Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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JonTMarin
JonTMarin on July 23, 2004 at 10:59 pm

Great place. I worked here in the early 90’s. It had to be 1990 when Prince’s “Graffiti Bridge” premiered. It is my most memorable moment. Prince is my favorite singer and the manager knew this. So she let me go into the theater and give him a Coke. When I walked up to him I boasted about how big of a fan I was. He just giggled and thanked me for the Coke. I came back a lot of times to see “Planet of the Apes”, all the Star Wars movies and many more films. I love this place.

Camden
Camden on July 17, 2004 at 5:05 pm

The interior of the Ziegfeld and its lobby are featured in the last scenes of Woody Allen’s “Celebrity” back in ‘98, one of the most underrated movies I can think of. (Allen’s masterpieces weren’t the comparatively tame “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan” back in '77 and '79, they were the incendiary “Deconsructing Harry” and “Celebrity” twenty years later.) Oddly, though, the movie didn’t run at the Ziegfeld (which would have been a truly bizarre experience); the Brad Pitt flop “Meet Joe Black” ran there at the time instead.

Camden

umbaba
umbaba on July 17, 2004 at 6:19 am

JTH…it is a damn shame too. There is nothing like a 70MM presentation, that will even make bad movies a fine movie memoriy. I saw Staying Alive in 70MM , it was great. It seems that they are relying on this Digital Projection as the new thing and I must tell you I am unimpressed. I saw Attack of the Clones (at the Ziegfeld) in Digital Projection and I was not awed at all. Give me a good 35MM print anyday. In fact the 35MM I saw of Attack of Clones was much better than the digital.

I saw Lawrence of Arabia in 2002 at Ziegfeld in 70MM. AWESOME. Little did I realize that that would be the last one. Movies, as well as presentations are consistently going downhill, thanks to the youth oriented, quick buck making garbage of today.

JHendrickson
JHendrickson on July 16, 2004 at 4:12 pm

70mm is a dead issue. Clearview will never spend the $$$ necessary to do it right. Trust me- the Dolan’s don’t give a damn and never will.

umbaba
umbaba on July 11, 2004 at 7:14 am

In remembrance of Marlon Brando, I can’t help but remember 8/15/79, the premiere of “Apocalypse Now”. Reserved seats were $5.00. I remember the anticipation through the whole film, waiting for Brando to come o, you could feel it in the audience.

In the opening scene, I actually thought there might be a band with a tamboreen (spelling?) behind the screen and that there might be a helicopter in the theater. I had never seen or heard anything like it, all in 70MM 6-track stereo. I can’t believe it was 25 years ago, it seems like yesterday. It’s too bad the Ziegfeld doesn’t show 70MM flims anymore. It was grand theater presentation.

Harold Warshavsky
Harold Warshavsky on July 10, 2004 at 5:51 pm

If I remember correctly, when the theatre opened in 1969 weekend evening performances were supposed to be attended with men with sports coats and ties only and women in dresses, but I think this practice only lasted a week or two.

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on June 26, 2004 at 10:30 am

Hi Rhett and fellow readers of Cinema Treasures:

We are aiming for sometime in July or early August for the list to be finished and posted.

Manhattan is pretty well finished. Mike just came back from a short trip to NYC this week and filled in details for missing Long Island engagements (from 1955 to about 1974). He is scheduled to go back to the NYC and NJ next month and will fill in NJ engagements during that same time period. As you know, a lot of 70mm engagements weren’t advertised in the NY Times for NJ and Long Island until around 1974 with a re-issue of “Gone With The Wind.”

We hope you’ll enjoy this list when it’s published. I was going back on my notes and realized we actually started this project in 2002! There’s quite a bit of 70mm presentation that occurred in Manhattan, Long Island and Northern New Jersey. There will be pictures and ads in the publication, as well. Thanks!

umbaba
umbaba on June 26, 2004 at 5:37 am

Thanks Bill….BTW….how’s your NJ list of 70MM presentations coming?? when will it be available?

