Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 2:40 pm

I agree Ed. I’m seeing this gent tomorrow and I’ll ask for additional details…

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Bob… if your Kong expert is correct, that raises an interesting debate in corrolation to this topic. By adding the “overture” to the DVD, are the producers doing the film a disservice by adding something to the presentation that was never intended by the film makers? Similar criticism was aimed at the “restored” VHS version of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” that included some footage that Kramer never intended to see the light of day in an effort to return the film to as close an original “roadshow” length as possible.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 27, 2006 at 1:58 pm

Robert Wise’s “Helen of Troy” (1956) had an overture, and quite a lengthy one, by Max Steiner.

Vito
Vito on February 27, 2006 at 1:46 pm

TCM has now included the overture when they play the film.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 1:38 pm

I was told by a Kong expert that the “overture” on the DVD was not played before the film in 1933. It was recorded for a souvenir record created after the film was released.

YMike
YMike on February 27, 2006 at 1:22 pm

The “King Kong” overture must have been discovered quite recently since the current DVD release is the only version that has it.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on February 27, 2006 at 1:13 pm

More overtures come to mind: Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, DUEL IN THE SUN (both musical overture and off-screen narration), JULIUS CAESAR (1953), more recently William Friedkin’s SORCERER. BTW, in my above post about BIRTH OF A NATION, that should read NY Liberty, not NT Liberty.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Thanks for the responses, veyoung and YankeeMike. I never knew that about “King Kong”! I wonder when that overture was discovered? I saw “King Kong” at the D.W. Griffith Theater on East 59th Street when the scenes that had been trimmed in the 1940’s were restored in the ‘70’s, but I can’t recall an overture. The theater had rolled admission tickets back to 1933 vintage (10 cents) for the first few weeks of what turned out to be a very long engagement.

YMike
YMike on February 27, 2006 at 9:56 am

“The Great Ziegfeld” had an overture and that film was released in 1936. I know “The Sign Of The Cross” had an intermission but I am not sure about an overture. The original “King Kong” had an overture. It has been restored to the film in its recent DVD release.

YMike
YMike on February 27, 2006 at 9:56 am

“The Great Ziegfeld” had an overture and that film was released in 1936. I know “The Sign Of The Cross” had an intermission but I am not sure about an overture. The original “King Kong” had an overture. It has been restored to the film in its recent DVD release.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 27, 2006 at 12:28 am

I guess I thought the lion was roaring because there was music and Leo was moving due to the gentle undulations of the sheer traveler curtain. Funny tricks the mind plays sometimes.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on February 26, 2006 at 10:09 pm

It may not be the earliest, but “Birth of a Nation” was road-shown at the NT Liberty, incidentally, the same theatre where the live play “The Klansman,” on with BOAN was based, was introduced. Roadshows, in one form or another, with or without prologue/overture/intermission/entr'acte have been around for decades.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 26, 2006 at 9:56 pm

I was wondering if anyone could identify exactly when the roadshow presentation of a film began? And by that, I mean a film with overture and intermission with entr'acte, booked into an exclusive engagement with reserved seating. I caught the beginning of “Gone With the Wind” today on TMC and I noticed that there was an overture. I know there’s an intermission (and assume there is entr'acte music) and was wondering if all of this was part of the original presentation or if it was added later when the film received a cropped 70mm “widescreen” re-release decades later.

Were there overtures and intermissions during the silent era? I know the roadshow hey day was in the ‘50’s and '60’s and that films of great length were few and far between in prior to that, but were there other earlier films like “GWTW” that had this sort of presentation? For example, “The Best Years of Our Lives” clocks in at nearly three hours, did it include an intermission? I’m probably asking more than one question here, but any history about the history of overture and intermission in American cinema and how that evolved into the roadshow presentations of the '50’s and '60’s would be greatly appreciated.

JSA
JSA on February 24, 2006 at 10:31 pm

Regarding Lawrence of Arabia’s ability to impact present-day audiences, my thoughts are that it will. By virtue of its powerful images and literate script, it will connect emotionally with anyone who’s passionate about film, regardless of political or social inclination.

Ed: you’re right, the MGM lion doesn’t roar on Ben-Hur. He did roar financially however, since Ben-Hur was the top grossing picture for 1959 & 1960. And the 11 Academy Awards didn’t hurt him.

I believe that for its 40th Anniversary, some 70 MM/DTS prints of “Lawrence” were made.

