Theatre 80 St. Marks

80 St. Marks Place,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 51 - 67 of 67 comments

DamienB
DamienB on November 28, 2005 at 9:51 pm

When Theatre 80 first opened as a revival house in the early 70s, it showed only musicals (its newspaper ads featured a drawing of a chrous line and the words: “The Movie Musical”). I don’t recall exactly when Howard Otway expeanded his repretoire, but I do remember seeing Hedy Lamarr in “Ecstacy” here in ‘74 or '75.

When Theatre 80 was a legit house in the 60s, the musical “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” had a very long run here.

I believe these days it is the home of the Pearl Theatre Company.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on November 9, 2005 at 7:46 pm

That double-feature showing would shown the films converted to the anaglyph (red & blue glasses) format in 16mm rather than the original 35mm polarized dual-strip projection format. That’s why the rear projection worked with them (as well as anaglyph can work, which is barely acceptable).

jbels
jbels on November 9, 2005 at 6:02 pm

There was a double feature of It Came from Outer Space and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which was in 3-D. I am amazed that the three-D was able to work in rear projection, but as I recall, it did.

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on June 15, 2005 at 10:35 pm

forgive the double entry- aol was cracking out on me (site not found…blah blah)

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on June 15, 2005 at 10:30 pm

I first went to this theatre in 1992- I seen a billing of Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy for like $8 dollars- maybe even cheaper as I was a High School student in my junior year. I also seen a double billing of Five Easy Pieces and The Last Detail around then also.

In my senior year of high school my English teacher Bobby Glynn, assigned us Chauncer’s Canterbury Tales…there was a showing of
the filmed version of Canterbury Tales with Bonnacio’s (sp?) Decammeron Nights..that was in 93. That was awesome.

The screen was a squared 1:44:1 Full Frame- (as Kubrick would say) and I believe there was rear projection- because I used to sit kind of close and never noticed my shadow on the screen- no handpuppet action there.

I recall the upcoming features were always printed on colored legal lettersized paper (8.5x14)..each month was a different color…I recall Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Green and White.

And yes Hardbop, the King verdict was announced on a friday.

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on June 15, 2005 at 10:29 pm

I first went to this theatre in 1992- I seen a billing of Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy for like $8 dollars- maybe even cheaper as I was a High School student in my junior year. I also seen a double billing of Five Easy Pieces and The Last Detail around then also.

In my senior year of high school my English teacher Bobby Glynn, assigned us Chauncer’s Canterbury Tales…there was a showing of
the filmed version of Canterbury Tales with Bonnacio’s (sp?) Decammeron Nights..that was in 93. That was awesome.

The screen was a squared 1:44:1 Full Frame- (as Kubrick would say) and I believe there was rear projection- because I used to sit kind of close and never noticed my shadow on the screen- no handpuppet action there.

I recall the upcoming features were always printed on colored legal lettersized paper (8.5x14)..each month was a different color…I recall Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Green and White.

And yes Hardbop, the King verdict was announced on a friday.

hardbop
hardbop on April 20, 2005 at 8:29 pm

One other memory I have of this place was seeing a late afternoon/early evening screening of “The Men” here the night the Rodney King verdict was announced. What a day that was. There was a demonstration in NYC that terminated in the East Village. Tower, on Broadway in the Village, had its windows broken. Many businesses closed early, boarding up its windows and people bailed out from work early. It was a Friday I believe.

hardbop
hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 7:37 pm

Is there a listing for the St. Mark’s Cinema, which was on northwest corner of St. Mark’s Place & Second Avenue. I assume it is listed under another name. I remember going to this theatre in the early to mid 80s. It closed and became a Gap Store. The opening of a Gap store in the East Village kind of announced that the funky East Village had either arrived as a neighborhood or declined depending on your viewpoint.

I think the St. Mark’s Cinema was a “moveover” theatre and you’d get to see double-bills for a discount price. They also had midnight screenings I believe.

Benjamin
Benjamin on January 28, 2005 at 8:40 pm

P.S. — Some relatively minor quibbles about the description posted at the top of this listing. I would consider the location of this theater to be the “East Village” or the “Lower East Side” — not Greenwich Village. (A personal note: perhaps one reason I didn’t go to this theater more often — viewing issues aside — was that it always seemed like a really long haul from where I lived in Greenwich Village.)

I wouldn’t consider it to be one of the city’s oldest revival houses. In fact, I think of it as one of the “last” of the City’s revival houses. I think Mr. Otway started in up in the early or mid-1970s. At that time there were plenty of (much?) older revival houses (Thalia, Elgin [haven’t noticed a listing for it here yet], New Yorker[?], Regency [?], — even one in Washington Heights!) that eventually closed, I believe, before Theatre 80 St. Marks. Don’t really think any appreciable percentage of the true “revival” theaters opened after Theatre 80 did. (Although places like Film Forum and the Angelika Center, and others, may also show / have shown revival type films as part of their programming.)


Although what follows is not about really about Theatre 80 St. Marks, and I hate to clutter up it’s page with questions about other cinemas, I’m not sure where else to put these comments/questions.

Is there a page on this site where one can ask about cinemas that don’t already have a page (or cinemas that one might have a hard time remembering the proper name of)?

Reading about Theatre 80 St. Marks makes me think of a few other Manhattan cinemas for which I can’t find pages and/or don’t know the proper names for:

Thousand Eyes Cinema (W. 43rd? St., between Ninth and Tenth Ave.) — A magical experience: went there in the early 70s on a snowy Christmas eve. It was located in a large “brownstone” (rowhouse) and had, I believe more than one screening room. All the screening rooms together had a seating capacity of 500 — hence the name Thousand Eyes Cinema.

