Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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ErikH
ErikH on February 10, 2006 at 5:39 pm

I attended tonight’s MFL screening for about an hour before giving up. The 35MM print is in poor condition. Numerous scratches, faded colors and tinny sound. During one reel, the dialogue and music were accompanied by a considerable amount of audio interference that sounded like static. The rest of my group decided to stick it out, but they were also dismayed by the condition of the print. I noticed several other walkouts before I departed. Very disappointing, especially after seeing the restored 70MM print of MFL at the Ziegfeld in the 90s.

The film was preceded by commercials (no trailers) that were hard to see due to insufficient projection lighting. When I asked one of the ushers about the problem, I was told that the lighting problem would be resolved when the film started (it was).

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 10, 2006 at 12:34 pm

Ed, unless the projectionist did this before, for say one of the major re-releases in recent years, they may not even know.

Do you have an extra copy of the instructions? Bring it to the Ziegfeld. Write a nice, short, simple, legible, note as to the “good old times of movie presentations including overture music” (better to rely on implicit suggestion than telling them how to do their jobs) and give it to an usher in the auditorium or concession area. Ask him or her to please give it to the projectionist in the booth, that it might interest them. And, then, maybe, you will get your wish!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 10, 2006 at 9:05 am

The last deluxe edition DVD box of “West Side Story” contains a booklet that includes reproductions of the instructions to roadshow projectionists as to how the film’s overture was to be presented. I recall reading detailed specifications as to exactly when during that opening montage of colors the curtains were to be open and how far the house lights should be brought down with each change of color.

I wonder if the Ziegfeld projectionist will be following these instructions this week. I’m planning on attending Sunday’s matinee, so I’m hoping the predicted snow storm doesn’t upset my plans. If not, I’ll take in an evening showing during the week.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 10, 2006 at 8:49 am

Robert – If I remember correctly, MFL does not have an overture. Similar to West Side Story, the “overture” plays over images of the flowers for a few moments before the titles start.

RobertR
RobertR on February 10, 2006 at 8:04 am

I am going tonight to see “My Fair Lady”. Do the 35mm prints have the walk in music and intermission?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 9, 2006 at 9:15 am

As to the above wonderful list of 1990’s movies (thanks!) there are many blockbusters and many Oscar winners. I attended some, including the East Coast exclusive of The Thin Red Line which filled the house. Sure, there may be some clunkers, but many great movies. Of course, the best classics of all time are even better, but that doesn’t diminish the experience of enjoying the movies they showed.

As to the Godfathers, they are Paramount releases, and I was under impression that Paramount favored the Astor Plaza.

Jane Eyre, which I saw there, I recall being a moveover from the Paris when it closed for awhile. The Paris ceased being a Pathe operation, then later ceased being a Loews aka Sony house.

The Ziegfeld thrived the best as an exclusive venue for New York runs. It survived with movies opening elsewhere until the two 42nd Street megaplexes. Now it is a wander they get any first runs, but I’m glad they do. Problem is people get in the habit of going to 42nd Street, where the blockbusters start every half hour.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 9, 2006 at 8:25 am

I am a big Fellini fan but I have to say I think Charity is better(no bricks ok?) The Pompei club and the whole movie star bit is so wonderful in the Fosse, Oscar in the Fellini is just too hateful and I have little tolerance for Giulietta and her cute waif routine(now Giulietta in Fred and Ginger and Spirits for me is a pretty wonderful actress.)
The revival had a young woman as Charity which makes no sense and then they replace Bob Fosse with Wayne Cilento.
They worked very hard to have a failure.
Anyway off to the Ziegfeld for multiple viewings of WSS next week.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 9, 2006 at 6:30 am

Vincent… I never saw “Half a Sixpence” and I would say that “Sweet Charity” was definitely one of the better musicals of the late ‘60’s – a time when the big budget Hollywood musical started to wane – but I’d much rather see the original “Nights of Cabiria” by Fellini. But, overall, if I were to select a run of lavish musicals for a retrospective at the Ziegfeld, I don’t think I’d start with any of the films on Forrest136’s list! I don’t think “not as bad” is a good enough endorsement to make a case for booking (and then filling) a big 1,131-seat theater. What might be a better idea – although quite hard on the arse – would be to pair one of these underdogs with a more widely accepted classic on a single admission. Pair up “Wagon” behind, say, “Oklahoma!” and you might fill enough seats to make it worthwhile. “Sweet Charity” may be good enough to top a double bill, but the recent revival didn’t fare so well on Broadway. “Oliver!” would be a good choice to represent the late '60’s as would “Funny Girl.”

