Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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HowardBHaas on February 15, 2006 at 2:37 pm

I’ve spoken at length with the projectionist in the Uptown booth. Cinerama requires a special screen. of thin strips if I recall correctly. It has been replaced. The current screen may be Cinerama sized, but that’s different. Of course, putting up a Cinerama screen would be relatively easy in the space that had it before, as opposed to at the Ziegfeld.

Last I knew, Uptown’s best projection over the Friday to Sunday period, with professional projectionist. They were having a controversy over a platter that had arrived- and that’s long after
platters arrived in most other movie theaters.

The sound has some surround from the back, but overall is usually loud enough. I’ve never seen poor projection there or found the sound wasn’t loud enough. The Uptown is a magnificient movie going experience. Restored or new prints, I’ve seen there the 70 mm epics people want at the Ziegfeld: Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, 2001, and more. Truly incredible on the huge screen!

The Ziegfeld’s screen probably isn’t small, but somehow it is the original design of the house that makes it look that way. It is almost certainly bigger than the old KB Cinema on Wisconsin Avenue in DC, but that one was set better and always seemed bigger. However, the Ziegfeld is a neat venue because of its decoration. It has excellent sound, but the Astor Plaza had even better.

JodarMovieFan on February 15, 2006 at 2:16 pm

The Uptown still has the huge curved screen and has the potential of offering patrons a great cinematic experience and have done so with previous 70mm shows, but they don’t have regular projectionists. I was there this past summer and had a horrible experience watching the last Star Wars movie that was slightly off the screen with sound that was turned down, with little to no noticeable surround sound. The manager acknowledged that they did not have a FT projectionist and didn’t seem to care about it or know what to do to fix it. If I could speak Hindi, maybe I could’ve conveyed my sentiments a bit better ;)

The Ziegfeld’s digital projection and sound system was the best place to see it as far as I am concerned, but their screen is rather small. The ideal set up would be the Uptown’s wide screen and the Ziegfeld’s sound system. Just my 2c.

Andres on February 15, 2006 at 1:23 pm

Howard, from what I have read on the Uptown in DC on its page here, it gives me the impression it still has the Cinerama screen. I have been at the Uptown, the last time about 8 years ago and it had the huge curved screen. What a magnificent moviegoing experience!
Ed, Rita Moreno’s first screen appearance was in “Singin' In The Rain” (Zelda). She had done several movies before WSS, “The King and I” was one of them.
Best, Andres.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 15, 2006 at 1:00 pm

Craig, you’ve done a great job at Chelsea Classics and it looks like you’re a success here as well. Bravo!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 15, 2006 at 11:28 am

Craig: Thanks for the beautiful print of “West Side Story”, and thanks in advance for what I’m sure will be a fantastic 70mm print of “Lawrence of Arabia”. If the Ziegfeld were alive, it would be proud at being put to the best possible use.

HowardBHaas on February 15, 2006 at 11:27 am

Mr. O'Connor, that’s great news! I didn’t turn in my white card asking for more films, because I was going to think about it and turn in if I attend later.

I’d like to see the film MASH, having not seen it on the big screen.

And, whereas I’ve already seen the first three James Bond films from the early 1960’s, I would like to see the others from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

And, like many others on this page, I am a fan of 70 mm and would especially like to see the restored Dr. Zhivago, and the restored Spartacus prints in 70 mm. I would consider seeing many other titles in 70 mm, and expect you will see more mentioned below.

THANK YOU for all your good work. I also want to say that the staff at the Ziegfeld is especially nice to customers.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 15, 2006 at 11:26 am

So then it wasn’t the restored print.

Movieguy718 on February 15, 2006 at 11:10 am

Hey Saps,

No, MFL did NOT have any credits at the end.

VincentParisi on February 15, 2006 at 10:48 am

Craig are you going to be trying for other 70mm prints? Maybe Clearview could spring for a My Fair Lady print and tour it like a stage musical?
We’ve been begging you guys to do this forever and now that you’ve taken the hint and its a success please take our other suggestion to heart.

therock1 on February 15, 2006 at 10:42 am


Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions about the series. I have some good news for you! Hollywood Classics is being extended for 3 weeks!

We in the process of lining up some good product (& good prints). I should have some of the programming information to share with you by tomorrow.

One title I can confirm at this time is “Lawrence of Arabia” presented in 70 mm beginning on March 24th.

Once again, thanks for supporting The Ziegfeld!

