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Great photo and great post. I saw the 70mm version at the now-gone Loew’s Astor Plaza on 44th street in NYC. Although I didn’t see it right away – I saw it after “Close Encounters” so I probably didn’t see it until around December of 1977. That would be impossible today – no film would play that long.
Dont know about the entire chain, but Disney wanted the Ziegfeld some years ago with the intent of turning it into the equivalent of the El Capitan. It would really be a shame to lose the Ziegfeld — it’s one of the few theatres I’ll still attend.
One of the things I’ve noticed at Manhattan AMC theatres (and I don’t know how prevalent this is), but the sound system is wired wrong: the center channel is fed to the left screen channel. I have this bad feeling that when they installed the Sony 4K digital projectors, some idiot tech re-wired the channels incorrectly. I’ve found this at both the AMC Loews 34th street (west) for “Planet of the Apes” and for “Hugo” at the Kips Bay. (Also saw “Hugo” at the Ziegfeld and it was fine.) I’ve complained, but the managers always look at me like I’m from outer space. They always give me passes, but I always say, “I don’t want the passes – I want you to fix it!”
The problem is that when the Ziegfeld has tried to do revivals and festivals, no one shows up. But a lot of those festivals were for films that were originally released in 70mm 6-tk mag, but the prints the Ziegfeld got for the revival were 35mm optical and not necessarily in great condition. There have been relatively recent 70mm festivals in Los Angeles, occasionally in Seattle and more frequently in the UK and Europe. It would be great if the Ziegfeld did one. Last summer, the Seattle Cinerama played 70mm prints of West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra in addition to This Is Cinerama and How The West Was Won in the original 3-strip Cinerama.
The Bradford Cinema in the UK had a festival in April that in addition to Cinerama films played vintage 70mm prints of Ryan’s Daughter, Around The World in 80 Days, The Star Chamber and Black Rain. (Don’t know the condition of the prints though.)
I was hoping that that the theatre was closed to install the new Dolby Atmos sound system for the premiere of “Brave”. But I was at an AES seminar the other night and we were told that “Brave” will not be playing at any Manhattan theatre in that format (closest is NJ, but they didn’t name the theatre).
Some years back, Disney wanted to buy the Ziegfeld from Clearview, but Clearview wasn’t interested in selling. Wonder if Disney would still be interested if Clearview decided to close it? Losing the Ziegfeld would really be a big loss. It’s one of the few theatres I’m still willing to see a movie.
The theatre is just north of 231st and Broadway and is most certainly The Bronx, regardless of the name. I lived off of 238th street (also the Bronx) when I was a child and spent many a Saturday at the RKO Marble Hill and sometimes at the independent Dale theatre around the corner. The RKO was always much more fun although the Dale tended to play better films (my father took me to see Fantasia at the Dale around 1955).
I also remember the matron: in my time (early 1960s), there was one, white haired matron who wore a white uniform (looking somewhat like a nurse) and who always wanted me to sit in the “children’s section” even when I was forced to pay the adult ticket price. In the early 60’s, they ran a Saturday promotion which still included a double feature, cartoons, newsreels, etc. for the massive sum of 20 cents. In those days, it was considered safe enough to send little kids to the movies by themselves.
I remember seeing both “The Tingler” and “13 Ghosts” at the RKO Marble Hill. I remember being very disappointed that the seats were not wired for “The Tingler” as they were in first-run theatres to give patrons a little buzz whenever the Tingler “got loose”. But they did give out the blue and red viewers so you could choose to see or not see the ghosts in “13 Ghosts.” I think the hot dogs were 25 cents back then, which was considered quite expensive, but I ate many anyway. Around the corner, on the south side of 231st street just west of Broadway was a pizza place that sold gigantic slices of pizza for 15 cents. One slice was more than enough.
The Three Stooges may have made a live appearance there, but my memory on that is a bit fuzzy.
One negative back then is that smoking was still permitted and the theatre was always filled with smoke.
It opened 5/19/2006
Approx. 1140 seats total
Approx. 2430 seats total. Screen #7 was originally THX certified.
“Currently I am in New York City setting up a 10 days tour of N.Y.C. theatres (and former movie houses/theatres) which will take place in late October/early November 2007. ”
Unless your tour will mainly involve legit houses, I have to wonder what is it that you’re going to tour because there is very little that is left. In Manhattan, there’s a bit of the Embassy left in the Times Square Visitor’s Center, Radio City Music Hall and I think the former Loew’s 175th St is still standing as a church. Not sure about the Bunny/Nova. In Brooklyn, the Loew’s Kings is closed and vandalized, but still standing. In Queens, the Valencia is operating as a Church and in The Bronx, the Loews Paradise has been restored as a concert center, but isn’t open much. Nearby in New Jersey, the Loews Jersey opens for occasional revival showings. I’m sure that others will think of one or two other houses, but unfortunately, there’s not much to tour in NYC any longer.
I don’t know what happened at the meeting the other night, but I would think it’s a little late for the Trylon. The marquee has been stripped and it looks to me like reconstruction is taking place and the interior is already gone. I haven’t been inside and I could be wrong about the how much of the interior has been torn out, but I suspect it’s a bit late. The preservation groups should have acted BEFORE the new lease was granted to the cultural group that’s taking over the place.
Every theatre that I attend posts the time that the trailers start, not the time that the ads start. Maybe this isn’t true everywhere. I hate the ads also, but poster Barry Lee has it right: in the opening weeks of a film, the theatre gets only 10-20% of the take. Movie theaters are concession stands that show movies, not movies that happen to have concession stands. That’s why the junk food they sell costs so much.
If we fight to eliminate the ads, we’ll probably win, but four things will happen as a result:
1. Many more theaters will close, especially those in large cities and expensive suburbs where land values are high.
2. Ticket prices will rise.
3. Theaters will be even more reluctant to invest in better facilities, projection, sound, etc.
4. Incompetent popcorn kids will be running the projectors instead of trained projectionists (this is happening already.)
So my vote is to live with the ads. In the theaters I attend, the house lights are up during the ads and you can talk to your friends during the ads. This really isn’t a big deal. The fact that a lawsuit was actually brought against this goes to prove that Americans are the most stupidly litigious people on the fact of the planet. Get a life.
It’s unfair to compare the Ziegfeld, built in the 1960s, with the movie palaces built in the 1920s and 30s. The fact is, plaster ornamentation, fancy carpeting, hidden basketball courts and cloud ceilings aside, those old theaters would be terrible places to see modern films with digital 5.1 channel soundtracks today, in spite of the fact that many of them played 70mm 6-track films.
Those old theaters were built with long reverberation times because amplifiers were very low powered in those days. Today, you want just the opposite: very short reverberation times to increase dialogue intelligibility and perceived channel separation within a broad sound field.
The Ziegfeld remains (IMHO) the best place to see a movie in NYC. My understanding is that it’s not profitable, but it is used for many premiers and it’s great that Clearview elects to keep it open as a single-screener. The single-screen Astor Plaza is closing soon and that is also a big loss.
The Ziegfeld is NOT underground. The lobby is at ground level and the theater is one level up.
You can’t really consider this “open”. The entire old theater was completely demolished. The only thing preserved was the front facade.
This theater is now part of a restaurant.
It’s been demolished.
The theater is closed and the building is for lease. I’m not sure when (or if) it was the Cine Malibu, but in any case it was also the Pacific East at one time.