Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on March 8, 2005 at 5:40 am

It certainly could be, YankeeMike. Warner just hasn’t done it yet.

YMike
YMike on March 8, 2005 at 4:58 am

Last month I saw “Thief Of Bagdad” & “Robin Hood” at the Loews and the prints looked and sounded great. Those films were technicolor and were made at about the same time as GWTW so why can’t a print of GWTW be made to look as clear as those films?

MrAudio
MrAudio on March 7, 2005 at 8:20 pm

Hi Robert

That is an issue that has been kind of a hot potato for a while. I think a lot of the myth of super saturated Technicolor stems from reissue prints that weren’t as carefully timed as opposed to first run issues. According to the book “Glorious Technicolor” the whole goal of Technicolor was natural looking color, not gaudy eye popping hues.

The magazine “The Perfect Vision” used to debate this very topic many years ago, and examination of actual premiere IB tech prints (or remnants of them) showed much more subdued color than reissue copies of the same films. Gone with the Wind in particular seemed to have wildly fluctuating color levels and schemes depending on what reissue print one examined and what process was used. (1939, 1954, technicolr and 1960’s MetroColor etc…)

Another point was IB tech prints don’t make for accurate video transfers. The prints are too dense for most telecine machines and the colors get screwed up there as well. So most of the “technicolor” DVDs out today aren’t from IB prints at all.

Early Techniclor was quite subtle as it was found audiences complained that strong color hurt their eyes. Films like “The Wizard of Oz” had bold colors, but that was a fantasy film. And all the expressionistic films like “The Red Shoes” or the later Gene Kelly and Stanley Donan musicals also featured bold and vivid colors.

So, I’d have to say the answer is its not so much toned down, but the goal of natural looking color is being restored to films that in the past were being seen in an artifically pumped up state.

RobertR
RobertR on March 7, 2005 at 7:44 pm

MrAudio

Read my above posts regarding IB Technicolor. Do you agree the DVD releases seem like the color is toned down?

MrAudio
MrAudio on March 7, 2005 at 7:17 pm

I was at the Ben-Hur screening and I was actually disappointed by the print used. I thought it was pretty bad! It looked very dupey and washed out to me, with poor color consistency between reels, and a lack of razor sharp detail that a good 65mm to 35mm reduction usually provides. The sound also wasn’t that great; it sounded like a standard Dolby optical matrix track instead of a discrete 4 channel source, which meant separation was pretty poor. The music score sounded like it was underwater most of the time. That was no fault of the Lowe’s though. I’ve seen other stereo films there that looked and sounded spectacular.

What was a problem theater wise, seemed to be a faulty projector which caused considerable “wow” whenever the music score swelled. I blame the projector since it happened only in every other reel. Maybe those new projectors came just in time! Side note, will the new projectors use the carbon arc illumination now in place? I sure hope so.

It’s a shame a true IB Tech archival 35mm ‘Scope print wasn’t utilized as this title is one of the most visually spectacular films ever made. A true achivement from the heyday of widescreen photography.

Even with all that though, the sheer spectacle of the film kept one entranced for the almost four hour running time. They really don’t know how to make ‘em like that anymore!

mahermusic
mahermusic on March 7, 2005 at 6:17 pm

The Loew’s Jersey closed on Thursday, August 21, 1986.

RobertR
RobertR on March 7, 2005 at 1:43 pm

I don’t have the latest GWTW DVD, I keep meaning to buy it. What I was basing my post on was the latest Meet Me In St Louis. Does anyone who has worked with real IB Tech prints knopw what Im referring to?

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 7, 2005 at 1:39 pm

I was Head Projectionist at Radio City in 1989 when we did the 50th Anniversary screenings of GWTW. The two prints we had were full 1.37 aspect ratio prints, one of which had been pulled two points lighter (as was common) for Radio City projection. Unfortunately, that print had an optical stereo track, and everyone from MOMA and the West Coast felt the mono track simply sounded better than the stereo track run in mono, which we decided to do for the sake of authenticity. The color balance was slightly different on that print as it was done for a video transfer, but we put the same reel up from both prints and ran them together with “split” aperture plates, so the pictures could be compared directly side by side. They actually were very close, and of course used the full 1.37 frame without the necessity for deanamorphosis.

YMike
YMike on March 7, 2005 at 1:18 pm

I saw GWTW at Radio City in 1989 when they had a special 50th anniversary event. I could swear that print looked better then this 1999 “restored” print.

RobertR
RobertR on March 7, 2005 at 1:00 pm

This site which says its the official GWTW makes a big deal that the film is being re-released (1999) in the best color in the last 35 years.
View link

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 7, 2005 at 11:44 am

Mike: the Loew’s officially closed in 1986. Here is the theater history page from their website:

http://www.loewsjersey.org/history/index.php

The Stanley no longer shows movies but you can take a tour of the theater, which has been fully restored by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The State, sadly, no longer exists. In its place is a high-rise apartment/office building which hasn’t opened yet. The State is the one I went to the most when I was a kid in the 1960’s (they got all the Disney movies).

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on March 7, 2005 at 11:38 am

When did this theater close? I lived in Jersey City for about a month in May of 77. That was the time that the RKO Stanley closed. I never got to go to either theater. The only theater I went to was the State.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on March 7, 2005 at 11:29 am

Is that true? Color is being toned down in
DVD’s? That would be insane!

