Criterion Theatre

1514 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 1 - 25 of 419 comments

vindanpar on January 29, 2018 at 10:49 am

The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band. And as a boy I like Sherman Brothers Disney movies and listened to the soundtrack as a kid. Didn’t see it though until I was an adult and found it dire. Couldn’t even sit through the whole film.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 29, 2018 at 2:07 am

So, what was the Easter show that year…?

vindanpar on January 28, 2018 at 7:27 pm

As per the Half a Sixpence ad posted by Comfortably Cool. I remember the Sunday before the premiere watching Ed Sullivan with my family and Ed announcing the premiere and having Steele stand up from his seat in the audience. The premiere was televised on a local NY channel as many of the big road show openings were at the time. Mayor Lindsey hosted the Funny Girl world premiere which seemed kind of odd from the same theater. I assume these were all disposed of as I’ve never seen them again. At least the ones from NY. The local stations might simply gotten rid of them which is too bad.

While Sixpence was a hit at the Astoria in London and the American love affair with English pop culture hadn’t yet run its course(Oliver!) Sixpence for some reason immediately laid an egg at the Criterion. It did so poorly from day one Variety figured out that whoever did these things the manager of the Criterion or the studio was grossly inflating the box office figures. I think it lasted close to 3 months and it must have been doing it for contractual reasons and playing to very small audiences in the large Criterion.

This was though the kind of film had it opened at the Music Hall would have been a big hit there. It’s certainly watchable unlike the Music Hall’s Easter film that year.

DavidZornig on January 1, 2018 at 1:59 am

1956 premiere of “The Ten Commandments at the Criterion.

davidcoppock on December 31, 2017 at 5:54 am

Whats the restaurant called?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Streisand sure was, so maybe some in her audience did as well.

vindanpar on December 30, 2017 at 7:01 am

I doubt the women’s theater parties and middle aged patrons were doing weed at Funny Girl though it was ‘68 so who knows.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 30, 2017 at 4:10 am

I suspect that in the era when audiences sat on the floor in front of the screen to watch “2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY”, front row at “FUNNY GIRL” was no longer an issue.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 30, 2017 at 4:06 am

Vindanpar, you are correct. It seems the first six rows, for some reason, were deemed too close to be full priced for MY FAIR LADY.

vindanpar on December 30, 2017 at 3:50 am

My Fair Lady.

If you look at the pricing for tickets in advertisements it will give you a cheaper price for let’s say the first ten rows of the orchestra. However for Funny Girl the orch only has one price. I believe I’ve seen this as well for other roadshow films at other theaters but as I mentioned it was not regular policy and perhaps done infrequently.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 30, 2017 at 3:41 am

So when was this the case here?

vindanpar on December 30, 2017 at 3:27 am

How so?

Certain houses had separate prices for the front rows of the orchestra for roadshow films but this was not a consistent policy. I was just commenting that in all the pricing I’ve seen for the Rivoli in advertisements the entire orchestra always had one price as far as I recall. If this is incorrect maybe somebody knows which films that played at the Rivoli had two separate prices in the orch for the same performance.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 30, 2017 at 3:10 am

??? Your first paragraph seems to contradict your second.

vindanpar on December 30, 2017 at 3:03 am

The Criterion had lower priced seats in the front rows of the orchestra for some roadshow films though not all. Maybe it depended on the studio and producer. MFL yes Funny Girl no.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the Rivoli having a separate price for front rows.

michaelkaplan on December 30, 2017 at 2:38 am

Noting the comments and questions above, I do recall that the wide, curved screen was accommodated within the proscenium/stage area, and not requiring significant modifications to the theater or removal of seats. Of course, some seats may have been removed because they were simply too close to the screen for comfortable viewing.

michaelkaplan on December 30, 2017 at 2:33 am

I saw the first-run of South Pacific in Todd-AO at the Criterion. The screen was mildly curved, not the deeply curved version used at the Rivoli for Oklahoma and Around the World in 80 Days. As I recall (it was long ago) the projection and sound were excellent, although the use of colored filters seemed bizarre to almost everyone who saw the film, including the critics.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 20, 2017 at 2:19 am

“THE OMEN” opened at the National in 1976. The Criterion became a five-plex in 1980. “DIVINE MADNESS” opened there after the ‘plexing’. In 1981 it became a six-plex. In 1991 it became a seven-plex.

MSC77 on October 20, 2017 at 12:01 am

I detect some timeline discrepancies or mistaken recollections in some of the recent comments. A comment was made that a member saw “Divine Madness” here (presumably in autumn 1980) while it was still a single screener. But in another comment the member recollects seeing “The Omen” (presumably in 1976 if they were referring to the first run of the original movie) after the theater had been plexed. To further confuse matters, the overview includes a blurb about the 5-plex renovation occurring in early 1980. As well, in this article about the 70mm presentations of “Divine Madness” the Criterion is listed as a 5-plex. And the “Divine Madness” newspaper ad posted in the Photos section refers to the theater as Criterion Center implying plurality with the screen count. Can anyone familiar with this venue clarify its screen count timeline history?

vindanpar on October 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Though it’s impossible at this point I imagine I’d like to know what the size of the Criterion screen was for 70 MM films like Lawrence and MFL and the size of the South Pacific ‘arcing panel.’

The Variety reviewer said something to the effect that looking at the heads in SP was like looking at Mt Rushmore.

Though he didn’t mean it as a compliment I would have loved to have seen that.

I feel fortunate to have seen a Todd AO print(maybe an original? Boy those cans were big) with magnificent 6 track analog sound at the Warner Cinerama. A great experience as was seeing there MFL and Paint Your Wagon(I know blow-up but the sound blew you out of the theater.) I must be the only person on the planet who loves Marvin singing Wanderin Star with that huge men’s chorus behind him. On stage it could never be like that(and it wasn’t at Encores.) Worth the entire film.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 16, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Some of those older cinema screens had space behind them for giant speakers on what appeared to be a stage but the area was actually only about five feet deep. When the curved screen was installed for “South Pacific” they probably removed some front seats to accommodate the screen curvature.

Mikeoaklandpark on October 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm

I thought for sure that when I saw the Omen in the downstairs theater after it was twinned the screen was on what appeared to be a stage. I know it had a red curtain. I know upstairs wasn’t. I saw 9 To 5 up there. That was many years ago so I could be confused.

NYer on October 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm

They were right next door. If you stood facing The Criterion, the entrance and marquee were to the left. The theaters were up on the second floor next to each other. When MTV was using their studios live at One Astor Plaza, you could see their marquee across the street. Here is a shot of the marquee when they did a revival of “1776”.

edblank on October 16, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Thank you, NYer. Your response clarifies my fuzzy recollection of what happened. Were the two stage auditoriums to the left of the original Criterion Theater? Were they both at street level? Both one level down? One of each? I think I was in there only once. And neither was in the original Criterion moviehouse space?

NYer on October 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm

edblank, in the 90’s the owners of The Criterion built two theaters in empty space in the building (some say the old Bonds space) calling them The Criterion Center Stage Right & Left. One had 499 seats which is the least amount to be deemed a Broadway House and considered for Tony Awards. The second, a 399 seat house was considered Off-Broadway. Roundabout used the theater for many major productions. This theater was separate from the Criterion Theater, by then a multiplex.

edblank on October 15, 2017 at 8:34 pm

While it may be true (and probably is) that the Criterion never had a stage or dressing rooms during its decades as a major moviehouse, it definitely had at least one stage at the end, after the theater had been subdivided into many smaller auditoriums. One of the plays I saw there was an off-Broadway political satire called “MasterGate.”