Plaza Theatre

42 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 126 - 150 of 159 comments

bazookadave on October 24, 2005 at 6:33 pm

I saw “Henry V” and “A Midnight Clear” here in the early 1990s. Great theatre but its location was a bit off the beaten path for moviegoers. I just walked by yesterday, it’s some kind of club or restaurant now. I saw some of the comments above saying it is called TAO but I did not see a name. What I recall about seeing both films there is that even though I attended them years apart, the street and sidewalk outside the Plaza theatre were very messy. Trash, dirty gutters, parts of the street barricaded and jackhammering going on, etc. The theatre itself was nearly empty.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 15, 2005 at 2:25 pm

A brief scene filmed at the New York premiere here of De Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis in December of 1971 appears in the Italian TV documentary That’s Life: Vittorio De Sica. It is included on the Criterion DVD of Umberto D. The director, others associated with the film, and moviegoers can be seen walking in. The Plaza marquee is clearly evident. We see the front of the theatre and inside the entrance. The scene appears toward the very end of the documentary.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 25, 2005 at 4:53 am

THESE THEATRE ADS appeared in a program booklet “Stadium Concerts Review” for Lewisohn Stadium, College of the City of New York, for July 29 to August 4, 1936. The concerts were by the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. The small ads tout what was playing at several New York movie theatres. One of them was for the Plaza, then showing The Princess Comes Along.

BoxOfficeBill on August 25, 2005 at 10:46 am

Here’s a Showbill from December, 1960:

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Ποτή τιν Κυριάκι was a huge hit because it made prostitution and sex seem funny and political at the same time. Melina Mercouri supplied the fun on screen with her energetic performance, which she later repeated on the B’way stage in a musical version of the film, I believe one of the first live musicals to derive from a film rather than vice versa. Appropriately too, Mercouri was intensely political in her off-screen activities; it flowed in her blood as the daughter of a Greek Minister of Parliament and granddaughter of the Mayor of Athens. Off-screen, Jules Dassin supplied yet more politics as a resister to McCarthyism in H’wood and an ex-pat who found open-mindedness abroad. On screen, he was hardly funny at all. Mercouri worked in overdrive to give the film the bounce it had.

The article mentioned on the cover, “Can We Take It?” by Robert Hughes, a filmmaker who worked with the United Nations Film Unit, argues that foreign films such as “Hiroshima mon amour” and “Generale della Rovere” have made better anti-war statements than the American-made “Paths of Glory” and “On the Beach.” It ends with a plea for the theatrical showing of John Huston’s unreleased (read: censored) “Let There Be Light,” a 1945 short about combat neurosis. In this year of Our Lord 2005, what could be more relevant?

RobertR on August 14, 2005 at 7:50 am

I noticed that also.

Astyanax on August 14, 2005 at 7:06 am

Curious that “David & Lisa” was a Walter Reade release but was not (according to the above ad), exhibited at any of his NYC art-house outlets.

RobertR on August 13, 2005 at 7:50 pm

“David & Lisa” was in it’s 7th month in this ad.
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jackeboy on July 11, 2005 at 8:08 pm

After they had installed the new sound system, one of the rock films they screened was Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels.I went on a Friday night and it was so crowded people were sitting in the aisles.On the other side of the moviegoing spectrum, I also saw Travels With My Aunt, and The Madwoman Of Chaillot[pardon the spelling]and Otto Preminger’s Rosebud

BoxOfficeBill on July 6, 2005 at 11:29 am

Here’s a Showbill program from the Plaza in December, 1959:

View link

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“Black Orpheus” was a huge hit with college kids who knew enough of the Greek myth to be able to trace the lines of telling and retelling in its modernized Brazilian setting. It was perhaps even more of a hit with cinephiles who could compare it with Jean Cocteau’s symbolist-Orphic trilogy. Though I liked Cocteau’s versions, my friends persuaded me that Camus’s film was more kinetic, more hip, and certainly more musically thrilling than any of his.

I carried the message back to campus, and when the film moved from the Plaza to the Apollo on 42 Street a few months later, I organized a bunch of students who’d never seen a sub-titled film to accompany me. I think it was on Good Friday evening, and it changed more than a few lives by winning converts to the religion of foreign film. The picture’s AA for Best Foreign Film of the Year that Spring seemed to validate the effort.

CelluloidHero2 on June 10, 2005 at 5:11 am

A great theater and fond memories for me since the Plaza was the first theater I went to in Manhattan (from Brooklyn). Went to see Tony Richardson’s Mademoiselle there. Also remember seeing:
Hurry Sundown
Rachel, Rachel
Alfredo, Alfredo
That’s Entertainment or maybe it was That’s Entertainment 2

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 4, 2005 at 7:09 pm

Cineplex Odeon destroyed this cinema’s image by playing dumb mainstream comedies and move-over films instead of the specialised art films that worked so well. On films such as CROSSING DELANCEY and MY OWN PRTIVATE IDAHO that Plaza provided some of the highest grosses in the country.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 24, 2005 at 2:22 pm

Charles, what do the pictures in that link have to do with the Plaza on 58th Street???

hardbop on April 20, 2005 at 2:52 pm

One other nice touch I liked about the Plaza and some other theatres was the reception area in the basement. I remember the Biograph on 57th Street and the Gramercy on 23rd Street had these type of rooms as well.

br91975 on April 20, 2005 at 1:43 pm

The Plaza went under pretty quietly. That was Cineplex Odeon’s modus operandi when it came to closing its theatres – suddenly and without any advance press or notice. What that policy failed to take into account was the special attachment New Yorkers tend to have towards their favorite moviegoing haunts.

hardbop on April 20, 2005 at 12:37 pm

I can’t remember where I saw “Flirting:"it was "Spanking” that I caught at the Plaza. My bad. In fact, “Spanking” may have been the last film I caught at the Plaza. That was back in ‘94.

