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Lower tier. Attended a matinee of “Godzilla” today. 15 minutes after the scheduled 10:00am start time the movie still hadn’t begun – just a Bow Tie slide on screen with music. I tracked down one of the janitors upstairs to let them know, and a couple of minutes later the movie started (thankfully they skipped the trailers). Picture OK, sound adequate but not what I’d anticipated. But then a couple minutes before the film’s presumed ending, the picture and sound just stopped, as if the DCP had gone offline. With no one else around, I told the manager downstairs, who seemed surprised (“Shut down?”). Even if they were to show the director’s cut of “Greed,” I will never go back here.
The theatre is being renovated in stages. In at least one room comfortable reclining chairs have been installed, which cuts down on seating capacity while making the audience virtually horizontal. When attending “Star Trek Into Darkness” other audience members were similarly bemused by the recliners. It was like being in your living room with the largest TV screen in the world. The hazard is if the movie is a real dozer – reclined, you are more inclined to fall asleep.
Here is a NY Times article on the gangster museum upstairs from Theater 80:
“[Lorcan Otway’s] two-room museum is right above that former speakeasy, which for years has been known as Theater 80 St. Marks in a neighborhood that boasts its share of notorious ghosts like Capone (the Brooklyn-born Chicago mobster often visited Manhattan), Lucky Luciano and John Gotti …
“His father, Howard, an actor, bought the two buildings, at 78 and 80 St. Marks Place, from Walter Scheib, the former speakeasy operator, in 1964. In a bunkerlike basement room, the elder Otway found a safe with $2 million in gold certificates, which he soon learned had expired.”
Here is a video of the orchestra’s rehearsals for the Radio City “Two Towers” concert:
Actually “Two Towers” was shot on Super 35mm and mastered digitally.
Excellent article in the NY Times on movie houses in the Plains States, and the Dakota has a featured role:
I have uploaded some pictures I took of the demonstration outside the Ziegfeld on the day “Last Temptation of Christ” opened in August 1988.
David Morgan, “Wide Angle/Closeup: Conversations With Filmmakers”
The Bellevue’s 70mm presentation of “2001” in 1978 was flat, and if I recall correctly, when the credits ran at the end, the title card IN CINERAMA had been crossed out with a black magic marker, a frame at a time, with the ink barely adhering to the film, creating a sort of pixellated effect.
Though there isn’t a full schedule available yet, it was announced in the Times that some of the New York Film Festival screenings this fall will be at the Ziegfeld, as Alice Tully Hall is undergoing renovations.
… so would there still be room for a classics roster?
I saw “Excalibur” there in 1981, after it had been quad-ed.
Here’s from the Warner Bros. site [http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/] — spinners are indeed appearing in flyover-land (no indication whether digital or 35mm). In addition to continuing in NY and LA:
10/26/07 Seattle Cinerama
10/26/07 Washington DC Uptown
10/26/07 Portland Cinema 21
10/26/07 Salt Lake Gateway Megaplex
11/02/07 Chicago Music Box
11/02/07 Santa Barbara Arlington
11/02/07 Baltimore Landmark Harbor East
11/09/07 Boston Coolidge Corner, Brookline
11/09/07 Vancouver, BC Granville
11/16/07 Detroit Main Art
11/18/07 Austin Paramount
11/30/07 San Francisco Embarcadero
11/30/07 Dallas Inwood
11/30/07 San Diego Ken
11/30/07 Minneapolis Uptown
12/07/07 Denver Landmark
12/07/07 Philadelphia Ritz 5
12/25/07 Boston Brattle
01/02/08 Austin Paramount
01/04/08 Nashville Belcourt
01/18/08 Durham, NC Carolina
02/01/08 Columbus, OH Drexel Gateway
02/15/08 San Francisco Castro
02/29/08 Sacramento Crest
Attended (finally!) the last show on the last day, and surprisingly for an 8:30 Thursday night showing of a 25-year-old film the Ziegfeld was packed, about 90-95 percent. Curtains closed after slideshow, then opened for trailers. Crowd was psyched: Applause when Ladd Co. logo began (at which point a woman up front with a neon umbrella opened it and waved). Each of the names in the opening credits got bursts of applause, heavy for Vangelis and esp. Ridley Scott. Poor producer got none, which provoked laughter. Then the crowd settled in and was pretty much quiet for the rest of the film. Sound was LOUD. Images were generally very clear, though in places (Tyrell interiors) it seemed less golden/orangey than my memory of it. FX shots looked great. I still donâ€™t know why Deckard and Gaffâ€™s ride in the Spinner is still silent â€" if production sound couldnâ€™t be found, couldnâ€™t they re-loop dialogue a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia? And I seem to recall Deckard introduced himself to Rachael as a Blade Runner, but he didnâ€™t here. Other nips/tucks/tweaks were good, esp. Zhoraâ€™s death.
