Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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MPol on December 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Bill Hueling: “Milk” was quite good. Sean Penn’s a good actor and he did a wonderful job playing the part of Harvey Milk, and Josh Brolin did a good job playing Harvey Milk’s more conservative nemesis, Dan White. Worth seeing, though I haven’t see the others yet.

MPol on December 28, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for the reminder, saps. I’ll have to look for it in today’s NY Times. “Defiance” sounds like a good movie. I read the book on which it’s based, which was fabulous., and I’ll put the movie “Defiance” on a “To see” list regarding movies. Hopefully, it’ll play in Boston soon.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 28, 2008 at 11:22 am

Full page ad for Defiance in today’s NY Times, with those rare words “Exclusive Engagement” and the beautiful Ziegfeld logo.

ZiegfeldMan on December 28, 2008 at 7:48 am


If it’s not on paper first, it ain’t there. “The Wrestler” may be the “Marty” of 2008. You heard it here.


Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 28, 2008 at 7:06 am

I’m looking forward to seeing both of those. They sound like the complete opposite of “Benjamin Button”, a movie that would never even get made without a ton of special effects and an unlimited budget. Other lower-budget films I saw recently that I liked much better than “Benjamin”: “Milk”, “Doubt”, “Happy-Go-Lucky”, “Rachel Getting Married”, “Frost/Nixon”.

ZiegfeldMan on December 27, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Hi Bill:

Unfortunately, due to some family problems, I had to break a long-time tradition and did not get to any movie on Christmas. The following day, I saw two-“Revolutionary Road” and “The Wrestler,” both highly recommended by me. They both show what you can do with a low-budget, no special effects, and most importantly, a great script. Oscar predictions for both. Back to the Ziegfeld. I do hope to get there for “Defiance,” next week.

Happy New Year to all—am looking forward to the Ziegfeld Classics (again, please e-mail Craig with your ideas) and the return of the Lafayette classics in March.


MPol on December 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm

For Bill Huelig and pettiford:

Bill: While it’s too bad that a bunch of badly-behaved kids had to spoil it for the others, my gut instinct is to fault the better-behaved kids for not keeping the “shrikes” in their flanks in line. The bad apples in the crowd don’t have to be in the majority to present a problem. Shame on the majority for not keeping the troublemaking minority in line.

pettiford: I read about that incident at the showing of the film “Schindler’s List” in the NY Times when it happened. What was worse is the fact that the teachers attempted to put the best complexion on the fact that the kids were laughing throughout this movie, saying that they were young, etc. Frankly, if a bunch of kids are old enough to see a film like that, or any film, and to enter a movie theatre, they’re old enough to behave better than that.

Shame on the teachers who attempted to put the best complexion on those kids' behaviour at the “Schindler’s List” screening, even though it was years ago, I saw ‘Schindler’s List" with a longtime friend when it first came out, around 15 years ago. What a good, well-done, intense film it was! It’s a necessary history lesson for the many people out there who really need to be shaken up.

Bill and pettiford:
To digress from the subject a little bit, while we’re discussing bad behaviour at the movies:
Back in the mid-1970’s, when my family and I attended a screening of the film “The Harder They Come” at the now-non-existent Orson Welles Cinema in Cambridge, MA, there was a group of people, obviously in their twenties and clearly stoned, who were just laughing hysterically at all the sadistic parts of the movie. How sad that people who’re clearly old enough (in terms of chronological age) to know better can behave so badly in movie theatres.


MPol on December 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm

“Benjamin Button” is playing in the Boston area, too. Would like to hear opinions of the movie from people who’ve seen it. I know that it got good reviews here in this area.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 27, 2008 at 11:11 am

Gary: You always go to the Ziegfeld on Christmas. Did you like the movie? I wanted to like it more than I did, but there just didn’t seem to be much to it besides what I already knew before I sat down to watch it.

HowardBHaas on December 27, 2008 at 10:38 am

watching “Benjamin Button” that’s what I was afraid of.

I haven’t seen it projected in 35mm, nor do I understand the digital process in which it was filmed, but it didn’t seem right to me on the big screen compared to other films elsewhere.

A movie theater operator friend tells me 2 k shouldn’t be used on movie screens larger than 40 feet wide.

Perhaps it would have looked better with a 4k projector?

HowardBHaas on December 27, 2008 at 9:24 am

There was substantial audience yesterday because it was the day after Christmas, during holiday vacation season (which ends when New Year’s Day ends). I liked the movie even less. Oscar nominations for other minor awards like set design would be appropriate, but I doubt Benjamin Button is going to be the Best Picture of the Year.

I’m still waiting to know if the resolution is 4 k rather than 2 k?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 27, 2008 at 9:17 am

I saw “Benjamin Button” yesterday at 4:30 (OK movie, not great – no Oscars except for makeup if I were an Academy voter – good sized audience for a weekday afternoon) and they didn’t use the curtain. They did use it two weeks ago for “Che”, though.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 27, 2008 at 9:06 am

Is this a union house? If so, I can’t think of a good excuse not to use the curtain.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

If you look as far back as 2004 you will find posts about this curtain not working.

Having worked at the Zieg from 1989 to the mid-nineties, I saw Cineplex Odeon spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on replacement parts, scaffolding and lost showings (it is too heavy to be operated manually) as a result of that curtain malfunctioning. I don’t blame Clearview one bit for leaving it open and not risk losing holiday business, even if it is working.

