Rivoli Theatre

1620 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 1 - 25 of 744 comments

DavidZornig on September 25, 2015 at 9:12 pm

1932 “White Zombie” marquee photo added courtesy of Doug Simmons.

robboehm on March 3, 2015 at 3:34 am

Re several comments back. Maybe going pay for view would be a good idea. Movies come and go without any distribution. Contenders for Golden Globe Big Eyes and Cake had almost zip distribution. Before Academy Awards Birdman was a tough film to find.

Coate on March 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Happy 50th to “The Sound of Music,” which world premiered at the Rivoli on this day in 1965.

On a related note, some longtime Cinema Treasures readers might recall a Sound of Music 45th anniversary retrospective article I posted here five years ago. I’m in the process of updating it for the 50th anniversary, so please contact me (or post here or on the article’s page) if you note anything that ought to be added, deleted, updated, corrected, etc. Thank you.

RogerA on October 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

markp yes the studios are destroying the biz they have been wanting to eliminate the theaters and go to pay per view for years and they are succeeding

markp on September 16, 2014 at 1:00 am

techman707, when I lost my job as projectionist in May of 2013 (after 37 years) the owner I was working for said that the film companies would love to see all theatres gone and have everything go to pay per view. Now I dont know if this could happen, but you never know.

techman707 on September 14, 2014 at 6:18 pm

robboehm on May 5, 2014 at 9:46 am “techman, apparently you do not recall the demolition of the Bijou, Helen Hayes and Morosco legits, three in a row, as well as the Astor some 25 years ago. Big shiny building went up which now houses the Marquis.” =–=–=–=–=–=–=–=– My interest is in MOVIE THEATRES! When you compare how many “very special” movie theatres were destroyed or demolished, verses legitimate theaters, virtually NO LEGIT theaters were demolished (and probably NONE were destroyed.

When you say the Astor, I assume you’re referring to the old Astor and the Victoria to the right of it down the street? As for “Loew’s Astor Plaza”, that is NO GREAT LOSS! Thanks to the consent decrees beginning in 1940 onward, the Loews/MGM relationship was ended. Not only did it HURT the industry (including the independent exhibitors, it forced Loews to shut down, sell or permanently close HUNDREDS if theatres across the country. Today, ANYTHING GOES. With everything going on today, we will either wind up with NO THEATRES, or ONE COMPANY running virtually every theatre that’s left. Does a particular company or two come to mind? And finally, does ANYONE care?

robboehm on May 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm

techman, apparently you do not recall the demolition of the Bijou, Helen Hayes and Morosco legits, three in a row, as well as the Astor some 25 years ago. Big shiny building went up which now houses the Marquis.

techman707 on May 5, 2014 at 2:44 am

Demolishing the Rivoli Theatre is just FURTHER PROOF that the NYC Landmarks & Preservation Commission is not only WORTHLESS, but, quite possibly corrupt.

You can only wonder WHAT THEY WERE THINKING to allow a theatre with the historic significance of the “Rivoli Theatre” to be torn down. Yet, try tearing down one of the legit (live performance house)theaters on 44th Street and see if you could get away with it. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that ANY OF THOSE THEATERS should be eliminated, because I’m not. I view those as just as historic and should be protected. It just seems that motion picture theatres appear to have no historic value in the minds of the L&PC members.

For over two decades, the RKO Keith’s-Flushing, a spectacular “atmospheric theatre”. A theatre that uses twinkling stars and a special ceiling that utilizes a special projector that projects clouds that slowly changing shape as it moves across the ceiling. The end result makes you feel (and it really works) like you are sitting out in the open watching the movie.

They say there are only 5 functioning atmospheric theatres left in the United States. Here in NYC, we probably had one of the BEST examples, but we’re letting it just ROT!

bufffilmbuff on April 17, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Thanks Ed. The lowered projection ports is what made me think it was the Rivoli. I guess this was not that uncommon in the 50’s as various widescreen processes caused changes in the theater layouts. I will say that SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS probably gives us one of the best looks at what parts of NYC looked like in the fifties.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm

The shot of Tony Curtis, as Falco, watching Hunsecker’s sister enter the theater, was filmed at the corner of W. 54th Street and Sixth Avenue. The bar and restaurant behind him is now the site where the New York Hilton is located. That would make it appear that the theater itself was the original Ziegfeld Theatre. However, neither the interior shots of the theater, nor the exterior showing the sister entering (and later the Marty Milner character in the outside foyer) were shot at the Ziegfeld.

Suggesting it was the Ziegfeld actually makes sense, since at the time of the filming, that theater had been used by NBC as a television studio. But the exterior shots are of a different facade, just judging from the windows and storefront immediately to the right of the marquee.

As for the Rivoli, by this time (1957) the interior had already been streamlined for its wide-screen road show retrofit. The interior shots in the film show far too much original vintage ornamentation to be the Rivoli – not to mention the design around the proscenium is a bit different. I don’t know where they filmed those shots, but it is definitely an old movie palace that had been retrofitted for direct-throw wide-screen projection (you can glimpse the new booth, cut into center of the loge, in the background), just not the Rivoli.

bufffilmbuff on April 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I recently watched the movie SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, where you can see some ads in the street for the Rivoli and OKLAHOMA! But there is a scene in a theater here which looks very much like the picture of the Rivoli posted on AMERICAN WIDESCREEN MUSEUM. Does anyone know if this scene was shot in the Rivoli… and if not does anyone know what theater it was. Thanks.

markp on April 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm

I hate that black skyscraper every time I pass it. Same for the Roxy site. And Roseland, I was just there a year ago for the opening night party of “Motown the Musical”. Another shame that one is gonna bite the dust too.

robboehm on April 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm

And now a venue of a different sort is also succumbing to developers, Roseland Ballroom.

paullewis on April 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm

“Replaced by a black skyscraper” This would also apply to the Roxy and Capitol, three of the finest and most famous movie palaces ever built, denied to future generations through sheer greed of developers and a city administration blind to it’s unique heritage.

