Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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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.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 19, 2008 at 5:15 pm

The movie portrays him as practically a saint. The director chose not to dramatize the dark side of Che.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 19, 2008 at 5:11 pm

“He was screaming at them, that they disrespected the real Che…”

Somebody still thought Che Guevara earned respect after the movie was over?

William on December 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Unless they just put it in, then no. Only a few locations in the city have the Sony 4K projector (2 screening rooms and the Sunshine Theatre)

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 19, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Can anyone confirm whether “Che” was shown on a Sony 4K projector? Thanks.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Another tactic the annoying kids pulled: whenever somebody shushed them they’d all shush back, in unison. They seemed very hard to get through to. No wonder that guy was so angry on the way out. He was screaming at them, that they disrespected the real Che and everybody who made the movie.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 18, 2008 at 6:22 pm

I almost said something to one of the ushers who are constantly checking the thermostats near the front of the Ziegfeld, but those kids seemed to be spread out evenly all around the theater, so I doubt she could’ve done anything about it. I’m with you, saps – this is a job for a matron with a flashlight.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 18, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Bring back matrons! With flashlights!

MPol on December 18, 2008 at 5:21 pm

What a drag! The usher should get tough on rude patrons who behave inappropriately, regardless of their age, and tell them to either be quiet or leave. If I were an usher at a movie theatre, especially a movie palace like the Ziegfeld or any other movie palace, that’s what I’d do.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 18, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Another unusual thing about “Che”: it was shot in two different aspect ratios, very wide 2.35:1 for the first part and regular widescreen 1.85:1 for the second. The second part was pretty much a downer all the way, so maybe the director felt the expansive full wide screen wasn’t appropriate for that part of the story.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Just got back from “Che”. Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: it was way too long, especially Part Two which was basically the same scene over and over again, until finally giving way to a very affecting finale. It could easily have been cut by an hour.

Now for the good: the film was filled with beautiful images. It looks like the most impressive digitally-shot movie yet (maybe they invented a new and better digital camera?) Benicio Del Toro was very good in the title role. The film had no on-screen credits, but everyone got a free program with all credits listed, just like “Apocalypse Now” at the Ziegfeld in 1979. And it was a real thrill just to see an “Intermission” title card again, after all these years. And to hear an overture and exit music.

They used the curtains, and there were no commercials or previews. In fact, I missed a few minutes of the overture because it started at 1 PM on the dot. There were some rowdy schoolkids in the crowd (quite a big crowd for a 1 PM show on a Thursday, by the way) who were talking out loud, laughing hysterically when people on the screen were getting shot, etc. There was almost a fistfight in the lobby when an angry patron confronted them about it on the way out.

alps on December 16, 2008 at 7:18 pm

I think it was a good thing that the Ziegfeld showed Che the way it did. I attended the Friday screening. I loved the first part since it was the rise of Che. the second being his down fall. Love it or not, it was real cinema something this country rarely produces anymore. The ziegfeld’s massive screen, was a great frame for it. Comments about it’s running time are disturbing given that this is a website for those who love cinema or is it cinemas? Pay no attention to film critics, one has to look far and wide for a good one. The New York Post and the Metro being the worst reviewers on the face of the planet! And they get paid, go figure. There is a film reviewer in Philadelphia named Matt Prige, who gave Casablanca an A-, and thinks Citizen Kane is overrated. But, I believe these 60 plus year old films should not be subjected to assinine letter grades. Looking forward to Ziegfeld Classics 2009, Metropolis and the Searchers, are among my choices.

JeffS on December 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

Oh by the way, for any one that’s interested. If you were planning on attending “It’s a Wonderful Life” next Saturday at the Lafayette in Suffern NY, you should know the show is already ½ sold out from online & box office pre-sales. If you want to go, either get there real early, or go to the bigscreenclassic.com page for order instructions. Merry Xmas!

JeffS on December 13, 2008 at 11:37 am

“One good thing about the remakes: they make you appreciate the quality of the originals more than you ever thought possible.”

How true!

There were no kind words for this film at the Lafayette this morning.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 13, 2008 at 6:44 am

One good thing about the remakes: they make you appreciate the quality of the originals more than you ever thought possible.

I hear they’re also remaking “The Birds”. There should be an unwritten law in Hollywood: Don’t Remake Hitchcock.