Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 18, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Saps: I’ll be going there for “Mamma Mia” tonight (can’t see “The Dark Knight” at Lincoln Square IMAX till Thursday) so I’ll report on the show later.

We’re on opposite sides of this topic: I actually look forward to getting “12"s and "55"s in my mailbox, my two favorite NYC theaters.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I’ve been a contributor to this thread over the years, but these last weeks here have been so mundane, I dread seeing that number “12” clogging up my mailbox. I had to drop Radio City for the same reason — too many off-topic comments filling up my email.

However, any posts directly related to the Ziegfeld and its programming are always interesting.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 17, 2008 at 10:14 am

Ed: I think the guy who owned the “Porgy and Bess” print mentioned something about a DVD release when he was being interviewed after the movie, but it sounded like it was just a hypothetical thing – nothing definite. It might have been a reply to a question from the audience.

It’s ranked at #125 on this TCM poll of movies not yet on DVD.


Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 17, 2008 at 9:37 am

Mary Pickford made two versions of “Tess of the Storm Country,” the first in 1914 for Famous Players and the second in 1922 for United Artists.

edblank on July 17, 2008 at 8:58 am

Sorry, that’s BILL.

edblank on July 17, 2008 at 8:57 am

Nill, did you get any impression that “Porgy and Bess” might ever be made available to the general public in some form? It’s the highest movie on my wish list at acquire on DVD. There’s no chance I’d see it in NYC.
I understand the Gershwin estate has kept the movie buried, yet stage productions go on and on freely.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 17, 2008 at 7:46 am

To give the Ziegfeld credit where it is due: they were entrusted with the extremely rare 35mm print of “Porgy and Bess” last fall, and the show I attended (with Otto Preminger’s and George and Ira Gershwin’s family members in the audience) came off very well.

Vito on July 17, 2008 at 6:48 am

To anyone from Eastman Kodak, or anyone with contacts there,
I have a thought.
With the demise of 70mm, even to include IMAX, which will be going Digital soon, why not offer your entire 70mm raw stock inventory to the studios at a discount, perhaps at the cost of a 35mm print, allowing them to strike new prints of some of the classic and yes even not so classic movies for all of us to enjoy. During the 50s and 60s only a handful of 70mm prints where made for each title, leaving us with a small inventory to work with today. As a result the remaing prints are protected and guarded which limits the venues allowed to show them. Eastman Kodak should work with the studios to make the raw stock affordable in order to increase our 70mm inventories before it is too late; I believe history demands it.
While I have no idea how much raw stock Kodak may have lying around, it seems to me it would be better to sell it all off at the cheap instead of what will inevitable be old and expired stock that will have to be destroyed. This solution would generate a little money for Kodak but more importantly allow the studios to make the prints available fr storage and use for years to come and satisfy those of us who are starving for them.
I worked at Fox in the 50s and Deluxe labs was in the same building, I seem to recall a large inventory of raw stock was always kept on hand. Perhaps today the stock is only made when demand calls for it but surely there must be some 70mm raw stock sitting in storage with no where to go but the scrap heap. Let’s put it to good use before it expires.
I would also hope that the Ziegfeld and Radio City, which are two of the theatres that I know of left in NY that can still run 70mm
reel-to-reel, (there may be more) will keep that equipment maintained. In this Digital age where film itself may soon disapear, I would hope we can hang on to what we have left of 70mm for future generations to enjoy.

DavidM on July 17, 2008 at 6:38 am

I was in the audience the evening when the LOA 70MM print broke. One of the fellows who saved the day was five seats away from me. Everyone in the audience was grateful to him and the others that volunteered to “save our show”. In fact, the fellow seated near me came back to his seat with the piece of the print that got damaged.

I too miss the time when I could go to the movies and see a 70MM show on a regular basis. I think William hit one nail on the head when he stated that the studios are not going to send a 70MM print to a platter house.

I also believe that if we want such a venue then we are going to have to do it ourselves. By “we”, I mean those of us who post here lamenting about the lack of 70MM presentations in Manhattan. I ask anyone who is truly serious about taking such action to contact me. My contact info is on my member page.

longislandmovies on July 17, 2008 at 1:54 am

AL keep up the good work…..You know more about theaters than most people forgot!

ZiegfeldMan on July 16, 2008 at 10:02 pm


The last fall series of classics started in September 2006 and ran into October. Starting it in October after the NYFF would certainly be an option. Regardless, the more Craig hears from us, the better.
I would say, go for it!!


William on July 16, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Another reason why NYC does not get all those 70MM type festival screenings is the cost of shipping a print to and from the theatre. And there is only the same old banged up prints available for plattered run theatres. I know the Ziegfeld Theatre is equipped with two Century JJ 70/35 projectors. But the studios only let those newer restored 70MM prints to theatres that are change-over operated and that have not damaged prints in the past. This city has a incredible collection of prints in the museuems, but only select venues can run them. The cost of replacing a newer 70MM print is much higher than old of those older titled 70MM prints, because fewer prints were made during the restrike of the title.

DavidMorgan on July 16, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Though there isn’t a full schedule available yet, it was announced in the Times that some of the New York Film Festival screenings this fall will be at the Ziegfeld, as Alice Tully Hall is undergoing renovations.

View link

… so would there still be room for a classics roster?

