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I’m not in LA. When I have visited LA, the National was one of my very favorite theaters to see a movie in. If only more people had attended movies here instead of Century City and elsewhere…..!
You can’t save the National, though. The general public,and those who govern, won’t understand. It isn’t a Golden Age Hollwyood, 1920’s, 1930’s movie palace, with an architectural style and history that IS appreciated by the general public.
Even if you could “save” the National as architecture, and I’m unsure if ANY buildings built as recently as the National get legal protection anywhere, you wouldn’t save it for movies- not daily, not ever. Other uses would be in the building. Way too few people attended for movies in its last years and it won’t get reused for entertainment.
Built almost two decades earlier, with exterior arctitecture more easily grasped, and a longer history of movie premieres, was the Cinerama Dome. That was saved, with a megaplex added- on land that was available.
In my humble opinion, I’d suggest people in Los Angeles work hard to preserve entertainment including a movie series in the recently closed Rialto in South Pasadena. The public can appreciate that historic theater.
And, I’d suggest people start to work to ensure that entertainment including a movie series and film premieres continue at the Village & Bruin. In 3 years, the lease is up, and Mann leaves. They are not profitable, even with the revenue of film premieres. If they are not going to have a megaplex added to them, they won’t continue as daily movie houses. And, they likely won’t have a megaplex added to them. So, work so live shows, concerts, etc. can be hosted, with a film series as stated. Or, those legally protected buildings will become retail stores, restaurants, whatever, but no more movies! Like the Rialto, the general public and government can appreciate why people would want the historic interiors preserved and continued for entertainment, of the Village & Bruin.
And, ATTEND movies at the Majestic Crest in Westwood if you’d like that jewelbox to continue! The decor was added, it isn’t historic, won’t be protected, but if enough people attend movies there, and the existing operator wishes to continue, it should.
Auditorium facing Screen:
One of the movie screens:
Main auditorium side wall decoration photo:
Good that people knew of its pending closure so they can say goodbye.
This theater was built with almost 1200 seats and above comment says after a remodel it had 800 seats. Split in two, that means each screen started with 600 and has 400 seats now? To have 130 attend on a Saturday evening doesn’t sound enough to keep the theater open under another oerator. My question is will the entire building be demolished?
When Ben Hur was shown, Philadelphia had recently demolished the Mastbaum, and in 1953, the Earle. That was not an era for historic preservation. Fortunately, later in the 1960’s, American cities, including in Pittsburgh, learned the value of preserving movie palaces.
People correctly cherish their experiences at the Boyd.
As to daily movies again, look at Los Angeles which in just the last couple weeks saw the closing for demolition of the National the closing of the Vine, and the announced closing of the NuWilshire. As Vito knows, movie exhibition changes. The DeMille is one of the 6 NYC movie palaces that showcased World Premieres of 70mm films (this thread).I’ve written that those people expecting to see the DeMille(aka Embassy 2-3-4) reopen as a single screen daily movie house were
unrealistic, and unfortunately enough, it was reported that the interior was recently gutted. To save the Boyd, it needs live events to make its bread & butter. A film series will be great, but can’t be its primary use.
As to what’s up now, all things take time.
If you try to buy a ticket on that website, for that movie at this theater, it won’t let you, because the National is closed.
For the regular movies (not classics) is the balcony open? Is the curtain opened before the movie & closed afterwards?
Today, NBC Inside Weekend, TV, showed the marquee and inside, the party for Hillary Clinton’s 60th birthday.
Let’s try that link again,
The Friends of the Boyd, Inc., www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org, the nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the Boyd is restored and reopened as a theater (and which I am President of) in have one focus at this time: ensuring that the Boyd is saved, restored, and reopened. Our goals include a film series, exhibits of the Boyd’s history, and public tours. The Boyd will primarily be a live events theater. Any commercial movie or documentary about the role of projectionists sounds lovely, but isn’t within our mission and would need wait for the Boyd’s restoration so it would appear to be a working theater.
Scott, do you mean the S.F. Coronet? that was demolished.
I found that online. If the mural finds a home, as it hopefully will, and there’s a news item about it that I see, I certainly will post it.
