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On this project…
…we accounted for film that ran for about six months or longer. “Star!” is not present. “Sweet Charity” opened at the Rivoli on Apr. 1, 1969, so “Star!,” which premiered Oct. 22, 1968 could not have run for more than about five months. I don’t have access to my notes which might provide more details, so someone else will need to chime in. While recognized as a flop, the film played longer than one might expect in many places (21 weeks in L.A., for instance).
“In 1982 a private owner cleaned it up and reopened it as the [‘New’] Columbia”
Anyone know the name of the owner/company that operated the theater at this time?
Re whether or not both screens were 70mm-equipped, I may be able to answer my own question. In checking some notes and newspapers ads from a prior research project, it appears that “The Thing” was advertised in a manner suggesting it was being shown in 70mm on both screens.
As for the HPS-4000 sound system, I guess no one knows much about it.
Was 70mm projection available on both screens at this point? And which was the HPS-4000 screen?
You’re incredible! You are distorting the facts in a clear attempt to discredit me and to win some sympathy for yourself from the Cinema Treasures readers. The letter I sent to your publisher could hardly be called nasty. It was written in plain language with a clear purpose including a sensible solution to the situation.
And to claim that I provided a list of spelling errors and typos again is misleading as if those were the only items on the list of corrections. For the record, typos and spelling errors represent only a fraction of the errors found in your book. To claim I’m bizarre in this instance is outrageous. I’ll tell you what’s bizarre: That you do not seem to think it is a problem to have HUNDREDS of errors, both factual and grammatical, in a book for which readers are expected to pay $30+ to me seems quite bizarre.
If you say you were unfamiliar with me and my work prior while preparing your book, fine. You should have no difficulty, then, in explaining the many similarities our works share (the 70mm section). Whether or not you knowingly or unknowingly used previously published works for your own, the fact is you used sources that are not credited in your book’s bibliography, several of which you mentioned to me in our email exhanges (copies of which I have saved). I’ve also saved a printed copy of your outrageously deceptive “review” posted on Amazon.com before it was recently removed, I suspect as a result of some embarrassment it may have caused due to it being mentioned in some recent Internet discussions about your book and my review. (What kind of person would write a review of their own work, writing it as if it were someone else, then crediting their own name to the review??!!)
And what’s all this nonsense about my reference to “Class Of Nuke ‘Em High” in the review? Big deal, all I provided was a bit of background info on you, all of which was obtained from your book and an interview I read online. And my reference in the paragraph you cite was actually meant as a compliment, not an attempt, as you say, to discredit you by linking you to Troma. What I was suggesting was that you’re a better filmmaker than an author. That’s my opinion based on the work of yours that I am familiar with. It’s an opinion, which I’m entitled to. You don’t have to agree with it. But, if you’re so stuck on downplaying having made “Class Of Nuke 'Em High,” why then is it mentioned multiple times in this Rivoli thread? You mention it in at least one post plus the intro paragraph for the theatre at the top of the page. Whatever.
As to whether you are as credible as you think you are, let the book’s readers decide. Here’s a link to my review. If people actually take the time to analyze the list of corrections and judge them in a suitable context, they can decide for themselves if they fall within or outside an acceptable margin of error, which was the thesis of my review.
Personally, I really think that if you or I or anyone else wishes to continue discussing this matter it should be taken over to another thread, perhaps the link on this site for your book, or starting up a fresh one. This thread REALLY should get back to being about the Rivoli. Speaking of which…
Who is familiar with the Rivoli after it was twinned and became known as the United Artists Twin? My questions are:
1) How was it divided? Balcony become one screen, main floor become another? Or split straight down the middle?
2) John Allen (of HPS-4000 fame) told me that upon the twinning, his sound system was installed on one of the screens, making it the first (only?) such house in Manhattan and the first 70mm-equipped house anywhere with HPS-4000. So…which of the two screens had the HPS-4000 system? And was this ever promoted in the newspaper ads (it wasn’t in any of the ones I can remember)?
And regarding the crediting of “70mm” as a presentation format in newspaper ads for blow-up titles that were also roadshows…
You’re right that “70mm” was not often included or emphasized in the ads during the ‘60s. Generally, it was the reserved-seat aspect of the show that was the “gimmick” emphasized in the advertising.