It was great to see on a big screen again, especially amidst a good, appreciative crowd.
Maybe that will encourage Warner Bros. to bring it out in fly-over land.
For some more historical perspective on the theatre, here are some TV news reports (WABC, WCBS and WNBC, as well as “Entertainment Tonight”) from Aug. 12, 1988, about the demonstrations outside the Ziegfeld at the opening of Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ.” (And don’t miss the Alligator From Hell!)
The movie listings made it into the Onion!
I can understand Clearview not springing for a newspaper ad for the current series (I don’t recall them doing so for the Spring series either — I learned about it by accident, spotting mention of CE3K in the Times movie clock that weekend) but I don’t see ANY mention of the current series in the Village Voice’s “Alternatives & Revivals” listings, which manages to include some of the most obscure venues and titles around. Who’s responsible for letting the NYC press, and the public, in on this series?
It may not be an inspiring space but they’ve certainly run more than their share of classics over the years, and I’m happy to have been there when they did. One of those exceptional experiences was when they ran Fassbinder’s 15-½ hour long “Berlin Alexanderplatz” in 1983 (tickers were sold as weekly 3-hour installments, in sets, so you’d buy a specific day and time for five weeks). What was amusing was going back to the same theatre every Monday at 9:30pm for five weeks and seeing the same people sitting in the SAME EXACT SEATS every week. Recently saw “Touching the Void” there.
Here’s hoping for Patton, which ran in 70mm in Austin a few weeks back. And we need another shot at Lawrence!
I recall an early ‘70s re-release of “Ten Commandments” there, as well as “Escape from the Planet of the Apes.” I think I also saw the “special edition” reissue of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” there in 1980.
The Fox may have had an area exclusive of “Star Wars” but they had not yet installed Dolby Stereo so they were running it in 35mm mono. I recall going with a friend who had not yet made the trek up to Paramus to see it in 70mm and despite the large screen the difference was palpable. Had the owners sprung for improved sonics, those of us who frequently made pilgrimages up North might have paid to see it closer to home. I also recall seeing “Poseidon Adventure” and John Carpenter’s “The Fog” there. I peeked into the Chuck E. Cheese once and it was thoroughly depressing.
In the mid-‘70s the condition of the building was poor – i.e., peeling walls, and a faintly dim light bulb in the center of the ceiling that remained on throughout the film, which illuminated the fading surroundings just enough to be disconcerting. Once when I was riding in a car with my older brother and a friend of his I started complaining about the Chancellor, the mice underfoot, etc. My brother nudged me and sternly said, “His dad owns it!” But his friend laughed it off, as if saying, “None of this is news to me!”
Thanks for a sprawling and engrossing thread! My Astor Plaza memories include the usual suspects (Star Wars, Superman, Raiders, press screening of Altered States, Explorers, Under Fire, 2001 screening of 2001 sans intermission), some forgettables (Brewsters Millions), and some oddities (late 70s reissue of Fiddler on the Roof that had songs cut out). There should definitely be a 70mm festival as a swan song.
Bill & Rhett: Sadly I recently tossed out a bunch of ‘70s and '80s Dolby-related papers and ads from NY/NJ, but contact me if you can trust my memory on some 70mm engagements.