24 October 2007:
The Ambler gets a new look and becomes the best first-run theater in the region.
by Andrew Repasky McElhinney
While you wait for the long-promised replacement of the murderous seats at International House or for the reemergence of big-screen film at the Prince Music Theater, a trip just 16 miles outside the city to Ambler reveals the near impossible: a discerningly programmed triplex housed in a classic old movie theater.
The process took about as long as a Kubrick movie shoot, but after nearly five years the Ambler Theater finally opened the doors of its main 270-seat auditorium earlier this month.
It was worth the wait. A recent excursion to see Ang Leeâ€™s lugubrious snoozefest Lust, Caution revealed posh stadium seating, glorious sound and sharp, efficient projection inside the main auditorium. Featuring a giant sloped screen that moves to accommodate live events and, in its flexibility, creates the best possible sightlines, the Ambler is now, along with the Colonial Theater of Phoenixville, the best first-run moviegoing experience around.
The Ambler is a not-for-profit, community-owned venture, a sister theater to the still emerging Bryn Mawr Film Institute and Doylestown mainstay the County Theater. A trip to the Ambler recalls the days when each neighborhood had a movie palace and the cinema was not only an escape but also the soul of the community.
Built in 1928, the theater has been updated with a restoration thatâ€™s sensitive to the decor of the original and also progressively modern in its gentrification of a house thatâ€™s been dark since the mid-â€™80s.
The Ambler hasnâ€™t been slavishly restored to its original glory. Rather itâ€™s enjoyed the type of chic utilitarian rehab dipped in classicism whose most prominent architectural models are those jewels of New York: Manhattanâ€™s Landmark Sunshine Cinema and Brooklynâ€™s BAM Harvey Theater.
The architectural compromise of carving out two black box auditoriums from the originalâ€™s former rear, and modernizing the rear portion of the new main auditorium, wonâ€™t satisfy the most stalwart preservationists. But it does bring life to what was a dead theater.
The majestic return of the Ambler mirrors the evolution of the town itself. A down-and-out borough nearly crippled by an asbestos factory left abandoned in 1962, which had been polluting the region with vile toxins since the 1880s, Ambler has turned around in recent years. Once a blighted suburban skid row, it now boasts a refurbished R5 SEPTA train station, restaurants, cafes, one-of-a-kind stores and a young population seeking a return to small-town living.
The cozy small-town vibe is whatâ€™s most alluring about the theater. Cinephiles arenâ€™t bombarded by advertising and endless infotainment prior to screenings. A repertory film series of classic pictures flourishes, but regrettably, its features play only in the smaller auditoriums.
The Ambler also offers movie history programs, creative booking, appearances by notable guest critics and filmmakers, and promises to become the mecca for movies northwest of the city.
According to Howard B. Haas, the leader of the tireless effort to save Philadelphiaâ€™s Boyd theater (also known as the Sameric), more than 95 percent of the nationâ€™s historic movie houses have closed, and many of those remaining have been gutted.
â€œThere are only a few movie houses in the entire Philadelphia region where you can walk in and enjoy an original ornate lobby and auditorium,â€ he says.
The restored Ambler Theater is the best of both worlds: old-school charm and state-of-the-art technical aptitude. Itâ€™s a new benchmark of quality that highlights the disappointing dearth of modern moviegoing options in Center City.
Vito, this is all very interesting. 56 years! Of course, I don’t mind, especially as you are writing, more or less, about the Road Show procedures.
I don’t own the thread, merely started it, but I will speculate that you probably could also write more specific recollections about 70mm films (regardless of world premieres) in the New York movie palaces. Regardless, thanks for all your contributions to this thread.
Is there additional confirmation that it closed and is no longer showing daily movies?
I haven’t seen 70mm there, but the comment was the screen isn’t huge enough and some people don’t like the decor of the place. Having enjoyed a 35mm classic at the Egyptian, I’d ignore the decor critics. If the film is a giant classic epic like Lawrence of Arabia, then perhaps the screen size might be disappointing if you’ve seen the film already on a huge screen. If you haven’t already seen the film, or it isn’t an “epic” then don’t miss it. There are 70mm prints shown that won’t be shown elsewhere in the area.
