Showing 126 - 150 of 153 comments
I was only there yesterday for ‘The Great Escape’ which was excellent. And yes it was funny when the sound went out at the beginning of one of the reels. Great film. Can’t wait for the Sci-Fi films in June. Any chance Loews Jersey could run films more often. Every other week perhaps? I’ll help..I promise. That place is so amazing, I hate waiting a month before I can go there again.
And if you’ll indulge me while I bitch and moan for a second: I’m a little amazed at the rudeness of a few of the people that go to some of these revival screenings. Yesterday at ‘The Great Escape’, and last week at ‘Suspicion’ at The Lafayette in Suffern I had the slight misfortune of sitting in front of a pair of obnoxious, chatty, loud, middle aged men. Maybe yesterday’s pair were the evil twins of the guys the week before. Generally speaking people that go to these screenings are more considerate than your average film going audience since the whole experience is being appreciated on a different level. But in both these scenarios, the men in both theaters insisted on chatting with each other and doing their best Ebert & Roeper impersonations during the film, and just to make it that much more interesting the guys yesterday were belching out loud and really letting people know that they could chomp on their popcorn. I’m not being overly sensitive about this, it was REALLY loud (the guys yesterday were not one, but two rows behind us and I could still hear it). This usually never happens. I know…I should actually be saying something at that moment, but it’s just going to turn into a scene, believe me. So if any of you chatty, belching, middle-aged dudes are reading this right now, please have a little decorum and don’t ruin it for others (alhtough I know some of you make a hobby out of bugging people and love doing it)…when the movie’s playing shut the f' up!!!!!! Eructate in your own space or in the bathroom. Thank you!
Just another correction to add to the original description here. The apartment building that went up and now stands in the theater space is called the Hudson East, not the Fillmore Apartments. If I recall correctly, the developers were going to try to work the Fillmore name into the new property but couldn’t due to legalities with the name, but don’t quote me on that. Some other vague info somebody else here might be able to add to: after the venue closed as The Fillmore East, there were failed attempts to keep it going as a live music venue with a few concerts being held there in the early 70s but that didn’t work out. And once again, if I’m not mistaken the Saint may have doubled as a concert venue even though the interior had been dramatically changed by that time. The orchestra seats were removed and a second level was attached the length of the theater from the balcony to the proscenium which remained, but the original stage wasn’t there anymore. The Grateful Dead/Jam Band/Hippie magazine Relix held a few shows there, one that I think featured Bob Weir from The Grateful Dead around this time in the late 80s.
If you walk past the apartment building on East 6th Street now they have a plaque near the entrance that notes the history of the building as the Commodore, the Fillmore East, and The Saint. A noble attempt at recognizing the history, but once again a reminder of the shame of Manhattan real estate development.
In February 1995 I was granted permission from the realtors to go inside the buiding, which at that time was shuttered and dormant. To make a long story short, it was a very eerie experience and one I haven’t and never will forget. Later that winter, I watched the building gradually come down to pieces. I walked past it just about every morning peeking inside during the demoliton. Needless to say…sad! It still had potential, and there was in fact one lone businessman from the area that was trying to get backing to re-open it as The Fillmore, with plans to use it as a concert venue and media space. Without being too biased, I think that if things had worked out the theater probably could have been a sucessful live venue again. Since that time new places that didn’t exist at the time of the Fillmore’s demolition like the Bowery Ballroom (which never was a theater to begin with, but an old department store) and the resurected Webster Hall have flourished as live venues, and they are approximately in the same area.
The asking price for the Commodore/Fillmore/Saint building before it was razed was $6 million, but we all know how that story ended. But hey…look on the bright side, we have a wonderful BANK and yet another generic looking luxury apartment building there instead. Can’t ever have too many of them in New York now, can we?…..NOT!!!!!
I went by the Ziegfeld the other day to see what was going on. ‘Saharah’ has already ended it’s run there. They are re-opening Apr. 29 with ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. In the meantime they are selling advance tickets for the upcoming ‘Star Wars’ flick and from what I could see, some of the screenings were sold out already.
Went to the Lafayette today for the first time and it was amazing. Even though the show as a little on the early side for me it was well worth it. I had to make the trek there from the city; door-to-door it took me about two hours, although the train ride itself was about an hour. Thankfully the train station was about a 5-10 minute walk to the theater. The theater itself was an amazing space. Great job by the man at the Wurlitzer. Somebody buy him a drink! He could really slam it out up there.