However, re “The Sand Pebbles,” the Long Island engagement ads (or some of them) did include “70mm” in addition to the “Panavision” and “DeLuxe” credits. And in Los Angeles, both “Funny Girl” and “Oliver!” did include mention of 70mm in their ads. But most of the blow-ups didn’t; one would need to consult a secondary source to determine if a 70mm print was what was shown.
“Star Wars” opened May 25th 1977 playing both the Cinerama and Kapiolani theatres. Both theatres played the film in 35mm.
“Empire Strikes Back” opened at Cinerama on May 21 1980 in 70mm
“Return of the Jedi” opened May 25 1983 also in 70mm.
I think your memory is playing tricks on you (or someone is playing a Jedi mind trick…).
“Star Wars” opened May 25, 1977 in selected markets, though my research has shown that Honolulu was not among them. While the movie did open simultaneously in the two theatres you mention, the Hawaii release wasn’t until June 8.
In addition, I have reason to believe the Cinerama Theatre’s engagement initially 35mm switched over to a 70mm print, which began being advertised in the newspaper ads during October 1977.
You’re correct about “Empire” opening in 70mm on May 21, 1980.
I think you’re misremembering the specifics about “Jedi.” Yes, it was at the Cinerama. Yes it was a 70mm presentation. But my research indicates the Honolulu opening wasn’t until “Wave 2” on June 24, 1983.
Damn, why does it seem like I’m always correcting people! (Is this a good habit or a bad habit? I guess it depends on how you look at things.)
For more on the release of the original “Star Wars” movies, including the dates, locations and presentation types of the initial engagements, I encourage you to read the following articles I prepared just for occasions such as this one:
70mm engagements at the Stanley-Warner Beverly Hills (aka Pacific Beverly Hills):
Source: View link
Title (Premiere Date)
RSE = Reserved Seat Engagement
Lawrence Of Arabia (Dec. 21, 1962; RSE)
Becket (Mar. 18, 1964; RSE)
Lord Jim (Mar. 4, 1965; RSE)
The Flight Of The Phoenix (Feb. 2, 1966; 70mm unconfirmed)
The Taming Of The Shrew (Mar. 21, 1967; RSE; 70mm unconfirmed)
Julius Caesar (Sep. 22, 1970; RSE; 70mm unconfirmed)
Ryan’s Daughter (Nov. 17, 1970)
Mary, Queen Of Scots (Dec. 22, 1971)
Re-Issue/Second Run/Move-Over/Return Engagements include:
Doctor Zhivago (1968, 1970)
Patton (1970; RSE)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1969; RSE)
The Sound Of Music (1973)
Gone With The Wind (1974)
70mm engagements at the Carthay Circle:
Around The World In Eighty Days (Dec. 22, 1956; RSE)
Porgy And Bess (July 15, 1959; RSE)
Can-Can (Mar. 10, 1960; RSE)
The Alamo (Oct. 26, 1960; RSE)
El Cid (Dec. 18, 1961; RSE)
The Agony And The Ecstasy (Oct. 20, 1965; RSE)
The Shoes Of The Fisherman (Nov. 15, 1968; RSE)
Re-Issue/Second Run/Move-Over/Return Engagements include:
The Sound Of Music (1966; RSE)
Gone With The Wind (1967; RSE)
70mm engagements at the Fox Wilshire:
Sleeping Beauty (Jan. 29, 1959)
Solomon And Sheba (Dec. 26, 1959)
Exodus (Dec. 21, 1960; RSE)
The Sound Of Music (Mar. 10, 1965; RSE)
The Sand Pebbles (Dec. 28, 1966; RSE)
Far From The Madding Crowd (Oct. 19, 1967; RSE)
Star! (Oct. 31, 1968; RSE)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Nov. 7, 1969; RSE)
Woodstock (Mar. 26, 1970; 70mm presentation unconfirmed)
Fiddler On The Roof (Nov. 5, 1971; RSE)
Man Of La Mancha (Dec. 13, 1972; RSE)
Re-Issue/second run/return/move-over engagements include:
Ben-Hur (1969; RSE)
The Sound Of Music (1969)
South Pacific (1969)
Doctor Zhivago (1970)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1971, 1975)
Around The World In 80 Days (1971)
MGM Fabulous Three (1971)
My Fair Lady (1971)
West Side Story(1971)
Camelot (1973, 1974, 1976, 1977)
Fiddler On The Roof (1973)
Man Of La Mancha (1973)
This Is Cinerama (1973)
Hello, Dolly! (1975, 1976, 1977)
Gone With The Wind (1976)
Logan’s Run (1976)
A Star Is Born (1977)
I could not confirm "MASH” was blown up to 70mm although it was listed in some places as released in this format. I utilized
Booking and Buying Guides when I compiled my lists and cross referenced them with newspaper ads, studio publicity and film collectors who salvaged some of the original release prints.
