Ziegfeld Theatre

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

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JodarMovieFan on January 26, 2006 at 5:52 pm

The AFI Silver Spring (in MD) theater near me recently showed “My Fair Lady” in glorious 70mm just last week. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend it. With the high quality projection standards that they have there, I’m sure the showing was a decent one, so perhaps Clearview could secure that print for their classic movies festival.

William on January 26, 2006 at 2:26 pm

Many of the 35mm films that are in theatres today use digital technology to create the finished print from a digital intermediate. Its not that the film is being shown in digital, it’s being shown just like any other regular 35mm print.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 26, 2006 at 1:06 pm

I question whether digital technology is at a point where it can faithfully recreate the color saturation of a pristine vintage Technicolor print.

PeterApruzzese on January 26, 2006 at 12:44 pm

But as of right now, “digital” isn’t even close to 35mm quality. It’s certainly not an ideal archiving medium, either.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 26, 2006 at 12:10 pm

Won’t digital restore the experience without having to restore actual 70mm prints? It seems to make IMAX redundant as well, since it can blow the film up as much as you like without losing clarity and the sound is as good as your theatre system.

I think this is the reason why no one is too concerned.

VincentParisi on January 26, 2006 at 12:03 pm

I am completely baffled that somebody like Scorsese who as one of the most esteemed and powerful men in the film industry and who has a passionate interest in classic films and 70mm has shown no interest and done absolutely nothing to promote its proper presentation in the New York City area.

William on January 26, 2006 at 12:01 pm

As DavidM posted “We MUST do our best to promote and support this type of presentation.” Because this will give Clearview the testing grounds for future film series at this theatre or even maybe Radio City. The 35mm prints are only a start, because prints are much easier to get and ship. So that keeps their cost down from the start. Remember shipping many of those Roadshow 70MM type titles are anywhere from 10-14 reels long, the shipping to the theatre and later from back into storage will cost alot of money per print. And remember many of those titles may have somewhat new 35mm prints, they have been used many operators. And many of those 70MM titles are no longer available in that format. (Many have been junked for space)

Yes, the magstriping has to be done elsewhere because of EPA guidelines now. The good news is that 20th Century-Fox in the last few years has been restriking from 65mm negs new prints of many of their Roadshow films in 70MM DTS sound. So if this series has the support of many of you on this site, Clearview may find this could be an annual event during slow times of the year. And spend more money to get those red carpet Roadshow movies shown.

DavidM on January 26, 2006 at 11:31 am

I think it’s wonderful that Clearview is putting together this festival. We MUST do our best to promote and support this type of presentation. I know I’ll be there. Off topic, is it true that film labs are no longer capable of magnetic striping? Is that the final nail in the 70MM coffin?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 25, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Sorry for the typo… the word “the” does not belong in that last sentence.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 25, 2006 at 6:50 pm

I think the consensus here was that the likelihood of a 70mm presentation during this series was just about nil. However, Vincent only reported that he confirmed with Clearview that “My Fair Lady” would be a 35mm print. I’m with saps, here… While I’d be thrilled with a 70mm “Ben Hur” or “West Side Story,” all I really ask for are crisp and well cared for prints. Oh yes, and the more series like this one in the Ziegfeld’s future (“2001”, “Spartacus”, “The Wild Bunch” and “Apocalypse Now” all would be high on my wish list).

Mikeoaklandpark on January 25, 2006 at 10:54 am

Is there going to be any films shown in 70mm? It didn’t look like it from the ad.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 24, 2006 at 11:53 pm

Here’s a direct link to the film festival:

View link

I’ve seen all the features on the big screen, except Ben-Hur, which I have deliberately avoided on TV and video, just for an occasion like this. I hope it’s not a faded print. Beat-up I could stand, but faded would be hard to watch.

moviebluedog on January 24, 2006 at 9:36 pm

In regards to “My Fair Lady,” I mistakenly used the word “faded.” Let me just say that the print was in horrible shape all around.

I saw the 1994 re-issue at the Century Plaza and it was spectacular. The opening credits and the scene at the races were simply beautiful on the big screen in 70mm. I had caught bits and pieces of this film on television and never liked it. But seeing it properly made me really like this film.

The last time I saw MFL in 70mm was during a special screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. It was James C. Katz’s personal print and looked very good. I think it can help to have a professional projectionist, like Paul Rayton, who babies the print and makes sure the presentation is nearly perfect.

This Ziegfeld film festival has a very good line-up, despite the lack of 70mm prints. “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” had a brand-new 35mm print struck in 2001, and it was one of the best 35mm presentations I’ve ever seen. (This was an instance when Cal State Long Beach’s film dept. started getting better prints.) With any luck, the Ziegfeld will so happen to get this print (provided it’s still in great shape).


William on January 24, 2006 at 11:20 am

Yes, I know the Ziegfeld is two projector equipped. It’s up to the owner of the special print to where and how it is played. Because special collection prints can not been loaned out to platter type theatres. If the theatre makes a cut to mount it for platter use the theatre will have to pay a large fee for the damage. It may not be damage to some people but, it is damage to the prints owner.
Another problem in getting 70MM prints from say west coast storage, is the very large cost in shipping to and from the theatre.

Vito on January 23, 2006 at 1:31 pm

William, the Ziegfeld has reel to reel capabilities. They just choose to run platters most of the time. I will be happy to know the prints are going to be shown reel to reel and not mounted on a platter.