ZiegfeldMan on July 16, 2008 at 5:13 pm


In keeping with the spirit and tone of your post, I’m sure you will be grateful, but not greatful. That’s the 3 cents of an old teacher (lol).

Also, to help me out, please, I have never seen “Tess of the Storm Country.” A Mary Pickford film, I think. I’m a big fan of silents with plenty I haven’t seen. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of Lillian Gish not no Pickfords. I believe that there’s a fairly new DVD of
“Tess”, yes? Is it worth getting?

Thanks, and although it’s mid-summer, this is a good time to e-mail craig at to petition for more Classics come fall.


Vito on July 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Excuse me ALAvarez, but Warren was simply trying to set the record straight and not start an argument. If another member of this wonderful web site has information regarding the accuracy of a post they owe it all of us to clarify. Futhermore the original poster needs to be greatful for the correction and say, sorry I was misunderstood or thanks for the correction. Warren, in particular, has a wealth of information to share with us and we need to be respectful of that.
I have made a few errors some of my informational post,and I am always greatful for any corrections of the facts.
Everyone take a deep breath and relax. We are here to have fun, become informed and share war stories of the good days of the movie palace. Just the 2 cents of an old man :)

AlAlvarez on July 16, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Warren, TESS was running in 22 Manhattan locations on December 25, 1922. It was running in 33 Manhattan locations sometime during that week. I never stated they were first runs.

Life is not an argument. Get some help, man!

markp on July 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm

In regards to JeffS, from July 13, it doesn’t surprise me that there were problems with the 70MM in 2006. Clearview and all their wonderful pencil pushers got rid of the union projectionists, and with them anyone who knew 70MM. I know, because I was one of them here in New Jersey. And I also know 70MM from my days of running it in the mid to late 80’s. I guess it was a lucky thing someone in the audience did know how to fix it. But wow, that sure doesn’t say much for the operation of this wonderful theatre. I run reportory in some theatres here in NJ, and I would die just to be able to run 70MM again. In all my years, I never had the kinds of problems I read about here. But again, that’s what clearview wants, and that’s what they get.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 16, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Al Alvarez, who showed no respect for the past with his notorious “Screw history” remark, has struck again with false claims about a 1922 multiple-theatre engagement of “Tess of the Storm Country.” Another member has already disputed Mr. Alvarez’s post, but I thought that I should add some precise details. “Tess” had its NYC premiere engagement exclusively at the Strand Theatre in midtown, opening on November 12, 1922, along with a stage show featuring the Fokine Ballet Company and the Strand Symphony Orchestra. The example that Mr. Alvarez gave is for a batch of subsequent-run Christmas holiday engagements at neighborhood theatres, which he probably discovered in an ad published in The New York Times on 12/23/22. If Mr. Alvarez had taken the time to study that ad, he would have noticed that this was not a premiere saturation like we have today. The dates and durations vary from theatre to theatre, and some engagements don’t start until January…In that era, and into the 1950s, it was extremely rare for a major new movie to open in the Greater New York area in a mutiple-theatre engagement. The films first opened at a single theatre in midtown Manhattan, and then moved on to the neighborhood theatres, but gradually and not all at once. First, they moved to an exclusive run in downtown Brooklyn, and then to neighborhood theatres on a descending scale that started with the posh palaces and ended with the small fleapits. This play-off process, which started after the end of the premiere engagement, could take about six to eight weeks to complete…Those interested in seeing the 12/23/22 ad, as well as one for the premiere engagement of “Tess” at the Strand, should contact me privately at .com

roxy1927 on July 14, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Yes but that probably was not first run. It probably had been running for a little while at that point. You were sure to get excellent showmanship when it opened. Now it opens everywhere immediately and it’s nothing more than a commercial for the DVD.

AlAlvarez on July 14, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Good story, Chuck, but this trend is not new. For example, during Christmas 1922 Mary Pickford’s TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY was playing at over 20 theatres in Manhattan alone. That was around one-fifth of all the available screens.

I guess what goes around comes around.

chuckc on July 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

Hey guys if you have a chance I would like you to read a column I have written on my movie blog website www.entertainmenttodayandbeyond.com
I talk about the ziegfeld and the lost art of the single theater movie going experience and how movies play on to many screens. It’s in the memorable movie experiences section at the top right!

JeffS on July 13, 2008 at 9:34 am

The LOA screening in 2006 was rife with problems. While the picture was gorgeous, too much went wrong. The sound was horribly out of sync on several showings, the projector had intermittent vertical “jitter”, and on one show, they damaged the print and an audience member eventually fixed the projector jam since the theater staff wasn’t able to do it.

Perhaps this is why NYC isn’t getting any 70mm screenings. Word of this stuff gets around. It’s all right here in this thread, just go back to 2006 like DavidM says.

owenspierre81 on July 13, 2008 at 12:23 am

According to the Clearview Cinemas website, the Ben Stiller comedy
TROPIC THUNDER, will be shown at the Ziegfeld, beginning August 15th. I just knew that a Ben Stiller movie would be shown at this theater. I like Ben Stiller. He is a pretty good comedic actor.

DavidM on July 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm

The last time the Ziegfeld showed LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70MM was in March of 2006. Scroll up this page for some interesting perceptions regarding what happened at a Sunday night screening.