In many cases it was a judgment call since distributors often
listed materials in their booking guides that were not manufactured
or used. Newspaper ads and studio publicity were not always accurate either. When compiliing lists, all you can do is use the
data that’s available at the time and update it if new data surfaces.
I know you are a fanatic about 70mm but there will always be a margin of error unless you personally attended the presentation which would be impossible when discussing films shown thirty years ago. In at least one case I was present when the NYC cinema advertised on the marquee and in the newspaper as “Die Hard” being presented in 70mm. I visited the booth and the projectionist showed me that the copy had been damaged in a platter and they had switched to 35mm Dolby without informing patrons.
For those unaware of your activities, let me inform them
that your have been trashing me and my book on other sites, posting derogatory comments and even contacting at my private home to start arguements, all of which has been saved in my records. I would appreciate it if you did not engage in these activities here.“
Whoa, chill out, dude! What makes you think I’m picking on you here? Re “MASH,” all you had to do was respond by stating that you came across information on it after completing your book. It should be obvious that I’m asking because, given my “fanaticism” about the subject of 70mm movies, I’m genuinely curious as to how you located details on any 70mm prints having been struck for that title.
Moving on, your “Die Hard” example makes no sense as I do not understand how this relates to your comment about there always being a margin of error in research. This example is not the same as when (or if) a distributor or exhibitor deceptively advertises a film in 70mm when no such prints were made. In the case of “Die Hard,” the 70mm status has never been in question as its distributor did in fact strike a number of 70mm prints (one of which I saw in its initial Los Angeles engagement). I don’t, by the way, believe it was common practice for a film to be promoted in 70mm DURING its release when in fact no prints were even struck. Likewise, I don’t think the opposite occured regularly either: a 70mm print being screened and NOT advertised as being in 70mm.
Richard, I wasn’t intending to debate the merits of your book in a thread on the Rivoli, but since you brought it up…. To state that I have been trashing you and your book on other sites is incorrect. Where has this occurred? If you’re referring to the book review that is posted on my own (and Bill Kallay’s) website, www.FromScriptToDVD.com, then I think it is incorrect to state you’re being personally trashed. I think you’re just pissed off that I gave your book a thumbs down review. If you want a positive review, next time write a better book! Despite our prior communication, I believe my review was objective and loaded with examples and evidence to support my claims. And as for the telephone conversation you mentioned, I did not call to initiate an argument; I called to ask you if you had received and looked over my list I had sent of corrections to your book’s many errors and to ask if you had any intention of having the book reprinted with the corrections incorporated. In fact, you’re misleading the readers here by failing to mention that, for the majority of the duration of the call, we had a pleasant discussion which lasted a good thirty minutes…long enough for you to plug your movies that are available on DVD in the hope that I would purchase and/or review them.
The fact is I wrote you and your book’s publisher in an attempt to address the issue of the book’s many errors and for some references that I thought had been ommitted from the book’s bibliography, a subject on which you have been evasive. The reason I keep bringing up your book, whether it be here on Cinema Treasures, my website, or elsewhere is because I believe potential readers ought to know of its pros and cons and, through exposure, wish for your book to sell in high numbers…so you and the publisher can justify a second printing, which would enable you to make the appropriate revisions and improve it to the point that it would be a worthwhile addition to one’s bookshelf, which in turn would help improve your own credibility as a scholar/historian.
Now, can we return the discussion to that of the Rivoli….
Richard Haines wrote: “As noted above, some counter-culture pictures were given a large format release. Apparently "MASH” was blown up to 70mm and shown this way.“
Really??? Why is this title not included in your “Moviegoing Experience” book’s 70mm filmography?
Re my continued effort to sort out the “Napoleon” format question… What follows is a timeline with key (and often contradictory) passages from articles and books, as well as the dates of the Radio City Music Hall engagements of the film (including recently found details for a THIRD engagement at RCMH).
