Loews Festival Theatre

6 W. 57th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 26 - 50 of 56 comments

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 30, 2006 at 6:41 am

This theatre has received a real beating in the posts here and as I recall, they are not undeserved.

…but no one has mentioned that it did open with Fellini’s 8 ½, first-run. How many theatres can lay claim to that?

Astyanax on November 29, 2005 at 3:29 pm

Yes Ed, the Festival had a flat, non descript marquee as did several others on West 57th St. The changing banners did have eye-appeal.

DamienB on November 28, 2005 at 2:07 pm

What I remember most about the Festival was that there was a row of potted (presumably fake) flowers at the bottom of the screen. My first time here was to see “I Never Sang For My Father” in 1970. Although this is apparently not a fondly-remembered theatre, the Festival was an important venue for art films at the time (Visconti’s “The Damned” was the Christmas 1969 attraction).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 8, 2005 at 10:12 am

I’m almost positive I saw “The Complete Beatles” here in 1983, but as I posted on the DGA Theater site (former 57th Street Playhouse), I get the two theaters confused in my memories. There was also a very graphic Canadian produced documentary on the porno industry entitled “Not a Love Story” that was released in 1981 or so that I remember seeing either here or at the 57th or maybe even the Plaza on 58th? (I’m now even thinking it may have been the Paris Theater or the Cinema III which was located below the Plaza Hotel). Can anyone verify the midtown bookings for this film?

Did this theater have a flat marquee almost flush with the facade? I seem to recall a blue banner with the theater’s name flying from a flagpole on the 2nd or 3rd floor above the entrance, but, again, I might be thinking of the 57th Street Playhouse.

RobertR on October 23, 2005 at 8:02 am

Seems “Thats Entertainment” moved here when “Earthquake” came into the Ziegfeld
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RobertR on October 17, 2005 at 1:53 pm

In 1982 the Festival was playing the acclaimed “Atlantic City”.
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Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 25, 2005 at 6:36 am

Thanks for the ad, Robert. I never knew that “Die! Die! My Darling” was in Stabbing Color. I love the ‘60’s.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 25, 2005 at 5:03 am

Robert that was a great newspaper ad. It looks like the Festival was not a Walter Reade theater at that time. If you look under the ad for Marriage Italian Style it listed the Reade theaters and the Festival nor the New Torker were not part of the chain. I worked there from the late 80’s until 82 on and off for Joe Torress when they needed extra help. I think when Cineplex Odeon took over, they closed the Festival, but than when Loews merged they briefly reopened it. We had a lot of great movies there when I worked there. We ran Airplane simotaniously with the Coronet. I heard Valley Of The Dolls played there for 9 months in 1967 along with the Criterion.

CelluloidHero2 on July 25, 2005 at 2:53 am

Gerald – I agree with your description of Night Games. Ingrid Thulin was a wonderful actress and appeared in many interesting foreign films, including Visconti’s The Dammned, Resnais' La Guerre est finie and of course the Bergman films.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 20, 2005 at 10:25 am

Yes, I saw Night Games there in January of 1967. Starring Ingrid Thulin and directed by Mai Zetterling, the Swedish movie is generally described as a strange, moody film. Which it certainly is.

CelluloidHero2 on July 20, 2005 at 10:02 am

Other films that played a the Festival include Bride Wore Black, The Fox,, Pocket Money and Night Games.

moviesmovies on July 14, 2005 at 6:55 am

Saw ‘Day For Night’ here.

RobertR on July 10, 2005 at 2:16 pm

It’s small but there is an ad here for “Marriage Italian Style” at the Festival
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dave-bronx™ on July 10, 2005 at 7:01 am

No, when I handed the keys to Loews the Festival had 2 Century 35mm machines, using 6000' reels no platter, and no automation.

Butch on July 10, 2005 at 5:52 am

Absolutely not, Michael. Barely had 35mm!

Coate on July 10, 2005 at 5:42 am

Was The Festival ever equipped for 70mm projection?

RobertR on June 15, 2005 at 3:02 pm

Christmas of 1964 the Festival had a revival of “West Side Story” and urged filmgoers to “See it again for the holidays”.

dave-bronx™ on April 13, 2005 at 12:08 pm

Between the time that Reade closed the Festival and City Cinemas re-opened it, it was being used by Magno Sound and Video as a screening room on a month-to-month sublease. The lease-holder and the property owner were trying to find an upscale retail tenant for the space. In 1987 fledgling City Cinemas was then trying to increase their number of screens to gain advantage with the distributors, and partnered with Meyer Ackerman and Magno to re-open it to the public. We didn’t spend a lot on remodeling, since we might have to leave on 30 days notice. We just freshened it up with paint, minor repairs and a good cleaning. In 1991 the landlord, Sheldon Solow, who also owns the 9 West building across the street and also 4 W. 58 St (the Paris), did not renew Pathe Cinema’s lease on the Paris Theatre, instead partnering with Loew’s to operate it. The lease at the Festival, being month-to-month, was terminated, and it also became part of the deal with Loew’s. Later, Solow and Loew’s had a falling out, Loew’s got the boot and Solow took over operation of the Paris and closed and demolished the interior of the Festival to make it more attractive to a retail tenant.

hardbop on April 13, 2005 at 10:55 am

Actually, I think the Festival was open until the mid 1990s, unless I’m confusing my 57th Street theatres. My notes say I caught “Romeo Is Bleeding” and “Dreamlover” here in 1994.

I never went to The Festival all that often. I was always aware of it, but even the fare didn’t appeal to me or it was duplicated elsewhere, closer to home.

I think this one was the first of the 57th Street Theatres to close in the spate of closings in the 1990’s and first decade of this century when we lost the Angelika 57, the 57th Street Playhouse (for commercial fare anyway) and the Carnegie Hall Cinemas (although the entrance was on Seventh Avenue) and now the Sutton.

br91975 on November 28, 2004 at 7:26 pm

Loews also operated the Festival for a time. The Avco Embassy East (later the since-demolished Manhattan Twin), meanwhile, was actually located on 59th, between 2nd and 3rd.

Astyanax on November 28, 2004 at 10:45 am

Having started out as an outlet for Joseph E. Levine as stated above it was part of his mini-chain which included the Lincoln Art further west on 57th St., and the fairly dreadful AvcoEmbassy East, on 58th St. It passed on to the Walter Reade chain, and came under the City Cinemas banner before it closed.

margot on September 19, 2004 at 3:21 pm

People in that Club Monaco are usually pretty nice, and some of them know about the space’s previous usage. I live down the street and have discussed it with them.


Butch on August 22, 2004 at 10:34 am

In it’s day the Festival was one of the worst places to see a film,there were no such places as the Quad or the Film Forum or the Angelika at that time.
Not only was the floor flat, but the Austrian drapery LOWERED to beneath the small screen accompanied by a loud grinding noise when the film began. Remember that?

dave-bronx™ on August 22, 2004 at 12:19 am

The floor in the Festival was flat – the back 3 or four rows were built up only slightly, like 2 or 3 inches max. It was an adapted space. Before it was the theatre, the entire building had been Milgrim Dept. Store. The only major structural work done for the theatre was removal of the columns from the middle of the auditorium.

barrywerks on August 21, 2004 at 11:38 pm

I remember the floor sloping up towards the screen at the Festival rather than down towards the screen as in most theatres. Do I remember this correctly?