From what I can gather, there are probably only two 70 MM prints of “Ben-Hur” in existence. Hopefully someone can correct me.

The last time I heard of a 70 MM print of “West Side Story” was in 1993.

Regards,

JSA

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 24, 2006 at 10:13 pm

Ed is right about the MGM lion. It’s one of only two MGM movies I can think of where the lion doesn’t roar. The other is “2001”. It was lucky for them: two of MGM’s finest pictures and biggest hits. Maybe someone knows if there are any more (not counting silent movies).

Pete: the original mono soundtrack was a most welcome addition to last year’s “Vertigo” DVD re-release. Bernard Herrmann’s music sounded great in the loud stereo mix, but the sound effects were terrible – all wrong. Very distracting.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 24, 2006 at 9:08 pm

Michael:

Thanks for the correction re: Vertigo. That’ll teach me to trust my memory rather than looking it up! :)

Now I’ll have to start my disagreement with Robert A. Harris all over again regarding the awful stereo sound remix on Vertigo, he claimed DTS had nothing to do with it, while the DTS people I spoke to at the premiere told me specifically that DTS contributed their portion of the funding for the “restoration” only if the film had a “loud” multi-channel mix rather than the correct and proper mono mix.

Vito
Vito on February 24, 2006 at 7:24 pm

Hello Michael, I wondered, as our 70mm resident expert, you might give your facts or opinions on what happened to 70mm/DTS. When it first came along I rhought there was real hope for the same resurgence of 70mm we had in the 80s, all the eliments were there, the huge cost of magnetic stripping the prints was eliminated and the cost to theatres, already equipt for 35mm DTS, would be only a 70mm reader, I even invisioned a reader that could accomadate both 35 and 70. So what happened? was it the Digital picture revolution, which by the way has not exactly set the movie biz on fire, when is the last time you saw a movie presented in a digital picture format.
It just seemed to make good sense, I even thought perhaps Dolby would find a way to include digital sound codeing on 70mm prints.
Alas, other than a few pictures, as you indicated, it never came to pass. What are your thoughts?

Coate
Coate on February 24, 2006 at 5:04 pm

And it looks like I need to restore an “e” to “restoration”! :–)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 24, 2006 at 5:03 pm

Saps… I’m happy Joe the projectionist payed some respect to the presentation of “Ben-Hur” the night you saw it. When I attended a screening on Saturday at 4:30, however, they did run about 5 or 6 commercial spots before turning the lights down for the overture, so the fact that they weren’t played for your screening didn’t have anything to do with the length of the movie, as HowardBHaas suggests – unless theater staff just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible that night!

Also, minor point, but I don’t think the MGM lion actually roars or moves at all for “Ben-Hur”… I remember noticing that the logo appeared to be a still photo.

Looking forward to the 70mm “Lawrence” and keeping my fingers crossed for a 70mm “2001” some time down the line.

Coate
Coate on February 24, 2006 at 4:59 pm

Peter,
70mm-DTS was used on “Vertigo.” In fact, it had been developed earlier than that and was tested on the Harris/Katz rstoration of “My Fair Lady” a couple years prior to the “Vertigo” restoration.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 24, 2006 at 3:54 pm

I wonder if Lawrence today can have the same emotional impact it had in the late 80’s early 90’s consdidering what we have been through historically.
I saw it 3 times when the Ziegfeld showed the restored film and was blown away by it.
However considering our ambivilant views towards the Arab world and Islam today how can we emotially respond to it? Does it make the British actions seem all the more horrifying or do they gain in sympathy?

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 24, 2006 at 2:20 pm

I’m not sure that’s correct, William. When the Vertigo restoration was done there wasn’t 70mm DTS which was introduced, IIRC, with Titanic in 1997.

William
William on February 24, 2006 at 2:01 pm

The Ziegfeld ran “Vertigo” in 70MM and DTS sound during it’s restored engagement. Sony did had dual inventories of prints on “Lawrence”.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 24, 2006 at 1:45 pm

I believe Sony only has the newer prints in inventory of Lawrence that were struck just a couple of years ago, this is what the Ziegfeld showed last time they ran it. I don’t remember the sound format, but I’m leaning towards it having been magnetic and not DTS.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 24, 2006 at 1:39 pm

From what I understand, Sony only has the newer prints that were struck a couple of years ago, which the Ziegfeld played at that time. I don’t remember what sound format it was, however.