Thanks also to Porter.

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on June 25, 2004 at 6:22 pm

Here’s a list of 65mm film-to-tape transfers for Laser Disc/DVD:

2001: A Space Odyssey
Baraka
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Hallelujah Trail
Hello, Dolly!
Lawrence Of Arabia
Oklahoma!
The Sound Of Music
South Pacific
Spartacus
Star!
Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines
Tron
West Side Story

-courtesy of Mike Coate in Widescreen Review’s new “The Ultimate Widescreen DVD Movie Guide”

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on June 24, 2004 at 7:51 pm

Remember the days when presented in 70 mm and Dolby stereo actually meant something. I still remember seeing Indiana Jones and the temple of doom in 1984, what a thrill! I wish we could go back to those days of showmanship by movie theatres.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on June 24, 2004 at 7:42 pm

I have been following with great interest all the comments about 70mm film presentations. Being from Lancaster, PA I have never attended a film at the Ziegfeld. However, back in the good old days of movie going I did patronize the Loew’s Capitol, Loew’s State (prior to “piggybacking”), Criterion, Rivoli, Warner, DeMille Theatres on visits to NYC and the desire to see “70MM Roadshow presentations.” When NYC was not on the plans, there was always the center city Philadelphia Theatres – Boyd, Stanley, Fox, Randolph, Goldman, Midtown. Now all but the Boyd in Phila. and DeMille in NYC are history. Count me in as a possible attendee of 70MM films at the Ziegfeld. I would love to sit in a theatre, actually see the curtains open as the lights dim, and then see a “giant screen presentation.” If anyone gets to the Central Penna. area, I would strongly suggest you check out the Allen Theatre in Annville, Pa. It was a small town run down theatre that a theatre lover restored. It actually has a curtain that “hides” the screen. And, although, it may not be a 70MM size screen, it is certainly the largest in the area that we have available. Anyway, bring back the old days when movie going meant more than sitting in a shoebox. The show started at the box office!

porterfaulkner
porterfaulkner on June 24, 2004 at 3:06 pm

Rhett:

You ask about Laserdisc remasters from 70mm prints.

STAR!, the 1994 pressing of SOUTH PACIFIC and OKLAHOMA, 1991 pressing of WEST SIDE STORY, Box set of CLEOPATRA,SOUND of MUSIC,MY FAIR LADY were all from the 70mm masters. It is unclear whether MGM used the 70mm master of GOODBYE MR.CHIPS for the laserdisc.

Another two exceptionally high quailty discs were the Box set of THE KING AND I and the 1991 pressing of CAROUSEL both from the CinemaScope 55 masters.

umbaba
umbaba on June 24, 2004 at 1:39 pm

Joe Masher is the guy in here we need to seduce…Joe, do you need a new car??

I think it’s great someone affiliated with the Ziegfeld is in on this dialogue..it gives all us film lovers hope, especially that Joe is a member here. I think it’d be great to see a 70MM fest at Ziegfeld, especially since the Astor is going going…..

BTW…does anyone know if there are any DVD’s or Laserdiscs that were mastered from a 70MM print??

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on June 24, 2004 at 11:26 am

Bill I beleive the ‘71 reissue of Lawrence at the Rivoli was in 70mm but it was cut so badly to allow more frequent performances that the NY Times published a piece in its Arts and Leisure section detailing the mauling. Reading this kept me from going.

Joe Masher that’s great news. With a lot of publicity and increasing interest in Todd AO and 70mm you should get some sizeable crowds and you won’t have to share the films with anybody else like you have to with Terminal. But is there any way to get rid of the detritus now shown before the film. When you showed Lady, Spartucus and Lawrence years ago it was so classy.