The print of Hitchcock’s “Suspicion” that was screened couldn’t have been better. Amazing celluloid clarity and fabulous sound. The host of the series that introduced the film said that it was a virgin print direct from the Library of Congress. Still amazing to see that analog technology achieved such great results. I am looking forward to many more Saturdays at the Lafayette, just like the other folks in the audience that filled a good two-thirds or more of the seats for today’s show. Good to see that many people (of all ages that is) showing up.
Can’t wait to see ‘Godzilla’ next week and all of the other films that are scheduled like ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’, and Jerry Lewis in “Who’s Minding the Store”.
Hail the Lafayette!
This blog is partially about the old days of CV when it was a single screen theater, if you missed the boat on that too bad. Believe it or not, it was cooler than anything that we might find ‘state-of-the-art’ these days. And speaking of art, what does your criticism have to do with that anyway? Sounds like your more interested in hotel accomodations not movie-going. Whining about, of all things, stadium seating? You must be joking, right?
Maybe a little spoiled and born in the 80s are we..hmmm?
You’re right. CV was on Third Ave. briefly, but I think it was in the early 90s. I never ended up going there when it was in that location, but I did sail by there the other day and was reminded that it existed there for a short time. I can’t remember what’s there now, if anything in fact is there at all. It’s close to that bar called Bar None, which was also known as The Space At Chase back in the day. I wondering though, was this always a theater even before CV had relocated there?
Ah yes.. ‘Don’t Look Now’. That’s a good one. I think I saw that at the Thalia Soho way back. If you want to see another great Julie Christie/Nic Roeg collaboration check out ‘Petulia’ if you haven’t yet. It’s actually directed by Richard Lester, but a strong presence from Roeg as DP, and he DPs the hell out of it. Amazing compositions and camera work all around. I saw it for the first time almost 20 years ago, and I think I can still say that it’s probably my all-time fave film.
No change in usage? Does that mean they are going to use it as a theater after all? Wishful thinking is that they return the marquee after the construction is over and we all live happily ever after, but the way things have been lately and if they do keep this as a theater, I predict that it will be turned into yet another generic looking NYU structure used for students and faculty only. And they’ll probably call it the NYU ‘Variety’ Assembly Hall in lame tribute, just as they re-named the mega-dorm where the Palladium once was “Palladium Hall” Weak, man…really weak!
I hate to be defeatist, but if the West Side Stadium is going to be built on behalf of the lowest bidder for the land, than something is fishy around here. And that fishiness is prevailing in the current day NYC. Look how dramatically the landscape of this town is changing, it is literally going into a tailspin. It’s sad, but the current crop of people moving into NYC to live in these brand new luxury condos and apartments DON’T CARE about the Beekman, they care about compact DVD players. This is worse than the 80s. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s pretty much over for New York City. This town is just turning into one big overpriced Urban-Suburb. The culture and life as we knew it here is being sucked out right in front of us. So before you accuse others of being ‘cry babies’, take a good, hard look at the writing on the wall before you go into your community activism mode. Which by the way, in your criticism of others, I didn’t see any suggestion of any action YOU are taking in this matter.
Jeez, if Andrew Sarris was complaining back then about the demolition of cool places in NYC, he has much more to complain about these days.
Cool post. I had no idea this theater existed in this space. I know exactly where this would’ve been. As usual…shame.
Great photo of the theater Gerald.
Hardbop, I can’t remember any of the other Malcom X films I saw at the Public aside from that 1950s Mike Wallace documentary, but I think you may be talking about the 1972 documentary simply titled ‘Malcolm X’. If I’m not mistaken Warner Bros. of all people put it out, and now that I think about it I saw it at a midnight screening in the early days of the Angelika, probably around the same time I saw the stuff at the Public…‘90-'91. The link for the film on IMDB is http://imdb.com/title/tt0068903/
The cinema at the Public Theater was a great little place to go. I had been there a few times between probably 1989 to somewhere in the early 90s. By that time they didn’t have the unique seats that I have seen written about here. I remember seeing Godard’s ‘Pierrot le fou’ with Jean-Paul Belmondo there as well as a great little series called ‘Photographers That Make Film’ or something like that. I remember seeing the film that photographer Danny Lyon made called ‘Born to Film’ which was a really interesting black & white experimental sort-of documentary about his family. There were others in that series that I saw but can’t recall. The one I really wanted to see was the one made by Robert Mapplethorpe, but I missed it I think because I had to work late or some aggravating reason like that. I never saw it advertised to be screened again since then.