RobertR
RobertR on March 7, 2005 at 11:08 am

It’s sad that Gone With the Wind the greatest film of all time(in my humble opinion anyways) has to be shown in less them 100% form. With so many of the Technicolor films even the DVD, the color tends to be adjusted to look more realistic. The trouble is they were made to have that dreamy saturated look. A perfect example is Meet Me In St Louis. The new DVD transfer is pristine but the colors have been toned down to a more modern look.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on March 7, 2005 at 11:08 am

Ben Hur was a perfect Saurday night film. Thank God Rocky was shown in the afternoon. One of those what was Oscar thinking best pictures.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 7, 2005 at 10:59 am

Pete’s right – there’s no exit music in “Ben-Hur”. Besides, the exultant music Miklos Rozsa composed for the final shots and the end title card couldn’t be topped anyway. Better to let the audience go out having just heard that.

YMike
YMike on March 7, 2005 at 10:57 am

Another problem with the GWTW print was there were several spots were the film must have had splicing because the sound would skip a line of dialogue here and there. I would have wanted to see Ben-Hur but it was not listed to start until 7:30 and the Loews has a habit of starting the films 5-10 minutes later then they say. This happened on Sunday. I wish they had played Ben-Hur Staurday afternoon and Rocky (a shorter film) at night.

mdvoskin
mdvoskin on March 7, 2005 at 10:42 am

Pete, you may be right. I left after the chariot race, it was a long day. I don’t remember if there was any exit music or not.

/Mitchell

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on March 7, 2005 at 10:23 am

From what I remember, Ben-Hur has no exit music. I think it’s probably the only one of the major epics of that era not to have exit music.

mdvoskin
mdvoskin on March 7, 2005 at 10:09 am

Dye Transfer Technicolor was discontinued in 1974 in the USA and 1977 in England (A Few Dye Transfer Star Wars prints were struck back then). The process was again resumed in the late 1990’s, but now discontinued again. Technicolor had a lot of problems getting the dyes to stick to the new polyester film stock base.

Kodak’s current line of Vision Film Stock can look as good as Technicolor, but very few modern films are made with that look as an artistic decision. I personally like the old studio look of films, as a opposed to the grainy washed out look of many modern films.

65mm was a camera format, NOT a release format, 70mm was how it was sent to theatres (65mm picture + magnetic stereo sound areas). Very few theatres had the capabilities to run 70mm, most of them located in and around big cities. The prints were much heavier to ship, more costly to manufacture, etc.

All Hollywood 70mm films were printed down to 35mm (usually scope and 4 track magnetic stereo). In fact, in the 1950’s, stereo was a requirement, as 20th Century Fox did not put an optical soundtrack on the film. The stereo requirment disappeared by the early 1960’s.

The 35mm prints of Ben Hur always had the overture, intro music to part 2, and exit music. Many small town theatres would trim them off to cut running time, but they were always on the prints.

/Mitchell
Loews Jersey Projection Staff

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on March 7, 2005 at 8:46 am

Trivia question for Mitchell. This was obviously a road show length print with overture and entracte. If there had been a curtain and reserved seating we could have been in Loew’s State in ‘59. So did prints that were reduced from 65 to 35mm include all road show elements. Was this for first run engagements in small cities where MGM did not want to spring for a 65mm print?

RobertR
RobertR on March 7, 2005 at 8:18 am

Mitchell
I never projected fim in such a huge theatre, it must require good eyes to keep everything focused and framed properly. Do you happen to remember the trailer for the 1999 re-release of GWTW? They showed the initial scene of Scarlett and the twins in front of Tara before and after the restoration. I remember everyone saying they saw no difference. I wonder if the one lab capable of striking real 3 strip tech prints is still open in England? I remember in the early 90’s we played a film at the Cinema Village that was actually filmed and printed in real 3-strip technicolor. It was a dumb throw away picture but the look was unreal. It was so rich and color drenched. I have to look through my files for the name of it. I also recall in the 70’s the Recency ran a print of The Gangs All Here that had been newly struck in that lab. The color was like nothing I had ever seen before. When Carmen Miranda did that number in the banana hat you got dizzy from the richness of what was on the screen.

mdvoskin
mdvoskin on March 7, 2005 at 8:07 am

To answer some questions from above…

Yes, Ben Hur was printed down to 35mm CinemaScope, even back in the 1950’s.

Yes, we raise the bottom and lower the top masking for CinemaScope.

Yes, one projector seems to be aimed slightly higher than the other when running CinemaScope. I hope to have that straighened out before the Black & Wide series next month. I was a spectator for Ben Hur, and I think it is the first time I was down in the audience for a scope film. You can not see a lot of these little imperfections from up in the booth.

Yes, the GWTW print sucked (scroll up, I warned everyone). These 1999 prints were indeed dye transfer technicolor, but they did a very poor job at the lab. The focus was soft (prints fault), and the sound seemed overcompressed.

/Mitchell
Loews Jersey Projection Staff

RobertR
RobertR on March 7, 2005 at 7:26 am

Yes it was a scope print, another thing I noticed is either the light or lenses varied from projector to projector and changed the look of the color slightly.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on March 7, 2005 at 7:10 am

I am confused by the posts,was Ben Hur shown in cinemascope? I wasn’t sure if the theater had the capability to show it in this format.