“Tickets have gone on sale at the Radio City Music Hall boxoffice for the Jan. 23-25 screenings of Abel Gance’s ‘Napoleon.’ Final reel of the epic, originally shown in 1927 in a three-screen format, will be shown in 70mm Triptych Polyvision.” (The New York Times; Dec. 10, 1980)
“ ‘Napoleon’ will be shown in 35 millimeter, with the final section in 70 millimeter Triptych Polyvision.” (The New York Times; Jan. 5, 1981)
Radio City Music Hall engagement, Jan. 23-25, 1981.
“As with the London Film Festival presentations last year, final reel was shown using three synchronized 35mm projectors, rather than the transferred-to-70mm version that distributor Images Film Archive reportedly is planning for future exhibition of the film” (Variety; Jan. 28, 1981)
“And the last reel of the 1927 film was presented in 70mm to duplicate the widescreen techniques pioneered by Gance at the time of the Paris premiere.” (Millimeter; Feb. 1981)
“Coppola flew in from Rome yesterday to supervise the recording, which was dubbed onto the film’s six-track Dolby Stereo score last night at Gomillion, a state-of-the-art postproduction house in West Hollywood.” (The Hollywood Reporter; Sep. 29, 1981)
“Premiering a print reportedly tinted and toned to director Abel Gance’s original plans, ‘Napoleon’ will be projected on a new 90 foot screen at Radio City Music Hall during its return engagement Oct. 15-18 and Oct. 22-25. Carmine Coppola will also reprise his role conducting the 60 piece American Symphony through the score he created.” (Variety; Sep. 30, 1981)
Radio City Music Hall engagement #2, Oct. 15-18 & 22-25, 1981.
“Is there a commercial market for a four-hour silent film at firstrun theatres? Universal Pictures thinks so. That’s why it is going ahead with plans to launch Abel Gance’s 1927 epic film, ‘Napoleon’ July 16 at L.A.’s Cinerama Dome, followed by exclusive openings at major houses in N.Y. and 10 other cities in October. What L.A. audiences will see is a 70mm six-track Dolby print of ‘Napoleon,’ one of 10 70mm prints Universal plans to make at a cost of close to $20,000 each. Instead of the live orchestra, this time, ‘Napoleon’ will have a prerecorded score composed by Carmine Coppola, conducting the Milan Philharmonic Orchestra. Universal will also strike about 25 35mm prints for other cities.” (Variety; July 6, 1982)
Radio City Music Hall engagement #3, Oct. 14-17, 1982.
The 70mm Blowup Films; Napoleon: 1981; “Wide Screen Movies: A History And Filmography Of Wide Gauge Filmmaking” (McFarland, 1988)
1982: Napoleon; “Presented in 70mm”; Widescreen Review’s The Ultimate Widescreen DVD Movie Guide (2001)
1981: Napoleon (with notation that author attended 70mm screening at RCMH in ‘81); “The Moviegoing Experience, 1968-2001” (McFarland, 2003)
This discussion about the origins of saturation booking seems to be the current theme of the thread, however it is not unique or specific to a discussion of the Rivoli Theatre, the main subject here. (This type of “drift” to me is normal and does not bother me in the least. Others, though, might be getting annoyed by the drift.)
At any rate — to cause further drift :) — the 400+ prints of “Jaws” was certainly a huge amount for its time, but “The Trial Of Billy Jack” the year before and “King Kong” the year after each had nearly three times the number of opening day prints.
Oh, and I think “The Godfather” (1972) is noteworthy in this discussion of the origins of saturation booking. I recall the film having four or five simultaneous New York City premiere engagements, which was big news at the time. And that the film made a ton of money — quickly — certainly influenced studios' decisions to adopt the saturation approach in the ensuing years.
“Jaws” began the “saturation” style of exhibition. An enormous number of prints were made (between 500-900)
“Jaws” opened in 409 theatres.
“The people used the old Fox Rosemary Theatre in the Ocean Park area of Santa Monica, California for demos of the D-150 process.”
“Do you happen to know during what time period this was…at the Fox Rosemary?”
The answer is here (scroll about 2/3rd the way down the page):
THE LION KING … “Disney’s Magical Moments”
I don’t have any information on whether there were stage shows for Disney’s “Return To Oz” or “The Black Cauldron.”
