Ziegfeld Theatre

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

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BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 21, 2006 at 8:58 am

If the good folks at Clearview want to see how a classic film should be presented (i.e. showmanship) I suggest they make the trip out to Suffern, New York.

The Lafayette Theatre kicks off their annual Big Screen Classics series this Saturday, February 25, with THE BAND WAGON. You’ll learn how to use entrance music; when to dim the lights; when to open a curtain before the vintage shorts/trailers as opposed to the main feature, etc. You’ll also see that modern commercials and coming attractions are most certainly NOT part of the classic movie going experience.

If you can’t make it on Saturday mornings, they have an excellent Movie Musicals weekend on March 10-11-12 with loads of rare prints, including KISS ME KATE in dual-strip Polaroid 3-D with stereophonic sound, and LOVING YOU in an archival dye-transfer Technicolor print!

Visit View link

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 21, 2006 at 8:51 am

Hardbop is right – I would have bought some candy for sure if “Ben-Hur” had an intermission, but like I said before they had very little time to get the audience turned over for the next show.

The manager who told us there would be no intermission also said the Ziegfeld will be showing classics whenever there was a downtime in their schedule for new releases. I think she mentioned September and October. I figure the classics will outgross most of the new releases anyway, even at the reduced admission price.

Having attended the Ziegfeld four times in two weeks reminds me of something Carly Simon sang: These ARE the good old days.

hardbop
hardbop on February 21, 2006 at 8:25 am

It kind of seems penny wise and pound foolish not to schedule an intermission. Theatres make the bulk of their money (or at least they get to keep it all) from concessions. These long films give them an opportunity to sell more popcorn.

YMike
YMike on February 21, 2006 at 7:56 am

Went to the 4:30 screening of “Braveheart” yesterday. No trailers and the print looked great. Hope this series continues. There was a survey card given out where you could list the movies you would want to see at the Ziegfeld. Hopefully this means there are plans to continue this series.

Vito
Vito on February 21, 2006 at 4:12 am

Yes andreco, during the roadshow heyday we always ran a technical rehersal of both the show print and the back up. I am not sure what goes on today in most theatres, but I can tell you National Amusements, which was the last company I worked for before I retired, has an excellent company policy which states all prints must be screened the night before they open. I spent many a night running prints till three or four in the morning. Since we were running platters, the main purpose of the screenings was to be sure there were no mistakes in continuity or misframes, but if there was a print problem we had an 800# to call to get a replacement
reel/print. In the old days we would get pre inspected prints from a film exchange, now however, it is not out of the ordinary to get the prints straight from the lab. Although it was rare, I did have a couple of times when I recived two reel 3s and no reel 4 etc. The worst case was when I called to tell the exchange I was missing the 5th reel of a movie and had recived two reel 4s, so guess what they sent me, yup… another reel four.

Andres
Andres on February 21, 2006 at 2:53 am

When I worked in film distribution and exhibition some years ago, we always checked the prints and if it was a roadshow film we always had a rehearsal the day before opening the film. From what I have read here from Vito, I am sure he always checked the print before throwing the switch.

umbaba
umbaba on February 21, 2006 at 2:18 am

I was at the screenings of “Ben-Hur” and “Braveheart” yesterday.

While I absolutely agree with all the “nitpicking” about the intermission, curtain cues, film stock etc (as the people in this site are old school movie going lovers as myself), I was absolutely overjoyed at the print of Ben – Hur. The stereo sound was outstandingbut seeing the film on a large screen was awesome. I had seen it in 2005 at the AMC 25 on 42nd st…they played it on their smallest screen and the people who worked there kept screwing up (lights were on, film lost frame etc) …but seeing it on a small screen was criminal…although i was glad just to see it in the movies…BUT..yesterday topped them all….also, no mention has been made of “Braveheart”…absolutely great print, clean, great sound (OK…a nitpick…a jump cut at the end…but I can live with it)…I talked with Monique (the theater manager) she was extremely nice and I told her what a good thing this festival is..

So….look, they get the prints they get…yes, it would be great if they were checked…but maybe that’s the print they got…I doubt there are many new prints struck of Ben-Hur etc. After being on this site for a couple of years now, on all the theaters…it always seemed that our dream of a film festival at the Ziegfeld was just a “pipedream”…but now….we got it…it seems that someone has listened to us..and this could be the start of something big….so, let’s not sweat the small stuff guys (sorry, don’t mean to preach) but, there I was sitting in the Ziegfeld yesterday, watching a double feature of “Ben-Hur' and "Braveheart”…whod’ve thought

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 20, 2006 at 4:54 pm

It would’ve been nice to have the intermission at “Ben-Hur” today, but at least a theater manager spoke to the audience about it before the show started so it wasn’t an abrupt shock. It must have been removed to make sure the 4:30 showing of “Braveheart” started on time, but starting “Ben-Hur” at 12 noon instead of 12:30 would’ve solved that problem.

