Rivoli Theatre

1620 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Rivoli Theatre

A “sister” to the nearby Rialto Theatre, this lost theatre was a palatial early delight and once one of the grandest theatres on the east coast. The Rivoli Theatre opened December 28, 1917 with Douglas Fairbanks in “A Modern Musketeer”.

In its middle years, the Rivoli Theatre was one of New York City’s finest ‘roadshow’ theatres and was converted to 70mm Todd-AO with a deeply curved screen by Michael Todd for his feature, “Oklahoma!” which had its World Premiere on October 13, 1955 and was shown for 51 weeks. Other World Premieres of 70mm films included “Around the World in 80 Days”(October 17, 1956 and was showcased for 103 weeks), “The Big Fisherman”(August 4, 1959), “West Side Story”(October 18, 1961 and was screened for 77 weeks), “Cleopatra” (June 12, 1963 and was shown for 64 weeks), “The Sound of Music”(March 2, 1965 and was screened for 93 weeks), “The Sand Pebbles”(December 20, 1966), “Hello Dolly”(December 16,1969), “Fiddler on the Roof”(November 3, 1971) and “Man of La Mancha”(December 11, 1972).

The 1950’s deeply curved screen was enormous and generated the illusion of peripheral vision. The Rivoli Theatre, along with the nearby Capitol Theatre, showed event films and both movie houses showed “2001” on their giant screens. Patrons also recall that the sound quality of the six track stereo was as impressive as it’s visuals.

After it was twinned in December 1981, and the curved screen was removed. It became the United Artists Twin from October 26, 1984. One of the last features to play there was Richard Haines' low budget movie, “The Class of Nuke ‘Em High”. It was closed as the United Artists Twin in June 1987.

Where urban blight had at once shuttered, but saved the Rivoli Theatre from development, a turn around in the city’s fortune made the site too tempting for developers. The Rivoli Theatre, one of the greatest of all New York City theatres, was demolished after closing in June 1987. It has been replaced by a black glass skyscraper.

Contributed by Richard Haines, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 811 comments)

EnnisCAdkins
EnnisCAdkins on February 27, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Same goes for THE ALAMO. MGM won’t spend the money to restore the film to it’s original running time of 202 minutes. GREATEST STORY, MAD WORD, HAWAII, JUDGEMENT AT NURENBURG are just a few of the roadshow films that are no longer in their original cut.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2019 at 9:39 pm

While “tweaked” may not have been industry jargon, nor might it have been apropos to the practice of trimming road show prints for additional daily screenings and/or general release, I can think of one hard ticket film where the term did apply – 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick made those trims after the premiere to do exactly that… tweak the film to enhance pacing and make clearer the connection between the monolith and the evolutionary leap made by the hominids in the opening Dawn Of Man sequence.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 28, 2019 at 4:03 am

Al, looks like Cinema70 took his ball and went home…

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on March 1, 2019 at 7:27 am

I don’t believe that “The Sound of Music” was released in Germany with all the songs cut. But the movie did prove unpopular in both Germany and neighboring Austria, as reported in this article

robboehm
robboehm on March 1, 2019 at 11:09 am

Wonder how Cabaret did in Germany considering its subject matter.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on March 1, 2019 at 1:50 pm

“Cabaret” was actually produced in Munich, Germany, so I don’t think that the subject matter was ever a problem.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

According to Variety, the German branch of 20th Century-Fox deleted all the songs. They felt that nuns singing non-religious songs would be badly received and that the film was too long anyway. When Hollywood found out, they were restored, but it was too late to revive the flop. The shortened film also ended after the wedding even after the songs were restored.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm

Hello-

thanks to everyone for replying to my post about roadshow films and their tweaking whether in their original roadshow or their general release. now I knew the currently available dvds of The Alamo, Hawaii and The Greatest Story Ever Told were the general release cut. but I was unaware that the Blu-ray disc of Judgement at Nurenburg was not the roadshow cut. how much was cut out?

EnnisCAdkins
EnnisCAdkins on March 4, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Saw “Judgment” at the Pantages in Hollywood in December 61’. It was a roadshow print with built in overture, intermission, enter act 2 and exit music.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on March 5, 2019 at 11:26 am

The Twilight Time Blu-ray of Judgment at Nuremberg is uncut and contains the roadshow elements. The Kino re-release is the same uncut version, but missing the Roadshow elements.

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