There was also a series that had something to do with commemorating Malcolm X that I can’t exactly remember, but I do remember that part of it was a screening of a documentary about The Nation of Islam from the 1950s that was originally broadcast on television, and hosted by a young Mike Wallace (of ‘60 Minutes) called 'The Hate That Hate Produced’. Really interesting.
And finally, I saw the two Scorcese documenataries, ‘Italian American’ and ‘American Boy’, that just (thank god!!) were screened again at the Film Forum a month or so ago. I must have seen these at The Public in 1990-91(?), and never saw them after that. I know ‘Italian American’ was, and maybe still is available on VHS/DVD, but ‘American Boy’ is a rare one. And both are SO amazing. Thanks to Film Forum for having the good sense to get them back out there again. Just goes to show, when those rare ones show anywhere now…you have to go and see them, because you may not for ten-or-so more years.
I saw ‘Blue Velvet’ at The Waverly back in 1986 when it was still a single screen theater. A few years later I moved within spitting distance of it; the marquee totally visible from my front window. It was twinned somewhere around 1989 or shortly thereafter. I remember seeing ‘Sex Lies & Videotape’ in the second upstairs theater which was formerly the balcony. It was such a great theater and I was dissapointed that it had to be twinned. Some other films I remember seeing there in the main theater were ‘My Own Private Idaho’, ‘Misery’, and ‘Silence of the Lambs’. I just walked by the other day and saw the IFC marquee. Good to see that it is going to continue as a film venue, because when the demoliton was going on I had no idea what they were turning it into. I hope IFC uses this opportunity at the Waverly for some much needed film revival in NYC in addition to the independent stuff they’ll be showing.
Vincent, if the old fashioned Chinese restaurant you are talking about is Canton Casino (or Canton Garden as it was also known) which was down the street from the Loews on Bergen Ave., that place has, sadly, closed. I found this out the hard way last week when I had it all planned to go there first and then to go to the Loews Jersey afterwards. I showed up to the front door of the restaurant only to find it locked. Tried to call information to get the phone number, but they didn’t have one listed.Major dissapointment, and I felt like I was about to get blown off the sidewalk in the process, it was so blustery that day. I’m so glad I got to go there on two other occasions. Apparently they closed last November after being there as long, if not longer than the Loews Jersey. Really amazing place, huge & ornate. Lotta history.
If this isn’t the Chinese place you’re talking about, I’d like to know about the other old fashioned place you are talking about. Would defintely want to check that out.
By the way, had an AMAZING time at Jailhouse Rock/The Haunting. My first visit to the Lowes Jersey and was blown away by everything. So glad this place has been saved. Cheers to the staff, they do an amazing job. I can’t wait to go at the end of April, I have told a bunch of friends and they are all psyched to go there as well. Hope to see you for ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and whatever else makes it on the bill.
The Thalia was a great theater. A double bill for 5 bucks everytime. I remember seeing some incredibly obscure 60s films there that I had never seen before and haven’t seen since like ‘Lord Love A Duck’ with Roddy McDowall & Tuesday Weld and another really weird obscure flick called ‘Last Summer’ with the very young Barbara Hershey, Richard (‘John-Boy’ from The Waltons) Thomas, and Bruce Davison. And..oh yes..how could I forget the time that I saw “The Swimmer” with Burt Lancaster there. Another interesting experience at the Thalia was a double bill of the Frankenheimer films “Manchurian Candidate' and ‘Seconds’ (with Rock Hudson). All really strange films. I think I also saw for the first time on the big screen The Monkees' flick ‘Head’ at Thalia. I also remember seeing ‘Chinatown’ with the first reel completely out of sync. Another great Thalia screening was ‘Pick Up South Street’. That was one of my first NYC revival film experiences and I remember the audience applauding when Thelma Ritter made her entrance in the film, as if it was a live stage show. I was green, new in town and had no idea that people would react to something like that in a movie theater. Great times there. Great old theater. The last time I was there was about ten years ago when some family was in town and we saw ‘Tony & Tina’s Wedding’ featuring Jade Barrymore (Drew’s mom). Great to be back in the theater but sad that it wasn’t the way it once was.
