Paris Theatre

4 West 58th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 76 - 100 of 171 comments

efriedmann
efriedmann on May 15, 2007 at 7:44 am

I have two very special memories involving The Paris theatre. The first was in 1996 when an old friend and I spend Saturday night seeing HAMLET. This was a four-hour film and we smuggled in a backpack with a bottle of wine, two glasses and snacks. A very fun evening and a great film.

The second was December 5, 1998 – my wife and I were on our first date. We went to see LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL after a wonderful dinner. Somewhere, we still have the original ticket stubs. On December 5, 2008, we have a date to revisit the same restaurant and see whatever film is playing at The Paris. I hope it’s still open then.

Other films I’ve seen there include a revival of Fellini’s 8 ½, LE DIVORCE and THE GOOD GERMAN.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 8, 2007 at 11:48 pm

I went to the Paris recently to see BREAKING AND ENTERING and the place was immaculate. It looked like a theatre that had just opened.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 8, 2007 at 10:17 am

The Paris is giving out a leaflet describing the current feature, The Namesake (a very good film which was well attended), and specifying Coming Soon: Paris, Je T'aime and La Vie En Rose.

Leaflet also states “Opened in 1948, the Paris Theatre is the longest continuously operating art cinema in the United States. We are proud of the Paris which has premiered many of the best American independent and international films throughout its history. The Paris Theatre is a landmark in the heart of New York City and in the hearts of discerning New York filmgoers”

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on January 21, 2007 at 7:40 am

The basement lounge was long gone by the time I got there. They had photos of it upstairs in the Pathe office (the office with the windows above the marquee) and it was quite a beautiful room. It was a lounge with sofas and chairs rather than a cafe with tables and chairs. Unfortunately I can’t remember a lot of the details.

SMEvans3
SMEvans3 on January 21, 2007 at 6:10 am

Segregation was a bit before my time, and I never heard of the Paris actually being segregated, but I believe the theatre was designed so that it could be segregated. However, I do not know this to be fact, and I had thought my initial comment made clear it was an opinion. It was not an opinion that originated with me. I had heard it several times while I was at the theatre.

I am somewhat sorry I made the initial comment because this is a beautiful theatre, and I hate seeing its page devoted to a debate over segregation. After some time at each place where I have worked, the physical facility became mundane to me. Day in and day out, year after year, the Paris took my breath away. I would hope it is best appreciated for its beauty and usually exceptional films instead of its curious water fountain placement.

Also, I want to thank AlAlvarez for posting the list of films that played there. I used to have that list, but I had lost it.

If dave-bronx worked there when the basement café was open, I would love to hear a little more about it.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on January 21, 2007 at 6:07 am

I was referring to the blatant segregation as described by AlAlvarez in his post above that went on in 1905. The Paris Theatre was a relatively small venue at the time that it was built, having only 586 seats, and the films that played there had a limited appeal. I’m sure the balcony was built for no other reason than as a solution of how to get 586 seats in a small space. The overall demographics of Manhattan in those days were different, it was more blue-collar than it is today. While the Park Avenue crowd went to ‘a film’ the Paris everyone else was going to ‘the movies’ at Times Sq. and neighborhood theatres.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on January 20, 2007 at 10:39 am

Yeah, but wasn’t that foolishness over with in Manhattan by 1948 when the Paris opened? I worked at the Paris when Pathe & C5 were still running it but I never heard that story.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 20, 2007 at 6:22 am

“When (Ethel) Waters lived in Harlem she recalled that 125th street was still a ‘white boulevard’ and that the theatres on the street were segregated. ‘Colored people could only buy seats only in the peanut gallery in B.F. Keith’s Alhambra, and none at all in the other white show houses’. “

“Despite civil rights statues in northern cities that prevented racial segregation in theatres, the laws were rarely enforced and managers evaded the law. In 1905, two African Americans sued unsuccessfully when they were not permitted to buy tickets to New York’s Circle Theatre. On another occasion black patrons who obtained orchestra tickets were prevented from sitting in the white-reserved section when the manager broke the seats and ordered them to sit in the gallery. Racial segregation in the big-time venues as well as prejudice against black performers contrasted with the circuits’ publicity which celebrated vaudeville as a ‘democratic’ entertainment open to everyone."

from VAUDEVILLE WARS by ARTHUR FRANK WERTHEIM

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 19, 2007 at 6:06 am

Really? Take a black friend for a drink at a Bay Ridge Bar at night.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 19, 2007 at 5:22 am

I can’t imagine the owners expecting black audiences to fill the balcony of SYMPHONIE PASTORAL but perhaps the French owner thought all American theatres were segregated and prepared himself for this.