Craig O'Connor
Clearview Cinemas

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 15, 2006 at 10:40 am

The question about the restoration credits remains unanswered: Did the My Fair Lady print now running have the restoration credits at the end?

William on February 15, 2006 at 10:38 am

Recently a screening of the restored “South Pacific” was screened at the old Hollywood Pacific (Pacific 1,2,3) theatre in Digital Cinema. So this may be the answer from the studios of how old titles will be made available to Digital Cinema Theatres. So the cost of new prints will be a thing of the past. All they will have to do is load the feature into the server of the system and project it like all the new films on the DCinema bandwagon.

mhvbear on February 15, 2006 at 10:38 am

Is it possible they were able to get another print of “My Fair Lady”. We cancelled our plans for the Saturday show after reading about the bad condition the print was in. Stayed home and watched the dvd instead. I had seen a bad print years ago, before the restored version and never wanted to experience that again.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 15, 2006 at 9:26 am

According the WSS listing on imdb.com, there was a planned intermission for the film’s roadshow engagements that was to have occcured after the fade-out just before “I Feel Pretty.” The filmmakers decided to scrap the idea, so that the rising tension within the story could be maintained up to the climactic rumble. When the movie first aired on network television in the early 1970’s, it was broadcast over two consecutive nights with the break occuring in this exact spot. The intermission is restored in the Limited Edition DVD that MGM released in 2003.

Movieguy718 on February 15, 2006 at 9:12 am

Saw MFL on Monday and was expecting a horrible experience based on comments from here. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a bad print at all (a couple of scratches, some dropped frames) – I have seen worse prints of movies that have been in release for 4 DAYS.

ErikH on February 15, 2006 at 9:08 am

Agreed re: “Dolly.” In October 2002, I attended a screening of the new 70MM print at The American Cinematheque/Egyptian in L.A. (promoted as the first public showing of the new print). A silly movie, but tuneful and quite a visual feast in 70MM. If Clearview decides to continue the revival program at the Ziegfeld, “Dolly” would be a fine addition, provided that Clearview can obtain the right print.

bufffilmbuff on February 15, 2006 at 8:28 am

I was lucky enough to see the recently struck 70mm/DTS print of HELLO DOLLY at the AFI Silver last month and I can attest to the incredible visual and aural quality. As another comment said, not a great movie, but in this format… well worth your time.

Vito on February 15, 2006 at 8:24 am

The reference to “Hello Dolly” reminmded me of the technical rehersal (dry run) we had at the Rivoli, the fox guys were there and insisted on putting in their two cents. For the intermission we cued the curtain to close in time with the speed of the Rivoli’s curtain, which meant the curtain started to close before the words Intermission appeared. Well the Fox guys did not like that and told the UA tech, Joe Kelly, and I to start the curtain only after the words Intermission appeared. With protest we complied, the result was a white screen for about 20 seconds as the words Intermission
faded out. While Joe and I cringed, we heard one of the Fox guys cry “perfect”. “Yeah sure” said Joe, “that aint gonna happen”
The opening night audience saw the intermission with the two curtain panels kissing as the Intermission faded out. There was to be no white sheet (screen) showing at the Rivoli. P.S. We got our way and never heard anymore about it.

VincentParisi on February 15, 2006 at 7:56 am

Mike I was refering to WSS but I saw Dolly as well at the Cinerama and though it is not a film I am crazy about I would be there in a shot to see a Todd AO print of it for the production design alone.

Mikeoaklandpark on February 15, 2006 at 7:48 am

Hello Dolly had a 70MM release I saw in 78 at the Cinerama. It was great seeing it on that great huge curved screen they had. The sound was great too.

VincentParisi on February 15, 2006 at 6:31 am

I don’t believe this film has ever had a 70mm 6 track stereo presentation in New York since its first run at the Rivoli.

Now if only Clearview would install a larger curved screen(65 to 75ft) in front of the proscenium,install a curtain and show occassional PRISTINE roadshow prints with much publicity they would send the New York cinema going public for a loop and put an end to the constantly empty houses.

