Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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JSA
JSA on February 24, 2006 at 2:31 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 2:13 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 1:08 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 11:24 am

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 9:04 am

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

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 24, 2006 at 9:03 am

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 8:59 am

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 7:54 am

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 6:20 am

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 6:01 am

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 5:45 am

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 5:39 am

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.

William
William on February 24, 2006 at 5:21 am

The next question for Clearview is what 70MM print of “Lawrence of Arabia” have then booked and need to advertise. Because there are 70MM DTS and 70MM Magnetic prints available on this title. Remember these Director’s Cut prints are used and have been around for a few years too.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 24, 2006 at 4:54 am

The schedule is up for the 70mm Lawrence of Arabia shows: 2:30 and 7:30 every day for one week (except no late show on Wednesday). You know what that means: INTERMISSION!

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 24, 2006 at 4:09 am

All this talk about projectionists. I remember seeing 2001 at the Rivoli in 76. I hadn’t seen the film for years since when I was a boy and really remembered nothing about it except it was boring as hell and the kids matinee I saw it at in the suburbs practically rioted at the stupid plot turns(if you can call them that.)

When I saw it again at the Riv it was one of the greatest cinema experieces of my life and at the end of the first half just as you realize Hal is spying the huge curtains started closing in on the Rivoli’s magnificent curved screen absolutely perfectly timed.
I was in shock.

Vito
Vito on February 24, 2006 at 2:51 am

I agree Stan, I mean it’s a whole lot better than watching Gene Kelly dancing with no head or just his head and no feet :)

StanMalone
StanMalone on February 24, 2006 at 2:39 am

About 10 years ago I ran “Singing In The Rain” and if my memory is correct, it was one of those windowboxed prints mentioned above. That is, it was a 1:85 frame with the 1:33 image in the middle and black bars on each side. At this particular theatre the masking was moved manually by stagehands so we were able to bring it in to the 1:33 setting. Even if a theatre has only a flat / scope masking set up, the black bars were hardly noticable unless you were looking for them. Not the best solution perhaps, but when you remember that 99% of theatres have no 1:33 lenses, plates, or masking, or have anyone on staff that knows the difference, it is probably the best way to handle this situation.

Vito
Vito on February 24, 2006 at 1:24 am

The name of the test film is RP40 and can be purchased from most cinema supply houses. Theatres should have this tool to check the proper presentation of all aspect ratios, it is usually purchased in 50'lengths and can be made into a loop which can be run while cutting plates, setting masking, scope configeration and picture centering.

Vito
Vito on February 23, 2006 at 1:43 am

Congratulations to Joe the projectionist for doing it right. He is probably from the old school who enjoys “putting on a show” as much as we do seeing it done properly. Who knows, Joe may have read our comments and learned something :)
I would also like to suggest to Clearview that they invest in an
SMPTE test loop which will enable the tech/projectionist to cut the aperatures and mask the screen to the exact 1:33/1:37 ratio. I have seen too many theatres simply throw a white light on to the sheet and cut the plates to fill it. There is an exact science to presenting movies in the proper aspect ratio and all the tools needed are easily available.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 22, 2006 at 10:00 pm

The Ben Hur presentation sounds wonderful! Realize, though, it might be that these movies were too long to include the commercials.

Thanks for the Gladiator attendence, but I don’t expect much during M to Thursday, and have nothing to compare. How’s Ben Hur doing during those days?

I’ve learned a lot volunteering to get a film program at Philadelphia’s Boyd when it reopens, and one thing is that it doesn’t cost much to get a new lens cut for the projector, to show the film in the correct aspect ratio. Since they showed Metropolis correctly at the Ziegfeld in 2002, they SHOULD already have the lens sitting in a box. We found many lens at the Sameric (the Boyd’s name when it closed), whole boxes full, so they likely have this at the Ziegfeld. Lens are particular to each auditorium, as Vito indicates above. Of course, “should” doesn’t always happen, so we will see soon.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 22, 2006 at 9:22 pm

Beautiful presentation tonight of Ben-Hur.

Joe the projectionist lowered the house lights to half and opened the main gold curtain. The sheer white curtain remained closed, and the six-minute overture played.

The most beautiful part: as the overture ended, the house lights went all the way down, and the white curtain began to part the moment the MGM logo came on screen. Perfectly timed, the curtain was fully open just as Leo let out his last roar, and a big map of Judea and vicinity burst open the screen.

Real showmanship, the way movies were meant to be seen.

And no ads or trailers of any kind.

Movieguy718
Movieguy718 on February 22, 2006 at 8:49 pm

Hey Howard,

Not bashing Clearview at all – I’m happy to see the revivals! However, at Chelsea Classics, they throw 1.33 movies up on the 1.85 screen and crop the image top and bottom.
Perhaps there are prints of Singing… in which it has been optically printed (“windowboxed”) onto the 1.85 frame?? As in the last releases of Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz…
I won’t complain – either way I’m happy to see it since I have never seen it projected at all.
Gladiator on Monday night attracted perhaps 75 people.

William
William on February 22, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Technically, it is actually 1.37:1 . Many of the First Run special theatres like the Cinerama Dome, Chinese, Egyptian, Hollywood Pacific, Century Plaza and the art house circuits in Los Angeles, all had a full set of lens to play all 35mm formats in their booths. (1.37 , 1.66 , 1.85 , 2.40). Or if it was something special we would just call the home office and talk to our circuit’s head projectionist, to find the right lens. And since the Ziegfeld is part of a circuit their home office would have other lens in stock.
Remember the operator in the booth is a union projectionist, not some popcorn jockey from downstairs.

Vito
Vito on February 22, 2006 at 11:07 am

Bravo Howard, that needed to be said, I am as guilty as anyone here for Clearview bashing, however they have been listining to our comments and appear to be trying, quite frankly I do not think they simply thought,the heck with it just show the darn movies. I am willing to bet Clearview has a better understanding of what they should be doing to present these films properly, and will in the future do the classics justice. As for “Singing in the Rain”, I suggest Clearview contact their equipment vendor with the screen size and projection throw to optain proper prime lenses for 1.33 projection. Once that is done it will be a simple matter of masking the screen accordingly. National Amusements has a classic film day once a month in many locations and have purchased lenses to ensure movies are presented in the proper 1.33 ratio.
Clearview should do the same.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 22, 2006 at 9:59 am

Let’s be constructive! Dear CLEARVIEW: Singin in the Rain has different dimensions than new films. New films are scope, so 2.35 wide as high, or flat which is 1.85 wide as high. Movies before 1953 are 1.33, like television sets before new wide screen ones. That means a different lens for the movie projectors.

One of my greatest pleasures of moviegoing was enjoying the restored 1927 Metropolis at the Ziegfeld in 2002, so I know it has been done before. If Clearview is presenting classics at the Chelsea, presumably they are projecting them in the right dimensions there.

A few years I enjoyed a double bill of Signin in the Rain and An American in Paris at the Paris theater.

ok, now what I’d like to know is whether there has been a big turnout for Braveheart and Gladiator.

Kudos again to Clearview for the classics! Do try to accomodate intermissions, and try to get 70 MM prints in the future, but know we love the Ziegfeld and thank you for keep presenting movies, new and vintage, there!