Anyway, that and the curtains being open during the overture were the only disappointments in the whole show. The color was beautiful, no frames were missing, and the sound and score were especially powerful. The sea battle and chariot race were seen and heard to maximum effect in a theater like the Ziegfeld, but the big screen also lent a special dimension to the quieter moments. Ben-Hur’s reunion with his mother and sister in the leper’s cave was never more moving to me than it was today.

evmovieguy
evmovieguy on February 20, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Ed-can’t argue with your comments about ‘crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s’ when it comes to presenting the films. However, when I see the Ziegfeld advertising “films the way they were meant to be seen” as far as I’m concerned that means ‘seeing them on the big screen and NOT seeing them on TV’, and in fact they are presenting these films the way they were meant to be seen. “Ben-Hur” is a stellar example of that. That film should only be seen on the big screen.

Yeah, it would be great if the Ziegfeld would do all the curtain and light cues, but it would also be great if we could see these films at the Rivoli, or the Capitol, or even the original Ziegfeld. It would also be great if we could go back to 1959 and see ‘Ben-Hur’ in it’s first run, but that obviously isn’t going to happen. I don’t have much to complain about with this series. I’m am more than pleased that it is happening, and ‘Ben-Hur’ for example was one of the best movie-going experiences I’ve had in a while, so I’m not gonna sweat the curtain and light cues. If they do them great, if they don’t well….they don’t.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 20, 2006 at 1:49 pm

ok, red curtain is a cliche. yes, gold, yes, my mistake.

Forrest136
Forrest136 on February 20, 2006 at 1:44 pm

The seats and interior used to be gold too!

Butch
Butch on February 20, 2006 at 12:32 pm

The Ziegfeld’s house curtain is gold and always has been.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 20, 2006 at 12:19 pm

Andres, the traveler curtain is in use at the Ziegfeld during this series. There is a red contour curtain that is perpetually fully drawn into the proscenium, but I can’t recall from days of old if this is merely a decorative bit of drapery or if it was ever a functioning curtain. Anyway. the thick gold traveler is accompanied by another transparent traveler on an inside track that – if operated independently – could remain closed and act as a scrim while the overture plays. Here are some photos I took over the last couple of visits to the Zeigfeld. The last picture shows the traveler as it was closing after the credits rolled for WSS last Tuesday night.

Exterior day
Exterior night
Rear signage (W. 55th)
Ticket lobby chandelier
Lower Foyer statue
Lower Foyer Gallery
Stairway from Lower Foyer
Upper Foyer landing
Stairway from Upper Foyer
Upper Foyer lounge area
Upper Foyer lounge area alternate view
Men’s room signage
Ladies' Room signage
Rest Room entrance cove mirror
Auditorium from rear orchestra
Projection booth portholes
Side wall ornamentation
Seat row end-cap
Rear stadium seating
Side wall motif
Exit sign
Proscenium decorative panel
Traveler curtain in action

I wanted to re-take a few of those shots that are a bit blurry or off center (the ladies' room signage and the end-cap for example), but when I went back the 2nd time, my camera battery expired and I forgot the spare!

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 20, 2006 at 12:07 pm

Adreco, there’s a red curtain, and a transparent white curtain. The prior operator, Cineplex Odeon, would open the red curtain first, and then would open the white curtain while the film title came on. I liked that practice. I suppose they probably had closed them both after the trailers, but I don’t recall exactly.

Clearview opens them at the same time, with the white one seen separately, but not really separately used.

If they have time for intermissions and still have the number of showings they wish to present for intermissions, then they should do the intermissions. These epic films had them originally. That’s the right presentation, would help with restroom breaks, and increase concession stands. \

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 20, 2006 at 12:07 pm

Adreco, there’s a red curtain, and a transparent white curtain. The prior operator, Cineplex Odeon, would open the red curtain first, and then would open the white curtain while the film title came on. I liked that practice. I suppose they probably had closed them both after the trailers, but I don’t recall exactly.

Clearview opens them at the same time, with the white one seen separately, but not really separately used.

If they have time for intermissions and still have the number of showings they wish to present for intermissions, then they should do the intermissions. These epic films had them originally. That’s the right presentation, would help with restroom breaks, and increase concession stands. \

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 20, 2006 at 11:46 am

Vito… you’re points about laziness and lack of showmanship are exactly what I’m talking about. Irv, you may well consider it splitting hairs, but for a theater as high profile as the Ziegfeld to undertake an ambitious series of movies “the way they were meant to be seen”, why stop short of the very best presentation possible? Make no mistake about it, I was thrilled to see WSS as I was to see “Ben-Hur” and I’m thankful to Clearview for the program. But, if they are listening to our suggestions and interested in making this series a success, then why not offer our honest and constructive criticism along with our genuine appreciation for the effort? Perhaps the ideas and opinions expressed here will result in higher quality prints in the future and presentations closer to the filmmakers' original intentions. Clearview has an opportunity to do something very special here in NYC and I for one would like to see them make the very most of it.