William on February 15, 2006 at 6:25 am

As Bob Furmanek pointed out about prints. On popular films like “My Fair Lady” and many other titles there are newer prints available, but the booker and the depot are the ones that have to work on finding out the condition of the film. Many times films are run and returned to the depot with damage and the next person/theatre gets it. Depots only inspect the first few feet of film. They will inspect the entire film only if the studio requests it and PAYS for it. So that is why many of you are seeing poor prints in many shows.
And with the lack of true projectionists in the booths (not a union vs. non-union statement), but a projectionist that has handled special prints. The cost for a 70MM print of a film like “My Fair Lady” runs around $40-50,000 a print vs. around $3000 for a 35mm. Back in the mid 90’s I was at a film depot near Los Angeles, California. The studio had them pull a few prints but they dumped 100’s of reels of 70MM tobe trashed. Because the studio did not want to pay storage on those worn prints. That is the same thing that happens with all those 35mm prints too after their release.
Last year the Castro Theatre had a series that featured 70MM films. On their booking for “Hello Dolly” they got a 70MM 6-Track Mag print that was worn-out and they had to replace that showing with another title. The 70MM DTS version was in Europe.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 15, 2006 at 6:10 am

I was there with my lady last night for a wonderful Valentine’s Day… er, evening, that is. As Bill reports, a very crowded house, though not packed to the gills. The center orchestra section was densely filled (if not to capacity) and there were a fair number of folks in either of the side orchestra sections as well. We got there very early and the place was empty (only one other couple was seated) but the theater filled up rapidly as we approached 8 o’clock (showtime was 8:15 PM). I didn’t get a good look at the rear “balcony” just before the show started, but I imagine it was pretty full as well, judging from seeing the many folks who remained through the very end of the credits as they exited down the stairs.

The curtain was closed upon entering the auditorium, with none of the usual commercial slide presentations. When it opened, we were subjected to quite a number of filmed commercials – but as someone stated previously, I’ll put up with these if they subsidize the theater’s existence. The print itself was in pretty good shape, but I wouldn’t call it pristine. There were noticeable scratches and signs of wear and tear during the Overture and there were stretches where the print was a bit muddy-looking, particularly early on. Most noticeably, the beginning of the dance at the gym sequence looked very murky and faded, although once Tony showed up, the image improved noticeably. I also remember thinking how some of the skin tones (particularly the dark makeup jobs on Bernardo and The Sharks) would vary in hue, seemingly from reel to reel. However, the quality definitely got better as the film progressed and the last 1/3 of the movie in particular looked razor sharp and pretty incredible.

All of the sound seemed to be coming from the speakers behind the screen – I didn’t really pick up on any stereo effect at all. And some of the soundtrack – while good and loud – sounded a bit tinny or brash. Too bad we couldn’t get a print with surround tracks.

The movie was very well received, with the audience breaking out into applause after the Overture and many of the numbers throughout. There was even a round of applause to welcome Rita Moreno’s first screen appearance as well as some “curtain call” applause during the credits (one person started clapping at the “Panavision 70” credit, which I found amusing â€" and quite understandable!) In fairness, there were also certain aspects of the film that met with titters from the audience, mostly with respect to the miscast Richard Beymer’s performance as Tony. His “Maria” number was met enthusiastically, but much of his action during the balcony sequence evoked snickers.

The powerful final sequence of the movie was quite effective, however, with sterling work from ALL hands. You could hear a pin drop as Tony and Maria see each other for the last time in the playground and run towards each other, only to have Tony meet with a bullet from Chino’s gun. And during Maria’s meltdown and angry outburst over Tony’s body, any snickering heard previously had been replaced with the sniffling sounds of a captivated audience moved to tears.

A wonderful evening at the movies, despite my own minor reservations over the quality of the print and lack of stereo surround sound. Believe me, I would be very happy if the print of “Ben-Hur” is as good as this, but I’m still hoping for an even better quality presentation.

I snapped a few photos, but I a couple of them did not quite come out as I wanted. I plan on re-taking some of these over the weekend and I’ll post them thereafter, for anyone who is interested.

ErikH on February 15, 2006 at 5:48 am

Question to those who, unlike me, stayed until the end of the “MFL” screening. In the restored version of the film, there is a series of end credits listing the individuals behind the restoration (the accompanying music track is, I believe, the exit music from the original road show version). Were those end credits included on the Ziegfeld print? If not, then I wonder if the print shown at the Ziegfeld was the restored version.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 15, 2006 at 5:39 am

It was the 8:15 show last night (2/14). A very good choice for Valentine’s Day, except for all the tragedy at the end. I only wish there was another show after work today or tomorrow – I’d go again. If I were old enough to go to New York alone in 1961-62, I’d probably be going to see it at the Rivoli about once every two weeks.

Since it’s been so successful, maybe Clearview will bring it back to the Ziegfeld once a year?