Let us not forget that most American troops were segregated during the war (unlike in the movies) and NYC was hardly a bastion of freedom for black people. In 1951 The Stork Club refused to serve Josephine Baker and unofficial “no-go” areas can still be found today.

SMEvans3
SMEvans3 on January 18, 2007 at 8:39 am

I managed the Paris Theatre during the Sony Theatres years. I will try to answer a few questions and share a few memories.

The Paris Theatre is a labor of love for its landlord, billionaire Sheldon Solow. He expects the theatre to turn a profit, and he has shrunk the size of the theatre, but so long as he is alive, the theatre probably is safe from eviction or closure.

The original marquee for the theatre is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image. The current marquee is a reproduction.

I believe that when the theatre first opened, it included a management office which has since been rented out as office space(a Reebok design studio was in there during my time at the theatre). The basement was a large café in which theatre patrons could have coffee before the show. The landlord has attempted to rent out that space as a restaurant. As a result, the theatre essentially has no lobby. The restaurants had difficulty because there was little street access. The landlord made a larger street level restaurant entrance and further reduced the floorspace in the Paris Theatre in the process.

The popularity of the balcony seating is ironic. I believe the balcony was initially intended for “colored” audience members, and the balcony has a separate water fountain.

The theatre still uses a beautiful curtain instead of a slide show.

Someone at Miramax booked the revival of BELLE DE JOUR into the Paris allegedly against the wishes of Harvey Weinstein. The film went on to set the record for the highest gross on a single screen of a foreign language film. The single-screen Paris Theatre was one of the top ten grossing theatres in the nation, outgrossing most multiplexes. After that engagement, Harvey Weinstein often wished to play the Paris.

Merchant-Ivory usually want to play the Paris, and even their commercial disappointments usually have high grosses at the Paris.

The terms for booking a film into the Paris are tough and include costs for making a lobby display. For the right films, the grosses at the Paris are worth the difficult terms.

Celebrities can be found in almost every show. Former New York City Mayor Ed Kotch always attends the opening night show. Sylvester Stallone has seen virtually every foreign-language film at the Paris, but not the English-speaking films.

The theatre has appeared in many films.

The theatre appeared in a fashion shoot for the May 1996 MARIE CLAIRE(I am in the background of one of the photos).

I have plenty of photographs of the theatre if anyone is interested.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 4, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Here is a short article from Time about the opening, dated 9/20/48:
http://tinyurl.com/yk92mu

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 11, 2006 at 3:55 pm

A major motion picture (despite being something of an experiment from director Steven Soderbergh) opens on a day-and-date exclusive run at the Paris and Angelika this Friday.

Good German – NY Times 12/10/06

I think I might make the trip in to see it. I only hope the film is half as good as the poster! Shades of “Casablanca” here, eh? The movie is shot in black & white using the techniques and equipment that were available during the 1940’s (no zoom lenses, no wireless mics). I understand there were a few modern post-production elements employed, but the concept sounds interesting and refreshing all the same.

Coate
Coate on November 15, 2006 at 4:28 pm

What company currently owns and operates the PARIS?

CelluloidHero2
CelluloidHero2 on September 7, 2006 at 6:56 am

Just watched Cactus Flower, which I thought held up pretty good. Enjoyable. Anyway, in one scene Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn take in a movie (Romeo and Juliet) at the Paris. Exterior and the small lobby.

RobertR
RobertR on August 30, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Odd to see the Paris day and dating with Embassy 46th Street.
View link

Shade
Shade on July 8, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Great news! At the Raiders of the Lost Ark screening tonight it was announced the Paris Theatre would continue showing classic films and would be getting a new website soon: www.paristheatre.com

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 21, 2006 at 9:55 am

According to Al’s list above, this classic pulled into the Paris for quite a nice run in December of ‘80:

Mon Oncle – Daily News 12/14/80

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 18, 2006 at 3:45 am

The Paris in the nineties…
04/13/90 MAMA, THERE’S A MAN IN YOUR BED
05/18/90 WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
05/25/90 JESUS OF MONTREAL
06/29/90 CHILDREN OF PARADISE
07/13/90 LIFE IS A LONG QUIET RIVER
08/03/90 METROPOLITAN
09/07/90 (name change to LOEWS FINE ARTS)
11/02/90 VINCENT AND THEO
12/28/90 ALICE
04/12/91 DADDY NOSTALGIA
05/24/91 AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE
06/28/91 MY FATHER’S GLORY
07/26/91 MY MOTHER’S CASTLE
09/13/91 DOGFIGHT
10/04/91 THE MAN IN THE MOON
11/15/91 MEETING VENUS
11/29/91 THE INNER CIRCLE
01/24/92 KAFKA
03/13/92 HOWARD’S END
10/30/92 THE LOVER
11/13/92 (renamed LOEWS PARIS FINE ARTS)
05/28/93 (renamed PARIS)
06/04/93 THE MUSIC OF CHANCE
08/20/93 KING OF THE HILL
09/24/93 JAMON JAMON
11/05/93 REMAINS OF THE DAY
03/11/94 GERMINAL
05/13/94 WIDOW’S PEAK
08/12/94 A LA MODE
09/30/94 PLAYTIME/ JOUR DE FETE
10/14/94 THE BROWNING VERSION
11/04/94 THE LAST SEDUCTION
12/23/94 DEATH AND THE MAIDEN
02/24/95 ONCE WERE WARRIORS
03/31/95 JEFFERSON IN PARIS
06/30/95 BELLE DE JOUR
09/29/95 PERSUASION
11/10/95 CARRINGTON
12/15/95 OTHELLO
03/08/96 THE STAR MAKER
04/12/96 JANE EYRE
05/17/96 THE HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF
06/28/96 PURPLE NOON
09/20/96 SURVIVING PICASSO
12/27/96 HAMLET
04/04/97 ANNA KARENINA
05/02/97 closed?
07/25/97 DAY FOR NIGHT
08/22/97 FACES
08/23/97 SHADOWS
08/24/97 HUSBANDS
08/25/97 LOVE STRANGERS
08/26/97 MINNIE & MOSKOWITZ
08/27/97 A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
09/05/97 LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
10/03/97 WASHINGTON SQUARE
12/26/97 THE WINTER GUEST
02/13/98 VIEWS OF MERCHANT IVORY (14 FILMS)
03/13/98 AMISTAD
03/27/98 A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES
05/01/98 WILDE
06/12/98 THE LAND GIRLS
07/10/98 A NIGHT AT THE OPERA/ A DAY AT THE RACES
07/31/98 THE GOVERNESS
09/18/98 A SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER NEVER CRIES
10/23/98 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
04/09/99 FELLINI’S 8 1/2
05/21/99 BESIEGED
07/09/99 THE DINNER GAME
10/29/99 THE LEGEND OF 1900
11/19/99 MANSFIELD PARK
12/17/99 TOPSY-TURVY

Sunsetbue
Sunsetbue on February 3, 2006 at 3:49 am

Being an Argentine I remember seeing THE OFFICIAL STORY (Oscar Winner for Best Foreign Film) back in 1985.
Great memories.
Kind regards from Buenos Aires

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 23, 2006 at 5:12 am

Thank you, Al, for all your hard work – I love seeing lists like this.

Amazing that “A Man and a Woman” played the Paris for a year and three months. My own best memory of the Paris is seeing “Another Woman” there in 1988, and hearing the audience laugh at it. Not with it – at it. Woody Allen had fallen out of favor with the so-called sophisticated New York audiences that used to worship him as a genius only a few years before. I thought that was one of his better movies, too.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 23, 2006 at 1:32 am

Thanks Al… Scanning through the titles, I might have only visited the Paris twice in the ‘80’s… far less than I would have thought. The only titles I can absolutely be sure about are “Fitzcarraldo” and “The Gift” – both within a few short months of each other. A foreign movie entitled “Bolero” – and, no, not the Bo Derek exploitation flick – had a limited release engagement in Manhattan around '83 or so and I thought I might have also seen that movie here, but perhaps it was the Plaza or one of the 57th street theaters.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 22, 2006 at 10:02 pm

Oops. Make that MANON OF THE SPRING above.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on January 22, 2006 at 12:21 pm

AlAlvarez—

Many, many thanks for a superb contribution to this site!