JeffS on December 27, 2008 at 8:36 am

Howard, while using the curtains might “wear then out” and cause malfunction, I take that as a ZERO excuse. Up in Suffern the Lafayette uses their curtains on EVERY SINGLE SHOW. That means it opens and closes daily several times, seven days a week. In my years of being associated with the Lafayette, I don’t recall ever hearing that the curtain broke and needed to be fixed. And what if it did break? The Ziegfeld can’t afford to fix it? This is a “for profit” theater which you know is making money or it would have been closed long ago, torn down, and a office building or parking lot put there.

I think Clearview a) doesn’t care, and b) that staff couldn’t be bothered to do it right.

What Vito just said is correct. That’s how you do it.

Hi Vito.

Vito on December 27, 2008 at 8:19 am

I am so on the same page here with Jeff. It just makes no sense not to use the curtains. Even if slides are being shown between shows they could at least close the curtain a minute or two before showtime and then open them at the start of the movie,
how wonderful that would look. The same thing could apply at the end,simply close the curtains, do a proper showmanship presentation, and then open the curtains for the slides after the patrons file out between shows.
Oh well, we have beat this issue to death, it’s not as if management is not aware of our complaint. Obviously showmanship is dead at the Ziegfeld.

HowardBHaas on December 27, 2008 at 8:19 am

I WANT them to use the curtain, but the explanation might not be the steps of using it.

Clearview may either not care to use the curtain for regular movie shows, or they might be concerned about the costs to repair it when it breaks & the repairman has to be called.

JeffS on December 27, 2008 at 8:07 am

I don’t understand it. Why don’t they just automate the curtain?

And even as such, how hard is it to press an “open” and “close” button which you can be sure is right next to the projector motor switch.

Wow, it’s so hard. Power projector motor, open douser, push curtain open button, press changeover button to open the light to the screen.

And if it is digital, there’s even less of an excuse because the curtain could be integrated into the DP automation. You can be sure that’s a one button start sequence.

One of the nicest theaters left and they don’t care about their showmanship.

HowardBHaas on December 27, 2008 at 6:22 am

Many of these films, such as “Benjamin Button” & “Defiance” are digital projections. What’s the resolution? 2 k? 4 k? I understand there’s a 3 k, too.

HowardBHaas on December 27, 2008 at 6:19 am

Yesterday’s 1 PM of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” was well attended with at least a few hundred moviegoers. I asked the Box Office attendent if the curtain was being used, and she replied no. Indeed, NO effort was made to use the curtain. Perhaps it is only used for premieres & special presentations? People who attend the Ziegfeld like the curtain and it should be used more!

Though “Benjamin Button” only arrived on Christmas Day, “Defiance” begins on December 31. Defiance will be an exclusive, and should do very well as such.

JodarMovieFan on December 19, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Regal Theaters had a program where card members can hold a beeper (and receive an extra 100 points) to alert management of rude and/or otherwise bad behavior. Not sure if they have it in your market, or at any Clearview venue, but if they do, or could start, this could be a good way of getting a manager or someone with authority to kick out the offending patrons in a quiet way.

Since I live in the suburbs and rarely go to the downtown theaters, I rarely encounter people such as the ones you’ve mentioned, Bill. Yes, once in awhile, there’s an immature person who reacts inappropriately but its not enough to detract my enjoyment of a movie.

As I’ve said before on this thread, the Ziegfeld has one of the best DP presentations I can recall..from Revenge of the Sith to last year’s Blade Runner. It was worth the drive up :)

alps on December 19, 2008 at 6:50 pm

This was almost a replay of 1993 when Schindler’s List was released. Misguided school teachers, trying to teach children about dehumanization, when outside the classroom in the 90’s was a steady diet of “hood movies” and violent video games. Patrons at the Schindler sceening were also outraged, and keep in mind that was 15 years ago! Most of the films I attend are art films, so I avoid kids, babies, and igorant patrons that you can’t reason with. Only two things bother me even when I attend those films, creatins that feel the need to drape their nasty, filthy feet on the seat in front of them, and whem I attend a “classic film” at the Film Forum, young hipster doofuses show up and ruin the movie by laughing at everything in it. Last winter at the Film Forum, I saw the movie “Violent Saturday”, as soon as the title appeared, laughter broke out. I always felt that I would be the last one that they would have to drag out of the theater, but as I said earlier, some of these people you cannot reason with, and going to movie could cost you your life. The 65 inch plasma screen is looking better and better. A report came out last summer, about what is on the soles of peoples' shoes, so only the Quad Cinema has a no tolerance about feet on chairs.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 19, 2008 at 5:50 pm

In the lobby after the show, there were a number of teens from the class who looked terribly embarrassed and upset by what some of the others had done. It’s good to know that the bad behavior was not running rampant through the whole group.

MPol on December 19, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Sorry about the experience that you had with annoying kids during the movie, Bill Huelbig. It’s pretty disgusting—the way so many kids behave. I know that when we were kids growing up and seeing the movies in a real movie theatre that any kid(s) who were rude, disrespectful or loud during a movie were promptly shut up by their friends, and/or threatened with expulsion by the usher if they kept up that kind of behaviour. Now, since so many parents of today indulge their kids and let them do what they want, and a lot of child advocacy groups take on this sort of a “spare the rod and spoil the child” attitude, which has backfired pretty horrendously.