Blade Runner deserves MORE than what a friend advises me are crappily designed plex auditoriums at Landmark, which don’t have huge screens. Since there are 35mm prints, they ought to present Blade Runner at the Village or one of the other huge LA screens!
Today’s Weekly Update of Friends of the Boyd:
the IMPORTANCE OF THE BOYD THEATRE:
Built in 1928, the Boyd Theatre is the last surviving motion picture palace of downtown Philadelphia. Acclaimed as an Art Deco masterpiece, the Boyd was an early example in the US of a movie palace in the Art Deco style. The Boyd was designed by Hoffman-Henon, architects who designed many of the other movie palaces. The theater’s exterior included a towering vertical sign that advertised the theater a mile away, a public retail arcade and a huge etched glass window with Art Deco motifs. View link
The Boyd has one of Philadelphiaâ€™s grandest Art Deco lobbies View link
plus foyers and lounges with dazzling colorful mirrors, marble fountains, and elaborate plasterwork View link
and a 2450 seat auditorium with perfect sightlines View link
The theme of the Boyd is the triumph of the modern woman, seen in the Proscenium Mural by acclaimed artist Alfred Tulk and by artistic figures of women from around the world including the modern American.
Movie palaces including the Boyd were places where the ordinary man could enjoy entertainment in a regal environment. On opening in 1928, for a mere 35 cents, an ordinary Joe could enjoy Walt Disneyâ€™s debut of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie and Interference, Paramountâ€™s 1st talking picture.
Equipped for the change in movies from silents to talkies, the Boyd drew patrons from throughout the Philadelphia area for films such as â€œGone with The Wind,â€epic 70mm films such as â€œBen Hurâ€ and â€œDoctor Zhivago,â€and blockbuster movies like â€œStar Wars.â€ Customers traveled from a hundred miles away as the Boyd was the only local theater equipped mid-century to show Cinerama films. Hollywood style premieres were public spectacles, including the 1993 World Premiere of â€œPhiladelphiaâ€ with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington appearing.
Too many movie palaces nationwide have been demolished, but almost every US city has restored and reopened at least one movie palace to serve as a showplace of entertainment and so future generations will know how movies were experienced in the 20th Century.
Help us find more people who can join our cause at www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
Howard B. Haas
If the Westwood Regent real estate value is higher than as a moviehouse, it is safe only as long as Landmark wishes to stay there (gets enough movie customers & doesn’t want to leave to focus on multiplex). If the landlord could get higher rent from another tenant or sell for great profit to a developer, and if Landmark is happy to leave, then they both agree to end the lease early.
If there the NuWilshire lease had another few years, then Landmark didn’t need to depart, right?
There’s another British fellow writing “projection suite” so maybe that is a proper British term for projection booth (as per your comment above)?
I admire your love for historic theaters. I also respect what the late Jim Rankin wrote above. It is worthwhile reading again.
Opened by Hoyts! That’s why the two huge screens.
Does Landmark own this theater?
If owned by someone else, and IF the rent is right, and IF the theater is still profitable (lots of ticket buyers!), then maybe one of those other movie operators will be interested. If there are as few ticket buyers as the South Pasadena Rialto, or apparently the National had, then forget its reopening.
And, if Landmark owns it, they may not wish a competitor to reopen it. They could rent it out for non-entertainment or sell to a developer.
The press release that I linked above indicates that this is NO replica. “inspired by” doesn’t mean a Replica. The summaries provided by the news services just aren’t accurate.
So it likely isn’t a moviehouse interior. I don’t know what they need for an “interactive tribute” but ornate lobbies and auditorium may not get rebuilt.
If an “interactive tribute” means a movie screen, then it could be large, but I’m not sure they even mean a movie screen.
Al, you are correct in that multiplex exhibition did play a big part. However, 70mm 6 track prints were produced UNTIL DTS digital sound began. Then, studios & operators abandoned the format. As William said above, the sound was important, and once digital sound arrived….then combined with your multiplex rationale, both reasons together caused 70mm to go bye bye.