Andres
Andres on February 20, 2006 at 11:43 am

I remember when I saw the restored Lawrence and other 70mm roadshows here, they played the overture and entre'act with lights dimmed, main curtain open and the traveler closed. When the Columbia logo or whatever logo came up, then they turned the lights copletely off and opened the traveler. Do they still have a traveler at the Ziegfeld?

Forrest136
Forrest136 on February 20, 2006 at 7:09 am

Another ROADSHOW that has not been mentioned is “HAWAII” with Jule Andrews and Max Von Sydow! An absolutely beautiful film! How I would love to see it again on the big screen with Intermission and Entr'Act!

Forrest136
Forrest136 on February 20, 2006 at 7:08 am

Another ROADSHOW that has not been mentioned is “HAWAII” with Jule Andrews and Max Von Sydow! An absolutely beautiful film! How I would love to see it again on the big screen with Intermission and Entr'Act!

Forrest136
Forrest136 on February 20, 2006 at 7:08 am

Another ROADSHOW that has not been mentioned is “HAWAII” witrh Jule Andrews and Max Von Sydow! An absolutely beautiful film! How I would love to see it again on the big screen with Intermission and Entr'Act!

Vito
Vito on February 20, 2006 at 4:40 am

Good point Erik, unfortunatly what I believe is happing here is the projectionist are doing a simple “cookie cutter” presentaion, thread the film, push a button and that’s it. If they wanted to put on a show they could, but it seems they don’t. If I were the projectionist at the Ziegfeld I waould be choppin at the bit to present the classic films as close to the original presentation as possible. Case in point is Ben Hur, instead of allowing the overture to run with the lights down and the curtain open, it would be a simple matter to do it properly, heaven only knows why they chose to run it the way they did, there simply is no excuse for it, even if the Zigfeld is running thru some sort of automation it couild easily be by-passed and the overture run manually. Come on guys, admit it, your just being lazy! Show us a little showmanship for heavens sake.

ErikH
ErikH on February 20, 2006 at 3:57 am

The concept of roadshow intermissions isn’t entirely foreign to the Ziegfeld. The hugely successful 70MM re-release of “Lawrence” in 1989 had an intermission, as did the 70MM engagements of “My Fair Lady” and “Spartacus” in the early 1990s.

Also, in 2002 or 2003 the Ziegfeld brought back “Lawrence” in 70MM for a run of several weeks; a friend of mine saw it then and said there was an intermission (and the print shown was in great shape).

Interesting to note the number of 70MM engagements of “Lawrence” in NYC in recent years—-far more than any other film that I can think of. In addition to the three 70MM engagements at the Ziegfeld (1989, 2002/3 and 2006), “Lawrence” was also screened in 70MM for a few weeks at the Paris, probably in the mid to late 1990s.

RobertR
RobertR on February 19, 2006 at 5:55 pm

The print of Ben Hur had to be the same one the Loew’s Jersey ran last year. The Jersey presented it with the intermission.

evmovieguy
evmovieguy on February 19, 2006 at 5:32 pm

I agree, it would be nice to have an intermission during the long films (for the bathroom) and the right cues for the overtures and things like that, but c'mon, enough of the hair splitting. As long as I can see any of these films on the screen at the Ziegfeld from beginning to end, in focus with decent audio and hopefully no frames missing, than that’s fine with me. The other details are icing on the cake! Just be happy this kind of thing is happening. Hopefully film revival in New York City will be making a comeback and we will have schedules like this one all through the year.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 19, 2006 at 4:25 pm

There was a projectionist on duty the night I saw WSS, vito… I recall seeing a tall and thin grey-haired gentlemen walking up to the projection booth sometime before the show last Tuesday. And when I called the theater on Saturday before going to see “Ben-Hur” to find out about the print, the manager advised that a different projectionist was on duty and had not seen the print when it played the previous day. The abrupt cut as the music started to swell to a crescendo into the intermission card was jarring and unforgivable! I hold no hope for a complete intermission with “2001” (particularly since there is no musical cue in the movie and the scenes on either side of the intermission spot transition smoothly), but I am really hoping that they pull out the stops for the 70mm “Lawrence” presentation! Are you Clearview guys listening??? PLEASE!!! If for nothing more than the sake of my bladder!!!