I am so glad that I got to see Woody Allen’s “Melinda & Melinda” at The Beekman tonight. I went with a good friend and I thoroughly enjoyed it, mostly because of the film, but mostly because it was at The Beekman. In my almost 20 years of living here in the city I think I may have been at The Beekman a few times previously. I may be mistaken, but I think I saw ‘The Player’ and ‘Shakespeare In Love’ there. Whatever the case may be it was good to have a seat there once again as I understand it will be yet another classic New York City landmark/theater that is scheduled for the the wrong end of the wrecking ball. It is very sad. New York is a city that is always on the move and always evolving, but I seriously question the direction that it’s changes are headed in these days.
You’re right. After I posted that description I looked up the movie titles on IMDB.com that were on the marquee of that photograph on the drive-ins website. Both films were released in the 50s which indicates that the drive-in was there way before 1970, and also contrary to the info on drive-ins.com it had two screens not one, also something I vaguely remember.
How many seats was that main theater, the really large one.
17 weeks? I saw Wierd Science when I was still living down there but it was at a different theater in Hollywood (got free passes). Do you know who produced that ‘Snack Canyon’ cartoon, was that exclusive to UA theaters?
Refresh my memory; was it six or seven screens, and do you remember what year it ended up closing?
The current demolition of the Variety has me more pissed-off than I usually am about stuff like this although it always bothers me regardless. As a long-time resident of Manhattan I feel like I should be playing the Pretenders song ‘My City Was Gone’ everytime I walk outside. These things are happening at a frightening pace all around. It almost seems like I’m a visitor in my own city. You’ll be away from a certain block or neighborhood for a month and the next time you go there WHAM-O: the Sutton is leveled, the Astor Plaza closes, the Baronet and Coronet are gone, and now The Variety. I mean the place was there for over 70 years and they can’t preserve it somehow? I walked past the other day and noticed the cornices gone, and last night I sailed by in a cab and the marquee is gone!! What is happening to this city, and why doesn’t anybody care? They are sucking the life out of this town. It seems to me that the new generation of MTV kids coming ionto this town have no regard for the past and just want to go to some jerk-off club, pay $12 for a Stoli & Cranberry and try to get a seat in the VIP booth.
Unfortunately I never got to go into the Variety, but back int he 80s when it was still a porn theater I remember my roomate who had gone there had some pretty wierd stories about the place. I remember him telling me that they played those old ‘medical’ films from the 60s that had people having sex but couldn’t be considered porn because they were ‘educational’.
I can’t remember where but as a kid I did see a film in a Jerry Lewis twin theater. It was either in New Jersey or Massachussets.
The Movies at Plantation was the quintessential 1980s suburban Florida multiplex theater. If memory serves me it had either 6 or 7 screens, and opened in 1981 or 1982 as a first-run theater and remained first-run during it’s existence which ended somewhere in the 90s. It was located (in Plantation-about 10 miles west of Ft. Lauderdale) on West Broward Blvd. between University Drive and Pine Island Road, and was a very popular theater because of it’s close proximity to the Broward Mall which had no theater of it’s own.
Even though the theater’s exterior and much of it’s interior were visually unexciting like most built in the 70s and 80s, the walls of the lobby had some great wallpaper that showcased huge repetetive black and white stills from classic films and classic stars like ‘The Werwolf’, Sophia Loren (from a film that I don’t know the name of), and many others . The admission was usually $4.25, but I remember it going up to $4.50 at one point, a bargain by today’s standards. One of the seven (or six) theaters, the main one, was pretty huge with a huge screen to match. The other smaller theaters were average size for a Multiplex at that time.
One of the first films they showed and the first I saw there was the much anticipated sci-fi techno flick ‘Tron’. I had some great times in there and saw ALOT of really great films from the 80s. One film inparticular that dare I say…moved me, if you could be ‘moved’ when you’re 16 years old, was ‘Rumble Fish’. At the time it was unlike any film I had seen and inspired me to got into film and photography. That same day after seeing ‘Rumble Fish’ my friend and I snuck into one of the other theaters and saw ‘Valley Girl’. He wasn’t too famous then, but Nic Cage was in both films, which we noticed.