It was a very “artsy” place with really obscure cinema treasures that were really beyond me and my friends.

The evening we went, my two friends and I were almost the only people there. Saw a double bill of Douglas(?) Sirk, light drawing-room type comedies. Don’t recall seeing his films before. He seemed to specialize in very WEIRD set decoration — his films LOOKED like they were taking place on stage sets on a sound stage (which of course they were).

The Heights (?) (In Washington Heights near the GW Bridge) — After being a very, very early (1913?) neighborhood cinema, so it seems to me, it became an art / revival house (before becoming a porno theater). During it’s art house/revival phase, I think they actually had printed flyers that listed the films that were being shown for the next few months, something I associated with the “downtown” revival houses like the New Yorker (?) and the Thalia.

The Elgin (Eighth Ave. in the high teens, now the Joyce Dance Theater). Surprised that, the last time I looked, I don’t recall seeing a listing for it here. It seemed to me to be a “biggie” on the revival house scene in the early 1970s. Great, funky lounge — with barber chairs, etc. — in the downstairs lounge. (Saw the classic revival house double bill, Citizen Kane and the Lady Vanishes, here.)

The Charles (Ave. B) — I’m not sure that this was a true revial house, although it might have been. It was a good place to catch up with non-current movies at a cheap price and on a double bill.

The theater on Second Ave., just north of Eighth St. I saw “Turning Point” and “All That Jazz” here on a double bill. May also have seen “Sleuth” here months, or years, after its initial run.

Benjamin
Benjamin on January 28, 2005 at 8:02 pm

As much as I liked the programming and the idea of the theater, I have to agree that Theatre 80 St. Marks is probably the very worst movie theater I’ve ever been to — and not only because it seems to me that rear projection is a very bad way to experience a movie. (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was terrible — the image seemed all washed out.)

The other problem with Theatre 80 St. Marks in my opinion is that the “auditorium” itself (which appears to be in a very long, narrow “brownstone” or rowhouse) has a very unorthodox, uncomfortable set-up. Rather than using the “logical” seating arrangement for such a space (lots of short rows facing towards the rear of the house), they decided to use a very unconventional one (a few very long rows that face the side of the house) apparently in order to allow them to place the rear projection system in the adjoining rowhouse to the east.

In addition the few, very long rows of seats were steeply banked stadium style, but very close to the screen.

The result was that in the whole theater, there were only maybe four seats where you weren’t seeing a very washed out image on the screen from some very weird angle.

Plus, I think the few times I was there (in the mid-1970s) some of the best positioned seats were broken.

All that negative stuff being said, I was happy to see the theater succeed as long as it did. It was a really charming idea — in the abstract!

(I loved the idea of a miniscule Grauman’s Chinese Theater forecourt in front of the theater. By the way, I think at one point Theatre 80 St. Marks got into trouble with the City because the concrete blocks with the footprints, etc. on them were considered to be a pedestrian hazard.)

RobertR
RobertR on December 23, 2004 at 5:16 pm

skeeelz
I agree 100% this was a true New York institution, I had many happy times here seeing double and triple features. I would not want to see a wide screen stereo epic here, but all the old classics played well here since they were filmed in the old academy ratio. Plus the brownies and coffee and people talking to each other in the lobby between features. Sadly these days are gone forever, at least in NY.

skeeelz
skeeelz on December 23, 2004 at 4:37 pm

A dump! Wow. I couldn’t have a more different opinion of this amazing place. It was, without a doubt, the most special theatre in which to see a movie. How can you beat eating a homemade brownie to Billie while waiting to see Bergman in Notorious? Sure, I could have seen Cagney and Bogart any number of times at home (and have), but it was much more than the movie that drew me there. Sitting in that small room, intimate and seemingly carved out of stone, with a group of like-minded movie enthusiasts, and preferably on a date, was electric. I still retain hope that the theatre will some day return to showing movies. If (when!) they do, I’ll be among the first to pick up the long list of coming attractions, circle the many dates I won’t want to miss, and tack it up on my refrigerator.

irajoel
irajoel on December 12, 2004 at 3:10 pm

This was without a doubt the worst movie theatre I had ever been to. In the early 70’s I used to go because of the rare films they showed, but the films were mostly unwatchable because of the rear projection used. I remember walking out of the 1936 version of show boat because it was just too unbearable. When I went to get my money back the owner gave me a hard time, was rude told me I knew nothing about movies etc. When I got home I wrote a nasty letter back to him and received an apology. Needless to say that was the last time I ever stepped foot in that dump.

chconnol
chconnol on November 9, 2004 at 2:02 pm

I love the fact that Theater 80 is still there. I too used to schlep from Long Island on the weekends to see classic films here. Saw “Smiles of a Summers Night”, Goddard’s “Masculine/Feminine” among others.

chelydra
chelydra on November 9, 2004 at 1:45 pm

“…nothing … that makes me want to trek to the city.” Funny you should say that here, because Theatre 80 St Marks (and the great, but always empty, Indian restaurant across the street, now closed) DID inspire many treks to the city. In fact, it was just about our only destination whenever we needed to get off Long Island.

RobertR
RobertR on August 31, 2004 at 2:57 pm

In spite of the rear projection I loved seeing movies here. I remember a Marlene Dietrich triple bill where we waited on a huge line that went around the block. What happened to those days? The film forum does revival on one screen but its just not the same. The Thalia is back but nothing has played there yet that makes me want to trek to the city.

br91975
br91975 on August 31, 2004 at 2:30 pm

The Theatre 80 St. Mark’s ceased operations as a moviehouse during the summer of 1994.