Clive Barnes has completely gone in the other direction, by the way – his critical teeth having been dulled by years of alcohol abuse. He just seems interested in seeing his name quoted on marquees and in newspaper ads these days, so he more often than not seems daffily delighted by every bit of nonsense they wheel him out to review. One Times critic that I do miss is the very even handed Janet Maslin, who wrote intelligently and thoughtfully about every film she ever reviewed, but never seemed to look down her nose at even the most formulaic of cinematic fodder. She wasn’t above giving a positive review of a Cheech and Chong film, for instance, which I would find shocking were it to appear in the Times today. I didn’t always agree with her opinions, but she always seemed to give a fair an honest appraisal – without affectation – no matter how common or complex the film in question was.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 9, 2006 at 5:23 am

Ed Sweet Charity is sensational and I saw Paint Your Wagon at the Warner Cinerama in 70mm in the late 70’s and I loved. Some of them properly present are not as bad as the critics made them out to be. Remember when they opened cinema critics had to prove how hip they were and how old-fashioned the roadshow concept seemed to them. I thought they were and continue to think they were pretentious idiots. One of their crew(albeit on Broadway) is still around and thriving-Clive Barnes.
You should read Ethan Morden’s comments in his book One Last Kiss on Renata Adler’s New York Times review of Half a Sixpence at the Criterion. He skewers the mind set of the New York intellectuals of the period in just a few words.

RobertR
RobertR on February 9, 2006 at 2:30 am

Does anyone know how the weekday attendance has been?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 9, 2006 at 12:32 am

Saps has a good point. In going down the list, my choices for the best movies to play the Ziegfeld in the 90’s are “Spartacus”, “My Fair Lady”, “Vertigo” and the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 8, 2006 at 7:04 pm

That’s some doggish lineup at the Ziegfeld in the 90’s. The wind must have been whistling across the empty seats. It’s a wonder it’s still open.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 8, 2006 at 4:21 pm

Thanks Al… I thought I saw “The Godfather, Part III” here on Christmas Day, 1990… but I was obviously mistaken. It must have been at the Loew’s Astor Plaza. I definitely saw “City Slickers”, “Interview with the Vampire”, “The Empire Strikes Back” (which was the special edition with re-vamped SFX) and “The Thin Red Line” here. Can’t be positive about anything else, but it is possible that this pretty much wraps it up for me and the Ziegfeld in the ‘90’s. I do believe I saw more films over at the Astor Plaza over the years than I did at the Ziegfeld, though it wasn’t until seeing this list that it occured to me. Al… I’d love to see an Astor Plaza list for the '70’s, '80’s and '90’s if you have it in you one of these days.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2006 at 3:35 pm

“Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?” had an intermission at the Park Lane Theater in Palisades Park, NJ in 1969. It was definitely put in to increase concession sales like Vito said – the movie only ran 1 hour and 41 minutes.

And thanks again Al, for the 90’s at the Ziegfeld.

SteveJKo
SteveJKo on February 8, 2006 at 2:31 pm

I saw “Towering Inferno” twice in it’s original theatrical run. The first showing had no intermission, but the second screening had an intermission as poorly placed as many have already mentioned here. The last film I saw with a proper intermission was the original 242 minute version of “Hamlet” at the Paris.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 8, 2006 at 12:27 pm

