Criterion Theatre

1514 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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vindanpar on June 20, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Already by December of ‘68 all the buildings I mentioned had been torn down and the Astor Hotel was a giant excavation hole(as a boy I looked into it having no idea there was ever such a thing as The Astor.) Of course I know what I’m saying is conjecture. Many downtowns of major cities were experiencing terrible downturns. I just lament the loss of such great NY landmarks and think what if?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 20, 2017 at 9:34 pm

Yes, that was the Claridge Hotel. But by 1969 when “PAINT YOUR WAGON” opened on a Roadshow basis at the State Two, “MIDNIGHT COWBOY” was already showing the world what Times square had become and by January 1970 Loews State would be showing Swedish porn “WITHOUT A STITCH” on Twin One while these hotels were still operating.

vindanpar on June 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I should have made myself more specific. I meant the Astor Hotel. Remember you had a lot of great NY landmarks torn down in just a few years as I mentioned above and I think it was catastrophic. These were among the most magnificent and legendary buildings in the 20th century in NY and I believe they were anchors. Wasn’t the building with the PYW sign the Claridge hotel?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 20, 2017 at 8:56 pm

I don’t think the tearing down of these theatres lead to the descent of Times Square into vice, but rather the other way around.

vindanpar on June 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm

That’s a nice evening ‘69 photo including the Paint Your Wagon billboard when Times Square still had a bit of its old time glamour. The tearing down of the Astor and the building that PYW billboard is on(only a couple of years after the tearing down of the old Met, Penn Station, the Paramount…) was catastrophic for the area hastening its 70s descent into the muck and mire.

Coate on June 19, 2017 at 10:42 pm

The Criterion was among just eleven theaters in the United States that installed the then-new Dolby Digital sound system for their engagement of “Batman Returns” which opened twenty-five years ago today. And here’s the link to a retrospective article that commemorates the occasion.

DavidZornig on June 16, 2017 at 1:33 am

1969 photo added via The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit Facebook page.

DavidZornig on May 16, 2017 at 2:09 am

1940 & 1955 photos added courtesy of Al Ponte’s Time Machine – New York Facebook page.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 12, 2016 at 5:56 am

According to the NY Times review dated July 25, 1986, Maximum Overdrive opened in Manhattan at the Criterion, Broadway and 45th Street; Movieland Eighth Street, at University Place; 86th Street Twin, at Lexington Avenue; and Olympia Quad, Broadway at 107th Street.

It took about 90 seconds to find this information. Now my question: why did you need to know?

Norman_24 on November 12, 2016 at 5:19 am

Can anyone verify if “Maximum Overdrive” screened here in July of ‘85. I believe this is where I saw it.

1964Usher on August 28, 2016 at 6:38 am

I worked as an usher in the Criterion in the mid 60’s. My brother & sister-in-law also worked there. “Lawrence of Arabia” and “My Fair Lady” were the big box office hits. Both movies were shown with reserved seats. Mr. Schwartz was the General Manager, Mr. Potell [not sure of the spelling] was the Head Treasure, Frank was the Head Usher and Marge the Head Usherette. I remember having to stand out front and “bark” – “seats available for today’s performance.” Actually barking wasn’t that bad. I met a lot of tourists, gave restaurant recommendations & lots of directions. Back then Bonds was open, there was a tie shop on the downtown side of the theater and the Woolworth 5 & 10 was still in operation.

vindanpar on April 25, 2016 at 5:36 am

Sorry ‘Ascot.’

vindanpar on April 25, 2016 at 5:33 am

Saw My Fair Lady here twice. First in the summer of ‘65. Was so young all I remember is that people were dressed up for a movie which was strange to me. The movie was boring.

Saw it again in I believe Jan of ‘71. 70mm presentation but without intermission to allow for continuous performances. Though prices were different mezz and orchestra and balc. I think orch and mezz were $3.50 and balc was $3. Still kind of a snooze.

It wasn’t until I was older and saw it in 70mm at the Warner Cinerama that the film totally floored me. One of the true greats. Though nobody will ever see it like that again. The huge curved screen had a clarity and depth which gave the film an almost 3D feel. When Hepburn makes her first appearance at Ascott the image was almost startling in its beauty.

And the 6 track analogue stereo sound was glorious with Previn’s magnificent conducting.

Met Jeremy Brett years later and told him it was one of my favorite films. He said it was one of his as well.

Even the people who treasure this film on their Blu Ray players have no idea how good it is.

michaelkaplan on December 26, 2015 at 5:44 am

I got to see “South Pacific” at the Criterion in 70mm Todd-AO. Unlike Todd-AO screenings at the Rivoli up the street, the Criterion projected this film on their standard, lightly curved CinemaScope screen. Nevertheless, the image was extremely sharp and sound quality excellent. There was controversy at the time for the director using color filters for the musical numbers. If anything, it was distracting.

Cimarron on November 28, 2015 at 1:03 am

Nice pic’s! South Pacific .. Great Movie!

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 5:24 am

Two 1958 photos added. “South Pacific” on the marquee.

PeterApruzzese on November 5, 2015 at 12:42 am

Great article, Michael. Love seeing that slow rollout and long runs these films had.

Coate on November 4, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Given all of the recent chatter here about “My Fair Lady,” I suppose I ought to pass along the link to a recently-published historical article on “My Fair Lady,” which includes an overview of its roadshow release, headed, of course, by the lengthy run at the Criterion. Do give the article a peek if you’re a fan of the film and/or of the roadshow era.

Still Loverly: Remembering “My Fair Lady” On Its 50th Anniversary

PeterApruzzese on October 29, 2015 at 12:39 am

The new DCP is supposed to be stunning wjphen played in 4K based on reports from people who’ve seen it projected properly and the restoration team. They were also able to use the original tracks for the first time since 1964. The track on the 1994 restoration was from dupes.

Cimarron on October 28, 2015 at 3:15 am

Yes, Cinerama was the best in projection technology of the period but, with the visible separation of 3 camera shots compared with todays super hd, today is the obvious choice but, for the late 50’s, early 60’s, Cinerama won hands down…Technology march forward with today’s Cine..No comparison and guess what, It will continue to evolve with improvement on never ending changes…Still like to see the old b&w films in spite. Keep on Truckin!

vindanpar on October 28, 2015 at 1:22 am

Yes it was the Bowtie and it was the restored version to tie it in with the blu-ray coming out.

It looked no better than the 90’s restoration and the sound was much worse. In fact the sound wasn’t very good even at the Ziegfeld in ‘93.

I guess Super Panavision 70 6 track stereo has deteriorated beyond salvation.

theatrefan on October 28, 2015 at 12:28 am

If it’s the Bowtie over there it must have been a DCP. Was this supposed to be the restored version?

vindanpar on October 28, 2015 at 12:12 am

At a multiplex in Hoboken.

Digital projection.

No life to it whatsoever.

If you can’t get the opening credit sequence to this film right, and I consider it one of the best, forget it.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 27, 2015 at 8:14 pm

MFL = My Fair Lady.

Where did you see it?

vindanpar on October 27, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Recent MFL restoration lousy. Left shortly after titles. Sound flat and only behind the screen. Image did not have the practically 3D brilliance that the original Superpanavision 70MM prints had. Image did not even fill the screen. I guess if you like these films on DVD you’ll be fine. For me they are unwatchable. But I saw it on the 80ft curved screen at the Warner Cinerama. With a sound system that was glorious. I didn’t expect it to be so magnificent. It was something.