its abridged form and was replaced a week later with a re-release of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI.

In 1930 it opened TWO HEARTS IN WALTZ TIME a German film and the first foreign language film subtitled for U.S. release. The novelty paid off and the film ran for a year. In March 1931, during that run the theatre was renamed Europa, a name it kept until late 1933 when it started to also show more mainstream films.

In 1952 it premiered Jacques Tati classic JOUR DE FETE, 1956 Fellini’s I VITELLONI, in 1957 John Ford’s THE RISING OF THE MOON, in 1958 Kim Stanley’s THE GODDESS, in 1961 the Russian DON QUIXOTE (MGM Soviet cultural exchange).

The theatre was notorious for poor projection and was often featured in the press as an example of the lost art of quality of cinema presentation. Sound familiar?

(Cinema Treasures did not invent that particular bitch-fest hobby of attacking projectionists, union or otherwise, which dates back to the silent era.)

The trajectory of the 55th Street Playhouses’ life certainly started in the head and ended in the groin.