Ziegfeld Theatre

141 W. 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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ZiegfeldMan on March 5, 2006 at 9:48 am

Come One, Come All to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” starting Friday March 17th at 8:15 PM—-at the Ziegfeld, where the film premiered on November 16th, 1977. This will be the “Definitive Director’s Cut.” For this first showing only, there will be a very special introduction. Spread the Word!!!!

ZiegfeldMan on March 5, 2006 at 9:47 am

Come One, Come All to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” starting Friday March 17th at 8:15 PM—-at the Ziegfeld, where the film premiered on November 16th, 1977. This will be the “Definitive Director’s Cut.” For this first showing only, there will be a very special introduction. Spread the Word!!!!

JSA on March 1, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Close Encounters: Some deletions from the 1977 version included a scene that takes place in the power station before Dreyfuss' first encounter. One Special Edition scene that made its way to the recent Definitive iteration is the Gobi Desert sequence. Over the years, mixed versions have been broadcast on TV, so who really knows how many permutations are out there? I still consider the original 1977 release the best, one of the finest American films of the 70’s. I failed to see what was so “Special” in the 1980 edition. The 2001 version is a good compromise.


VincentParisi on March 1, 2006 at 6:39 am

Now if only they could digitally eliminate Richard Dreyfuss and put in a young Harrison Ford.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 1, 2006 at 3:43 am

Without spoiling the film or going on too much about its critical merits, the story is that Speilberg felt rushed by Columbia to get the film into theaters by November of ‘77. He wanted to push back to the following summer, but the studio (which was in financial trouble at the time) wouldn’t budge. Speilberg always felt there were certain scripted sequences he didn’t have the time or budget to properly shoot and that the film didn’t fulfill his vision, so a couple of years later he convinced the studio to allow him to re-assemble his crew and actors to shoot additional scenes and tighten up the editing. They agreed under condition that the climactic “encounter” of the title be expanded with additional effects to entice viewers back for a 2nd look at the movie. I’m with Peter… I loved the original version just fine and when I saw the “Special Edition” that was released with great fanfare in 1980, I felt the padded scenes the studio wanted were superfluous.

Fortunately, the final edition that Speilberg assembled in 2001 eliminates those scenes and reverts to the original versions ending, while still retaining some of scenes and edits Speilberg had always wanted to include but couldn’t back in ‘77. It’s been so long since I saw the original edit, that I don’t know if I could honestly compare the experience of seeing this latest and supposedly “final” cut with that first “work in progress”, as Speilberg refers to it. Tinkering aside, it’s a film well worth seeing on the big screen.

HowardBHaas on March 1, 2006 at 2:58 am

Oh! So, I really missed the original 70 mm 6 track version that was shown moviegoers! Well, Spielberg is still at the top of his game, and it will have digital sound, so I will try to attend. I’m going to email you, Peter, at the email you provide on this site, for more particulars as to the differences. I wouldn’t want to spoil the film for anyone, and there may also be more discussion on particular films than this site would seem to set up for.

PeterApruzzese on March 1, 2006 at 2:51 am

Howard –

The print that Columbia/Sony currently offers of CE3K is the “Definitive Edition”, which is a re-editing of the original 1977 release, the 1980 “Special Edition” release, with some additions and deletions from both; it was created by Spielberg in 2001. It’s the version that Spielberg has said he prefers (I disagree, I think the original ‘77 version was the best) and is the only one they offer for theatrical play.

Vito on March 1, 2006 at 1:22 am

Regarding 70mm/6-track, I would certainly agree it is spectalular.
Those of you who have worked in projection, I am sure, still remember the thrill when the print arrived, those massive reels and the wonderfull smell of the mag track, which is hard to describe but it hit you as soon as you opened the can. More than that, you knew you were going to have fun at work again, thrilling audiences with the granduer of 70mm and the excitement of the rich sound track. Maybe it was just me but when I had a 70mm print in the booth I seemed to care for it like a new baby, sounds kinda silly I quess but those of you who were there know what I mean. All the new sound processes we have today are excellent, but for me they can never compare to the rich full sound of a mag track.

JSA on February 28, 2006 at 7:35 pm

Yes, Peter and Ed: I recently saw a presentation of “Close Encounters…” at California State University, Long Beach. The film was introduced by none other than cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, and he mentioned that the special effects sequences were shot in 70 mm, while the other dramatic scenes were shot in 35 mm. It would have been interesting to ask him Ed’s question! “Close Encounters…” is indeed a beautiful film, both visually and conceptually. A good 35 mm print will do justice to this important picture. But oh, that 70 mm/6-track…


Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 28, 2006 at 6:38 pm

I like the Chelsea 9 and have not had a bad experience there.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 28, 2006 at 4:14 pm

I agree with Peter, Howard. Only the special effects sequences were filmed in 70mm (Super Panavision 70 in this case) to reduce grain and were then reduced to 35mm to match the rest of the footage. Most folks saw the film in 35mm when it was first released, anyway. It’s an awesome big screen experience in either format – provided the print is in good shape.

I wonder… in cases such as this – where some footage was shot on 70mm and the rest on 35mm – are those 70mm sequences transfered from original camera negative or are they first reduced to 35mm to match the rest of the footage and then blown back up? Does that question make sense?

HowardBHaas on February 28, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Thanks, Peter. Unless you know that those are the only prints available, we have to hope the Ziegfeld actually is sent those newer (digital sound) prints rather than older 35 mm prints. This sounds like a cool surround sound experience.
I miss 70 mm, 6 track.