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on June 24, 2004 at 9:52 am

ZIEGFELD THEATRE [1969- ]
54TH STREET
NEW YORK, NY
70mm 6-Channel Stereo [1969]
Marooned [1969]
Gone With The Wind (70mm) [1970]
The Bible … In The Beginning [1970]

The Sound of Music [1970]
Doctor Zhivago [1970]

Ryan’s Daughter [1970]
Cleopatra [1971] (186 mins.)
2001 a space odyssey (70mm) [1972]
This Is Cinerama (70mm) [1973]
Earthquake (Sensurround) [1974]

Rollerball [1975]
The Ten Commandments [1975]

Close Encounters of the Third Kind [1977]
Apocalypse Now [1979]
Quest For Fire [1982]
Gandhi [1982]
Brainstorm [1983]
Antarctica [1984]

A Passage To India [1984]

Lawrence of Arabia [1988]
**
The Abyss [1989]
Spartacus [1991]
My Fair Lady [1994]
Vertigo [1996]

Thanks Archives for the Ziegfeld titles in 70mm. I have some additional notes on some of the titles. I also have some additions.

*These titles were part of the “4 For The Ziegfeld” series.

**I don’t recall finding a “2001: A Space Odyssey” re-issue in 1972 in the NY Times, but I do have records of it playing in 1970, 1974, 1975 & 2001/2002. Do you have an opening date for the 1972 engagement?

***These titles were shown in 35mm. “Earthquake” seemed to have had 70mm engagements around the world, except for the U.S. “The Ten Commandments” did have some 70mm engagements, but not in NYC at that time, unless you have some info on that. Thanks.

****“Lawrence Of Arabia” was re-issued in 1971 at the [uA] Rivoli (though, a 70mm print is unconfirmed) and in 1989 in its restored version.

Some additional titles that played at The Ziegfeld in 70mm:

That’s Entertainment [1974]
The Jolson Story [1975]
That’s Entertainment, Part 2 [1976]
The Return Of A Man Called Horse [1976]
A Star Is Born [1976]
Tommy [1977/Re-issue]
Grease [1978]
The Muppet Movie [1979]
The Rose [1979]
Saturn 3 [1980/70mm presentation unconfirmed—Advertised February 10, 14, 15 & 17 only]
Fame [1980]
Can’t Stop The Music [1980]
Raise The Titanic [1980]
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind “Special Edition” [1981—originally opened at the New York Twin on August 8, 1980]
The Jazz Singer [1980]
Grease 2 [1982]
Raiders Of The Lost Ark [1982/Re-issue]
Pink Floyd The Wall [1982]
Yes, Georgio [1982]
Staying Alive [1983]

—through mid-1985

deleted user
[Deleted] on June 24, 2004 at 4:51 am

ZIEGFELD THEATRE [1969- ]
54TH STREET
NEW YORK, NY
70mm 6-Channel Stereo [1969]
Marooned [1969]
Gone With The Wind (70mm) [1970]
The Bible … In The Beginning [1970]
The Sound of Music [1970]
Doctor Zhivago [1970]
Ryan’s Daughter [1970]
Cleopatra [1971] (186 mins.)
2001 a space odyssey (70mm) [1972]
This Is Cinerama (70mm) [1973]
Earthquake (Sensurround) [1974]
Rollerball [1975]
The Ten Commandments [1975]
Close Encounters of the Third Kind [1977]
Apocalypse Now [1979]
Quest For Fire [1982]
Gandhi [1982]
Brainstorm [1983]
Antarctica [1984]
A Passage To India [1984]
Lawrence of Arabia [1988]
The Abyss [1989]
Spartacus [1991]
My Fair Lady [1994]
Vertigo [1996]

Vito
Vito on June 24, 2004 at 4:01 am

I honestly do not remember the number of seats the Plainview had. The orchestra had at least 800 and the balcony another 300 so perhaps 1100 in all.

joemasher
joemasher on June 23, 2004 at 6:44 pm

It’s entirely possible and something we’ve been talking about….for now it’s “The Terminal” followed next month by “I, Robot”.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on June 23, 2004 at 1:36 pm

Joe Masher what is the possibility of this?