The Ziegfeld in the 90’s…
02/23/90 MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON
04/27/90 CHATTAHOOCHEE
05/18/90 BIRD ON A WIRE
06/29/90 DAYS OF THUNDER
08/10/90 FLATLINERS
09/14/90 POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
10/19/90 WHITE PALACE
11/23/90 HOME ALONE
12/07/90 EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
02/08/91 SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
03/01/91 THE DOORS
04/26/91 SPARTACUS
05/31/91 BACKDRAFT
06/21/91 DYING YOUNG
07/12/91 CITY SLICKERS
08/09/91 PURE LUCK
08/30/91 THE COMMITMENTS
11/22/91 FOR THE BOYS
12/27/91 THE PRINCE OF TIDES
01/31/92 SHINING THROUGH
02/21/92 RADIO FLYER
03/06/92 THE LAWNMOWER MAN
04/03/92 THUNDERHEART
04/17/92 CITY OF JOY
05/22/92 FAR AND AWAY
07/03/92 A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
07/31/92 DEATH BECOMES HER
09/25/92 MR. SATURDAY NIGHT
12/25/92 HOFFA
02/05/93 A FEW GOOD MEN
02/12/93 GROUNDHOG DAY
03/19/93 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
04/30/93 BENNY & JOON
05/14/93 LOST IN YONKERS
06/11/93 JURRASIC PARK
09/17/93 THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
11/12/93 CARLITO’S WAY
12/31/93 HEAVEN & EARTH
02/04/94 I’LL DO ANYTHING
03/25/94 THE PAPER
05/06/94 THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT III
06/17/94 WOLF
07/15/94 TRUE LIES
09/23/94 MY FAIR LADY
09/30/94 THE RIVER WILD
11/11/94 INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
01/13/95 LEGENDS OF THE FALL
03/24/95 THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
04/07/95 ROB ROY
05/19/95 BRAVEHEART
06/30/95 APOLLO 13
10/06/95 STRANGE DAYS
11/10/95 TO DIE FOR
11/17/95 CASINO
01/05/96 12 MONKEYS
02/16/96 CITY HALL
03/22/96 DIABOLIQUE
04/12/96 FEAR
05/17/96 JANE EYRE
05/31/96 DRAGONHEART
06/14/96 MOLL FLANDERS
07/05/96 INDEPENDENCE DAY
09/13/96 closed for remodelling
10/04/96 VERTIGO
11/15/96 THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES
12/20/96 GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI
01/24/97 STAR WARS
02/21/97 THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
03/14/97 RETURN OF THE JEDI
04/25/97 VOLCANO
05/23/97 THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK
08/15/97 COP LAND
09/26/97 THE PEACEMAKER
10/31/97 RED CORNER
11/14/97 ANASTASIA
12/26/97 THE POSTMAN
01/16/98 HARD RAIN
01/30/98 GREAT EXPECTATIONS
03/20/98 PRIMARY COLORS
05/15/98 BULWORTH
06/19/98 THE X FILES
07/24/98 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
09/18/98 ONE TRUE THING
10/02/98 WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
10/23/98 PLEASANTVILLE
11/13/98 MEET JOE BLACK
12/25/98 THE THIN RED LINE
03/19/99 RAVENOUS
03/26/99 SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
04/23/99 PUSHING TIN
05/21/99 THE PHANTOM MENACE
09/24/99 JAKOB THE LIAR
10/15/99 THE STORY OF US
11/26/99 END OF DAYS
12/17/99 ANNA AND THE KING

Vito
Vito on February 8, 2006 at 12:27 pm

Sounds to me as if theatres runing “Towering Inferno” with an intermission, simply took the easy way out and spliced an intermission snipe at the end of one of the reels. When we did it, we selected a proper spot which in many cases meant cutting into the middle of a reel. Keep in mind many non roadshow movies did not need an intermission, it may have just been just put there to increase concession sales.

BobT
BobT on February 8, 2006 at 11:55 am

Well Bill, I remember that the first time it was so unexpected. It was like huh? Although audiences were familiar with intermissions at The Syosset as well as The Zeig. It didn’t seem to be the kind of film that would need one. It seemed really rough too, with the explosion and then wham the lights were on. Funny I just watched it a few months ago letterboxed on TCM and I still remember exactly where they cut it. Last time I saw it theatrically at the Deer Park Theatre months after and there was no intermission at all.(told ya I saw it alot!).

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2006 at 11:26 am

BobT: Did a big groan go up from the audience when that “Towering Inferno” intermission came on? That was worse than a network TV commercial break.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 8, 2006 at 11:15 am

Forrest136… are you poking some fun at us here? Those 5 titles don’t exactly represent the cream of the roadshow musical crop! They might have their unique charms, I suppose (Julie Andrews' performance, Bob Fosse’s choreography, Astaire’s graceful presence) and one or two of them might have been unfairly maligned upon their initial release. Are you saying we give them another chance some 37 or 38 years later? Ha ha… Where’s “Paint Your Wagon” or “Hello Dolly” on the list? “Song of Norway” anyone? How about the attempted post-modern take on Cole Porter sophistication “At Long Last Love” that pretty much sank Peter Bogdonavich’s reputation?

BobT
BobT on February 8, 2006 at 10:55 am

Saw “The Towering Inferno” in it’s original premiere engagement at the UA Syosset and more than once to the aggravation of my Mother. The intermission at Syosset came after Jennifer Jones, the kids and Paul Newman finally get to the ballroom floor and find the exit door was blocked by cement. As firemen blow the door, at the moment of the explosion, they had the intermission, with them running into the ballroom as the film began again. Since intermissions are as rare as 70MM today, I guess my last one will be “Funny Girl” right here at The Ziegfeld, a few summers ago when they played the restored print.

Vito
Vito on February 8, 2006 at 10:41 am

veyoung, I don’t know about Philadelphia, but it they had no intermission, in the pre platter days, then I would guess they had 4 projectors. Perhaps someone else knows

Forrest136
Forrest136 on February 8, 2006 at 9:51 am

I will list “STAR!”,“SWEET CHARITY”,“FINIANS RAINBOW”,“HALF A SIXPENCE” and “GOODBYE MR> CHIP”!All had intermissions!

Forrest136
Forrest136 on February 8, 2006 at 9:51 am

I will list “STAR!”,“SWEET CHARITY”,“FINIANS RAINBOW”,“HALF A SIXPENCE” and “GOODBYE MR> CHIP”!