PeterApruzzese on February 28, 2006 at 11:43 am

Probably not, Howard. The film is regular 35mm Panavision, IMO the biggest reason for 70mm on a film such as that was the six-track stereo sound. The new 35mm prints that Columbia/Sony have are in SDDS/DTS/Dolby Digital sound and will give you 95% of the impact of the 70mm sound.

HowardBHaas on February 28, 2006 at 11:23 am

Ed, you mention Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I haven’t seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind on a movie screen. Ziegfeld is presenting it in 35 mm. Will I miss much by not seeing a 70 mm presentation?

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 11:00 am

I never sugggested that Lucas shot in 70mm, but he did spearhead the return to making prints available in 70mm, which is my point.
By the way, I played a lot of films in the 60s as well that were blow ups, “Funny Girl, Oliver, the list goes on and on, in fact few films after the 50s were shot in 70mm, but we still enjoyed presenting the 70mm blow ups, however you could certainly appreciate the difference when viewing true 70mm films like "Sound of Music” and “West Side Story” among others. By the way, I’m glad you
mentioned VistaVision, which few people may realise is still used in production today.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 28, 2006 at 10:27 am

Most 70mm presentations in the 70’s and 80’s were blow-ups from 35mm negatives. Other than IMAX, very few movies in the last 20-30 years have been photographed on wide-guage stock (“Tron” and “Far and Away” come to mind). This includes all the original Star Wars films. There were a number of films, however, that did utilize 65mm film stock for the special effects photography (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “Contact”) but even that gave way to the use of 35mm VistaVision for optical shots.

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 10:12 am

Movieguy, I really can’t make it any clearer than I have already, of course their were exceptions, but having seen the deteriation going on in film presentation during the 60s and 70s I can tell you, Lucas helped make some impressive improvments. As to death of 70mm, we all know that, with the exception of IMAX it is no more and I have said many times in other threads I have never thought Digital Cinema was better than 35mm film because it most certainly is not. By the way I attended a few THX cerifications, they were tough, I saw a theatre lose out simply because the theatres HVAC (heat/air conditioning) systems hummed too loud. Eventually exibitors stopped buying into it.
You are right with respect to the cost when talking about Digital Cinema, only the studios gain here, there is nothing in it for the theatre owners. People don’t care if a movie is shown in DLP, it does not come into play when making a descion about seeing a movie.
I will say, I suggest you check out the Dolby 3-D Cinema, it is quite amasing. I also loved IMAX but it seems to be slipping away as well, not many films being made available anymore. The same could be said for Digital Cinema, very few films being shown now, in fact none since Christmas.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 28, 2006 at 10:06 am

Vito must be referring to enhancements to 70mm film presentation in the ‘70’s and '80’s for, surely, he is way too young to have been involved with the development of 70mm film stock that goes back to the late 1920’s!

Unfortunately, Lucas hasn’t contributed much to the enhancement of the movie going experience from an ARTISTIC point of view in nearly 30 years! While technically dazzling, these last three Star Wars installments contain some of the worst dialog, most wooden performances (from the human beings) and flat direction I can remember in such big budget, high profile, major studio productions.

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 9:56 am

Sorry Bob, I did not mean to confuse you, Lucas did not develop 70mm but he was a big supporter of the process, which had all but dyed out in the late 60s. It was Lucas with “Star Wars” that started the trend of using 70mm again, coupled with the use of Dolby sound. I give credit to Lucas for the explosion of Dolby stereo with the release of “Star Wars” in 70mm mag as well as Dolby Stereo optical.

Movieguy718 on February 28, 2006 at 9:55 am


Not be argumentative, but you say >>>he did play a role in how well the picture and sound were presented.<<< Clearly you have never been to the Chelsea 9 – there is no such thing as good picture and sound there. If you mean that he ensured a good sound mix and premium quality prints, well – that doesn’t matter much if the theaters don’t live up to the standard.
I agree with most of your comments about what he did for film presentation, but… 70mm is dead. THX in theatres is dead. Before it died, we had… either 3 or 5 (depending on who you ask) rooms that were THX certified. Digital Cinema is not even up to the quality of 35mm and is really about saving studios money. DLP completely underwhelms me. It is bright tho. Very bright. And usually very red also…

BobFurmanek on February 28, 2006 at 9:44 am

I didn’t know Lucas had anything to do with the development of 70mm!

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 9:38 am

By the way, Fox did not only have problems with Loews, but National Amusements and others as well. The cost(%)to exhibitors to show Fox films was just too high.

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 9:33 am

Movieguy, Lucas did noy have the power to dictate which theatres played the films, those decisions were usually made by biding and other methods through the studio and film buyers. However he did play a role in how well the picture and sound were presented. If you think about it, eventually, “Star Wars” played in just about every dumb in town, there wasn’t much George could have done about that.
I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, Lucas was a pioneer in developing methods of improving picture and sound quality in theatres. Beginning with 70mm, THX and continuinmg today with Digital, I know no one who has contributed more to the enhancment the movie going experience.

Movieguy718 on February 28, 2006 at 9:06 am


I read about how much Lucas is concerned about where they show his movies, YET… all three new Star Wars pictures were shown in the crappiest theaters in the city (Ziegfeld excepted.) The Park and 86st, the 86st East, the Clearview 62/1, the Clearview Chelsea 9, the Murray Hill come to mind immediately. Granted, Fox had $$$ issues with Loews but if Lucas cared soooo much, he certainly would not have allowed his babies to be displayed in these places. It’s all about the bottom line, not the audience (who doesn’t really care cuz they went to these dumps anyway.)


Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 28, 2006 at 9:05 am

Astyanax: “Helen of Troy” is out on DVD from Warner Home Video, and it includes the overture.