8th Street Playhouse

52 W. 8th Street,
New York, NY 10011

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Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 8, 2004 at 5:19 pm

I believe I saw Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder” here in 3-D during the 1980s series. The cinema had a distinctive history as a mostly second-run art house, although sometimes they did some first-run presentations.

A bit of esoterica follows. As a lover of Italian films, one of the “lost” movies of the 1950s I’d most like to see is something called “Alone in the Streets” (“Soli per le strade.”) It was directed by Silvio Siano and is kind of a minor-league “Shoe Shine,” about orphaned youngsters runnning wild in the Naples area. It had its New York premiere at the 8th Street Playhouse in June of 1956, got a glowing review from A. H. Weiler of the New York Times, was distributed for a time in 16mm by Audio Film Center, then descended into full oblivion in the U.S. as well as in Italy.

cygneboy
cygneboy on July 8, 2004 at 4:37 pm

The building was designed by Frederick Kiesler and originally called “film Guild Cinema” It opened in 1929 and used some innovative features such as a screen which adjusted in size and shape to counteract angular distortion and was originally planned to have film projected onto the walls and cieling. The original facade was an homage to the DeStijl movement that Kiesler was associated with, although it is difficult to see this now.

William
William on November 14, 2003 at 10:45 pm

The Eighth Street Playhouse was located at 52 W. 8th Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 8, 2003 at 6:38 am

I remember Rocky Horror at this theater — midnight showings Fridays and Saturdays. It was as much a theatrical experience as a movie — and the cult grew right here, as RobertR indicates. I remember the screen was set back in a sort of rectangular recess that had a bright zig-zag of neon tubing on either side that would be lit until the movie started. I saw every rock and roll film ever made during the many summer festivals that played here over the years… Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Grateful Dead Movie, Pink Floyd at Pompeii, Ladies and Gentlemen the Rolling Stones… and even an unexpectedly pornographic cult flick called Cafe Flesh. And afterwards, there was a wonderful little pizzeria just across the street that was slightly below street level where one could have a post-screening dissection of the film over a slice and a beer.

Located on the south side of West 8th street not quite midway between 6th and 5th Avenues.