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on June 23, 2004 at 12:56 pm

Thanks Vito for the information on the Plainview. Do you remember how many seats the theater had?

In regards to some 70mm films being “flat,” a number of films shot in the 35mm 1.85:1 aspect ratio were blown up to 70mm. Some include “Days Of Heaven,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Empire Of The Sun,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Stakeout,” “Adventures In Babysitting,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Batman,” and the list goes on. Tati’s “Play Time” was filmed in 65mm, but masked for 1.85:1 projection.

Many studios, but mostly directors I think, like to shoot safe for eventual television broadcast. This is a phenomenon that has occured for years. Directors like Sidney Pollack have shied away from shooting in widescreen because of their horror of seeing their beautiful compositions ruined on television. But with the long time practice of letterboxing available since the days of Laser Disc and now DVD, there’s no reason why some directors can’t choose widescreen again.

There are numerous reasons for the lack of shooting in 65mm for commercial films. There is a perceived notion that it’s more expensive and cumbersome than shooting in 35mm and now digital. Truth is in the scheme of a movie’s budget, shooting in 65mm isn’t that expensive. And considering that studios are paying for digital intermediates to improve picture quality on Super 35mm films, and that Warner Bros. spent a considerable amount on IMAX DMR prints of “Harry Potter 3,” the arguement against shooting in 65mm is quite ridiculous.

Yes Vincent, it would be great to see “My Fair Lady” and “The Sound Of Music” at the Ziegfeld for their anniversaries. In fact, how about a Todd-AO 50th Anniversary Festival? “The Sound Of Music,” “Hello, Dolly,” and “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines” have been restored by 20th Century Fox. Heck, I’d even see a 70mm print of “South Pacific.”

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on June 23, 2004 at 10:48 am

I know that a lot of film studios don’t want to do 70mm anymore becuase they said when it does to DVD or video or for TV they loose to much.

Mark_L
Mark_L on June 23, 2004 at 8:58 am

70mm does not necessarily mean full widescreen. All 70mm indicates is that the projected film is 70mm wide.

70mm presentations were not just for width. Some directors chose 70mm for better quality 6-channel sound. Coppola’s ONE FROM THE HEART was framed at 1.37 and it had at least one 70mm print.

STAR IS BORN, ALTERED STATES and ET were all 1.85 films.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on June 23, 2004 at 8:57 am

But those films were blow up which is simply a marketing tool. To have seen “true” 70mm at the Ziegfeld recently you would have had to have seen Lawrence and Lady.

The Ziegfeld should show Lady again for its 40th anniversary in the fall and Music in the spring in Todd AO for its birthday. And get Wise to come to New York to celebrate its world premiere in New York at the Rivoli 40 years ago.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on June 23, 2004 at 8:32 am

The first 70mm film I saw at the Ziegfeld was A Star Is Born in 1976. I rememebr being totally upset because WB masked off the film as if it was filmed as a flat.Other films were done the same way Altered States adn ET. The first true 70mm I saw at the Ziegfeld was The Muppet Movie. After that I saw Fame in 70mm. To me if a film is done in 70mm than it should be shown in widescreen not masked off than called 70mm. Anybody else have any other comments on this?

Vito
Vito on June 23, 2004 at 3:49 am

To Ken F: I too remember the Plainview, having worked there for a few years. unfortunatly it is gone now having been converted into office space. It was run by Century theatres, the best cicruit in it’s day. The booth had three Century JJ 35/70 projectors with Peerless corelight carbon arc lamps. Many 70mm roadshow engaements like “Ben Hur” were presented there. The last 70mm I believe was a re-issue of “sound Of Music”. Like all Century theatres, the first show of the day began with a showing of the National Anthum.