William on January 23, 2006 at 12:38 pm

One problem in getting special prints from museums and university collections is that the prints can only be played reel to reel. They state in their contracts that the film can’t be plattered, no matter what. Because of the state of the world of film projection, there are too many poorly operated venues.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 23, 2006 at 10:56 am

When is the Ziegeld supposed to show MFL? Not that I can get there to see it.
Also I posted this on the posting from Jan 10 on the DVD No More Joy which is a documentary about New Orleans theaters that closed. It is wonderful. I only wish we could get one on all the wonderful theaters Phila and NYC lost. It is well worth the $15.00 and is a benefit for hurricane Katrina victims. Any movie buff will really enjoy this even if you never have been to New Orelans.

VincentParisi on January 23, 2006 at 7:19 am

I don’t know if any of you noticed my post above but I already stated on the info given to me by Clearview that My Fair Lady will be in 35mm. When a theater known for its 70mm capability shows a film with which it had an enormous success for its 70mm presentation of said film it is especially frustrating that nobody went the extra yard to insure a print for this showing. Otherwise it is just like seeing it in any other theater and a great opportunity is lost. I know that the MOMA has a print and don’t museums always lend works of art to other museums? How often do they show this film?
Very, very, rarely. Besides as I noted above their screen is too small to do 70mm justice. Clearview could have advertised that the print was from the MOMA.
Well I’ll be there for Ben Hur and WSS, which I have never seen in 70mm as they have not been shown as such in Manhattan since their Palace and Rivoli engagments in the 60’s.

Vito on January 23, 2006 at 5:04 am

Thanks for that Peter, I was not aware of the Dolby SR prints of WSS
I suppose if all the movies are shown with either Dolby encoded SR, Type A, or DTS tracks, although I am not sure the Ziegfield has a DTS processor, it won’t be bad. In fact some of the older 70mm tracks I listened to a few years back did not sound all that good, lots of hiss, and a deficiency in high frequencey, which of course is the result of too many runs thru the mag reader. You are certainly correct about the 70mm prints and I am sure no new prints will be struck, with the execption of IMAX, 70mm seems dead. I thought there would be a resurgence of 70mm with DTS after “Vertigo” and “Hamlet”, there was talk of doing “Rear Window” but I don’t believe it ever happened. It was very promising for a while since the expence for both the studios and the theatre owners was not very high. The studios cost would be the large 70mm prints (3x the cost of 35mm) but no mag-stiping costs, which because it was done reel to reel would up the cost to 12x that of a 35mm print.All that would be required in theatres already equipt with DTS was a 70mm reader for the time code. Alas it never came to pass.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 23, 2006 at 4:25 am

At the very least, I plan on making it to the Ziegfeld to see “Ben Hur” and “West Side Story” – and might also take the kids in to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark” on the big screen. I’ve accepted that these will likely all be 35mm prints; I only continue to hope that they are pristine shape and are well cared for while in Clearview’s care.

PeterApruzzese on January 22, 2006 at 5:55 pm

The 35mm prints of West Side Story that MGM distributed until last year were on LPP stock from the mid-90s and had Dolby SR soundtracks. Now that Sony distributes West Side Story, they’ve struck even newer 35mm prints with Dolby SR and DTS digital tracks. I don’t know if they’ve struck any new 70mm prints but I doubt it. The My Fair Lady prints that currently circulate via the company Hollywood Classics are all 35mm Dolby (Type “A”, if I recall correctly) from the 1994 restoration. I don’t know that any of the 70mm prints from 1994 survive. Most likely that every film in the series will be shown on 35mm.

Vito on January 22, 2006 at 8:59 am

I was saddend to hear the “Backdraft” story. I was working in Hawaii
at the time but the news reached us there, a blemish on the great profession of projection to be sure.
I am hoping REndres will be able to report back to us regarding the format being used to show WSS, MFL and others. 70mm prints are getting harder and harder to find, I worry we may end up seeing them in 35mm possibly with mono sound. I played WSS twice in 70mm and several times in 35mm. None of the 35mm prints had magnetic tracks, they were always optical (momo) So I am not sure if any 35mm stereo prints exsist. In addition, I don’t recall hearing of any Dolby remastering as was the case with MFL. But whatever it turns out to be I agree we must support the showings, if they are a sucess perhaps we can begin to se more of that at the Ziegfield and
possiblly Radio City as well. Wouldn’t THAT be sweet.

umbaba on January 22, 2006 at 6:23 am

There has to be a reason the Ziefeld is doing this festival….at a low price no less…is it an experiment based on this room?? or is it a sign of a closing…I myself am really psyched…I hope the prints are good….I hope they put an effort into this…I wonder how successful “Chicago” and “Gladiator” and “Rings” will be as they might be just too recent..I’m looking forward to WSS, MFL, Ben….I’ll keep checking for reviews on the prints..

Movieguy718 on January 21, 2006 at 2:47 pm

I remember that screening of Backdraft!!
I also agree that the presentation at the Ziegfeld was iffy for a while there.
Since Clearview has had it though, it’s been quite good.
RENT rivaled some 70mm shows I’ve seen there.
EVERYBODY GO TO THE REVIVALS!!! If enough people support it, maybe we’ll luck out and get a series every year!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 21, 2006 at 1:54 pm

I worked at the Ziegfeld in the 80’s. The projectionist was a crack addict who put BACKDRAFT on in the wrong reel order at the World Premiere. The run of MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON was destroyed because the asshole never seemed to be able to run a complete show. Has the Ziegfield really survived local 306?

God help the Ziegfeld and may it survive tragically bad history of projectionists!