I don’t remember any kind of hullabaloo when the Plaza closed. It was done very quietly. I never went to the theatre when it ran that “New York Experience” type of show nor have I been to the restaurant that is there now.

br91975 on April 19, 2005 at 6:49 pm

‘Spanking the Monkey’ was actually David O. Russell’s first film, hardbop. The Plaza, meanwhile, closed in January of ‘96 with 'Grumpier Old Men’, while ‘Flirting with Disaster’ opened in March of that year; it was also the final film booked into the 68th Street Playhouse – perhaps that’s where you saw it?

hardbop on April 19, 2005 at 12:32 pm

This is the one theatre that I wish had been saved of the theatres I patronized since I moved to NYC (‘82). What a beauty. It would have made for a great revival house.

hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 3:45 pm

I too miss this cinema. What I most remember about it was its dark wood. I can never remember it having a clear identity like its neighbor, for example, the Paris Cinema. Like Jamal, I remember seeing “Straight Out of Brooklyn” here when it opened. I also remember seeing “Flirting With Disaster,” David O. Russell’s first film.

Also there was a lot of confusion between the Plaza Theatre and Cinema 1 I believe it was called, which was actually located in the Plaza Hotel.

iemola1 on February 19, 2005 at 12:16 pm

I remember very clearly seeing RAN at Cinema I when it opened. I took frineds and family back a few times to see it again and again (This was, of course, in the days before vcr’s). Perhaps they shared the run, I don’t recall now.

BoxOfficeBill on December 2, 2004 at 9:41 pm

Among other memorable films mentioned above (except for “Hiroshima mon amour” and “The 400 Blows,” which opened at the Fine Arts down the block), I remember at the Plaza “Witness for the Prosecution” (day-dating at the Victoria), “The Leopard,” and Kurosawa’s “Ran,” from which I exited the first row of the raised section in a power-locked trance. Yum.

Astyanax on November 24, 2004 at 6:18 pm

A true jewel box and its closure has been a major loss. A miniature movie palace that like its bigger cousins transported you into the movie world, shutting out the outside. The walnut paneling made it feel like a private club. Under the Rugoff stewardship there was some updating, particularly the installation of state of the art sterophonic sound when Gimme Shelter (a Cinema 5 release)was presented. Somehow, this did not detract from the special ambiance. Seeing both Amarcord & Garden of the Finzi Continis there added to the uniqueness of both films. Before becoming a Rugoff venue, wasn’t the Plaza under the ownership of Ilya Lopert?

bbin3d on September 28, 2004 at 3:04 pm

In reading prior comments, I now recall this theatre. At that time I lived with my family in Brooklyn, N.Y. I saw BLACK TIGHTS and I believe NEVER ON SUNDAY here. I really like the Plaza. I remember the stadium seating.

MikeS on September 28, 2004 at 1:26 pm

Anyone know what became of Polly, legendary cashier of the late 70’s?(“Somehing’s rotten in Denmark and it isn’t cheese!”)

br91975 on August 21, 2004 at 11:55 pm

The Plaza shut its doors in January of 1996 with ‘Grumpier Old Men’. The last first-run, initial release film I recall being booked into it was ‘Blue Sky’, in October of 1994.

dave-bronx™ on August 18, 2004 at 3:17 am

The building that the Plaza Theatre was in was built in the late 1800s and originally the stable for the Vanderbilt mansion that occupied the site where Bergdorf-Goodman is today from 1889 to 1926. The blocks between Madison and Lexington were industrial/commercial/utility properties, because Park Avenue at that time was the New York Central right-of-way with railroad tracks on the surface going into the old Grand Central Terminal. Open rail yards occupied the area from 57th St. to the old terminal on 42nd St. from Lexington to Madison Avenues. The ajoining blocks were not desirable property until sometime after 1910, when the new (present) Grand Central Terminal was built, and it’s rail yards and right-of-way was put under ground.

In addition to the Vanderbuilt stable becoming a movie theatre, The main house on Fifth Ave. also had a connection to the movie theatres. Before the above-mentioned Vanderbilt mansion was demolished in 1926, Marcus Loew bought and and disassembled the Vanderbilt’s mosaic Moorish Smoking Room and had it reassembled as the Ladies Lounge in the Loew’s Midland Theatre in Kansas City, and it is still there today. The chandelier from the same room was installed in the lobby of the Loew’s State Theatre in Syracuse.