One of the big gimmicks that Movies at Plantation did (I think they were an AMC Theater) was to show an animated advertisement for the snack bar called ‘Snack Canyon’. Without getting into too much detail ‘Snack Canyon’ was a cartoon about a family of penguins driving through a desert in an old jalopy which is dry and running out of gas. At some point they stumble upon ‘Snack Canyon’ and their thirst and dry jalopy problems are over. When they get there they are asked which sodas they want, and since all of us had this thing memorized from being there so many times the entire crowd would yell out “Sprite, please!!” when the baby penguin said his Sprite line to ask for the soda. I know…Corny!! Hard to believe that me, my friends and the general teen population were THAT innocent back then. We also had fun screaming as loud as possible during the “Creep Show” trailer, and during a screening of ‘The Fly’ with Jeff Goldblum the place was outta control with screaming during all the gross parts. Really fun.
Some of the films I remember seeing there were, and I’ll try to make this a short list, were:
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Ferris Buhler’s Day Off
Hannah and her Sisters
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (with ‘unknowns’ Sarah Jessica Parker & Helen Hunt)
Desperately Seeking Susan
Eddie and the Cruisers
Lost In America
Falcon and the Snowman
And many, many others. Can’t believe I actually saw some of those. Musta been on dates. This place was a total ‘date’ theater.
If anybody has anymore info or memories on this place please do tell.
Indeed the loss of the 8th Street Playhouse was a sad one, and only part of the beginning of the dismantling of the cool, weird, dark, fun & sometimes dangerous New York City that somehow started to vanish 10 or so years ago (give or take 2 or 3 years). When I moved to New York in the mid 1980s one of the first experiences I had was seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the 8th Street Playhouse. Sal Piro and the freaky 8th St. Playhouse cast, needless to say, were amazing! This was the one and only time I have seen Rocky Horror on the big screen, and it just about embodied everything I came to New York for: to be in the midst of a total wierd freak show. At that time I would have never imagined that the 8th Street Playhouse as well as the Rocky Horror midnight show cast would vanish forever. Those guys had been at it for over ten years at that point and the theater was great in itself. How the hell could something so great be shut down forever?
A few other movies I remember seeing there were ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’, Ken Russel’s ‘Lair of the White Worm’, and a revival screening of ‘The Graduate’. In fact during either ‘White Worm’ or ‘Earth Girls’ (can’t remember which) they ran the original trailer for the upcoming screening of ‘The Gradute’. So Cool.
As somebody else mentioned here, I also took this stuff for granted. I thought great theaters and film revival were here to stay. After all this was New York City and there is always cool stuff to do that you can’t do anywhere else. There still is, but you REALLY have to look for it. Back then it was literally all around you and never, ever hard to find. Now it’s the reverse. “Normal” things like Starbucks & Bed, Bath, & Beyond are easy to find and always all around.
The alteration of the facade of Electric Ladyland, next door was also total blasphemy. It looks so lame and Hard Rock Cafe-esque now. And this is somewhat unrelated, but I’m sure alot of people on this thread remember the Postermat across the street from 8th Street Playhouse. That place was so cool and one day vanished into thin air only to be replaced by an Army/Navy store. Why?????
Hey Born Jaded-
They showed ‘Laurel Canyon’ at Mercedes? Interesting. Compared to the old days that is really going into unchartered territory for them. Back in the day they were only showing mainstream films, but I’m sure over the years through different owners and stuff they have become more progressive with their choices.
While I’m glad that Cinema Village is still functioning I really do miss, and have missed for years, their revival program. From around ‘86 until they ended the revivals, I was there all the time. I had so many great movie-going experiences there, and it wasn’t always about the movie itself. The place had a real moody feel, and it was so cool to go there when there was a relatively small crowd that always included some real existential freaks. I loved it. The first double bill I saw there was 'Atomic Cafe’ and a really weird Czech film called ‘WR: Mysteries of the Organism". My mind was blown to smithereeens it was so cool.
Among other films I also remember seeing there were Nic Roeg’s director’s cut of ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth" with David Bowie. So amazing. I also saw '2001: A Space Odyssey’ there and a rat ran up the center aisle while the movie was going. Nobody screamed. I saw a really bad David Niven film called ‘King, Queen, Nave". It was so bad, but I didn’t care, I was at Cinema Village in that weird environment. I also remember seeing a double bill of Fellini’s “Juliet of the Spirits’ & "Satyricon”. It was like I spent a whole day in the place.
Since CV is now split into 3 theaters, I think they should consider bringing back film revival in at least one of the theaters. It would be great if the revival program was ongoing, but if they did it once or a few times a month it would be a welcome addition to what they are doing now.