“Mike: if you have access to a list of the shows which appeared with 70mm releases at the Hall, you might want to add the stage show that played with a re-issue of "The Sound of Music” which we did in the ‘70’s.“
THE SOUND OF MUSIC … “Star Spangled Rhythm”
“But what is desparately needed is a full list of all the stage shows that supported the movies at RCMH”
I can partially fulfill this request. Here are the stage productions that supported the 70mm engagements at Radio City.
AIRPORT … “Glory Of Easter” and “Potpouri ‘70"
DARLING LILI … "Ravel’s Bolero"
SCROOGE … "The Nativity” and “Cheers”
THE COWBOYS … “…and the Indians!"
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS … "Winter Cruise”
TOM SAWYER … “Glory Of Easter” and “Springtime Etc.”
GONE WITH THE WIND/2001/
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO/SINGIN' IN THE RAIN MGM fest … “It’s In Your Stars"
THE WIND AND THE LION … "Prelude ‘76”
CROSSED SWORDS … “Glory Of Easter” and “Springtime Carousel”
“my question is: i have heard that there was another engagement sometime later – either with 3 projectors, or in single projector 70mm – that used a massive screen, presumably the widest possible inside the proscenium. is this true?”
I’m aware of Radio City engagements of “Napoleon” during Jan. 23-25, 1981, and then a return run during Oct. 15-18 & 22-25, 1981. I’m trying to determine if there were any additional runs at Radio City or any other NYC venues.
When the 70mm version was about to open in L.A. in July 1982, VARIETY ran an article mentioning plans for a wider release of the film “at major houses in N.Y. and 10 other cities in October (1982).”
Re your question about the return run on a larger screen at Radio City: “Premiering a print reportedly tinted and toned to director Abel Gance’s original plans, ‘Napoleon’ will be projected on a new 90 foot screen at Radio City Music hall during its return engagement Oct. 15-18 and Oct. 22-25.” (VARIETY, “Napoleon In Tints At Radio City Encore,” Sep. 30, 1981)
I have collected a number of articles concerning the restoration of “Napoleon,” and they include a lot of contradictory details regarding the presentations and whether they were 35mm shown using multiple projectors, whether a 70mm print was used for the Triptych sequence, or whether a 70mm print with recorded sound was used for the whole presentation. I’ve communicated with Radio City projectionist Bob Endres and Bob Harris, who worked on the restoration, both of whom have supplied various bits of information but unfortunately there still is some confusion. Maybe Mr. Endres will chime in to this discussion.
Some folks have asked Bill Kallay and myself why “Napoleon” was not included in our “70mm In New York” article and historical list. Well, the basic answer is, we’d like to include it but are uncomfortable doing so until we can conclusively determine when and where it may have played in the NYC area in 70mm. Mr. Endres has informed us that his recollection of the Radio City run(s) were 35mm. Any aditional details on the matter are greatly appreciated.
Engagement added to the “70mm In L.A.” historical article.
***“Regarding the previous posts about "Airport” at RCMH, does anyone know what other theaters in the U.S. showed 70mm prints of this film. I’ve always heard there were very few. If you answer, please give your source."
Slightly off-topic, but you asked…
Initial March 1970 release: New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and, I believe, Chicago. Later that year as the release expanded: San Diego and San Francisco. I haven’t researched this beyond those cities, but I imagine most major cities ran a 70mm print.
OK, now it’s my turn to ask a question. Who saw “Napoleon” at Radio City? How many return engagements to New York City did it have?
QUOTE: “The Orange County Register reported that [James Edwards] guaranteed $75,000 to MGM in 1965 to screen "Dr. Zhivago” at the same time as Los Angeles."
I’m not sure how the above statement can be true since the Orange County first-run roadshow engagement of “Doctor Zhivago” (1) did not begin until February 1967 (14 months following the Los Angeles premiere), and (2) was booked into a theatre operated by Statewide, an Edwards competitor.
And here is a review…
QUOTE: “70mm Dolby-encoded prints were around untill the late 80s.”
70mm Dolby-encoded prints are still being made. I think you meant to write: “70mm NON-Dolby-encoded prints were around until the late 80s.”
I forgot about “Oklahoma!” at the Midtown…