Cimarron on March 28, 2014 at 12:43 am

Pic of World Premiere ad “The Snake Pit” added to Photo Section.

rivoli157 on March 19, 2014 at 4:41 am

Just uploaded photos of the marquee and front of theatre during the engagements of STAR!, HELLO, DOLLY! and JUSTINE. Taken in 1968 and 1969

robboehm on February 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm

World Premiere of “Modern Times” February 5, 1936 with performances beginning the next day. Ad posted in photo section.

RSM3853 on January 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for the info – what I’ve been doing is copying entire lists of films (not just single titles) from Excel and pasting them in.

I have not been counting “invitation-only charity premieres” such as those held for roadshow films, but the week that the regular paying-public got to get into the theater…I found a lot of these were on Tuesday evenings, which is why some of my dates are a week later…and yes, I used Variety a lot, but I would subtract 6 days from the date on the city report.

Coate on January 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm

RSM3853…I’d hate to think your effort will go to waste if folks choose not to read them because they dislike the layout or question the accuracy/comprehensiveness of the information. Using Wednesday dates is your prerogative, of course, but I think it will lead to confusion. Some titles are listed a week late (CLEOPATRA, for instance) and I suspect it’s because you used Variety, which reports grosses a week after the reporting period.

Having spent numerous hours researching JAWS for a retrospective article, I can state that I found no theaters that opened it on Wednesday, June 18th, 1975. I found all “first wave” openings were Friday, June, 20th (but I guess you should list it as the 18th if you insist on using the “Wednesday of the opening week” approach).

You don’t need to re-type everything. It’s the Cinema Treasures application that is causing the jumbled paragraph layout. To create a list, simply paste in your title, then follow it with two spaces and a hard return, and it will create…

10/17/56 Around the World in 80 Days
10/01/58 South Pacific
04/01/59 Compulsion…

RSM3853 on January 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Thanks so very much for catching that, Coate – I put my info in Excel spreadsheets and didn’t catch the word “Rivoli” for the “Jaws” row because it was behind “Loew’s Orpheum” alphabetically. It opened in most cities on Wednesday, June 18, 1975. I actually wondered about that when I sorted the spreadsheet – didn’t think “The Return of the Pink Panther” played that long.

Re: Your other concerns. As I’ve already typed all this data in Excel, I don’t have time to retype everything, so I just copy and paste, which probably is what makes it one paragraph. Any suggestions to improve the format are welcome – I’m just trying to get my data on here for others to save them all the years of microfilm reading I’ve done.

As far using Wednesday dates, I grew up and live in Pittsburgh, and our theaters changed bills on that day up to around October 1974, when they began trying Fridays. Going through old newspapers on microfilms, it would take forever to look at every single day to see what new openings there were. In addition, Variety used Wednesdays for their weekly box-office reports so I choose to do so, also. The date I use is just considered by me to be the first day of the opening week, although many cities opened new films on Wednesdays beside Pittsburgh.

Finally, I think that anyone who might be interested in Cinema Treasures is pretty much already aware of the titles that were “roadshow presentations” and there are other websites that list 70 mm or other large size film, so that info is already available elsewhere…I was just interested in what theaters played what films when compared to here, regardless of process or type of booking.

But I thank you for reading my posts! :–)

moviebuff82 on December 30, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Judging by the picture shown here…Jaws drew a huge crowd here.

wally 75
wally 75 on December 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

Coate..you are right, I was GM there at that time, one it had a World Premiere on the 18th or 19th…Back then there was what they called “A RED CARPET” run..then a few weeks later opened wide.

Coate on December 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm

RSM3853… Also, I appreciate all of the research (as I am sure others here do as well), and I wish more people compiled info of this type, but a few undesirable things, in my opinion, stand out. One, the lists are difficult to read presented as a giant paragraph. I think readers would find it much easier to read and reference if you used a left-margin-based list. (I think to create a hard return in the current Cinema Treasures format is two spaces and a return.) Two, I think using the Wednesday dates is going to disappoint or even infuriate anyone with a serious interest in this type of information. It would not have taken much more time to have scanned through the microfilm to ascertain the precise opening date. And, three, I think it would be useful and interesting to identify those films that were a roadshow or employed any type of special distribution/exhibition process to distinguish them from the ordinary releases.

Coate on December 28, 2013 at 6:58 pm

RSM3853… “Jaws” is missing from your list. It started 06/20/75 (or 06/18/75 using your “Wednesday of the opening week” approach).

RSM3853 on December 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Films at the Rivoli from 1958-1975. Date is the Wednesday of the opening week. 10/17/56Around the World in 80 Days 10/01/58South Pacific (pop) 04/01/59Compulsion 06/10/59John Paul Jones 08/05/59The Big Fisherman 01/13/60The Story on Page One 03/09/60Can-Can 10/26/60The Alamo 03/22/61The King and I ® 04/19/61Mein Kamph 05/17/61On the Double 06/21/61Two Loves 07/26/61Francis of Assisi 10/18/61West Side Story 04/03/63The Ugly American 06/19/63Cleopatra 09/02/64Samson and the Slave Queen 09/02/64A House is Not a Home 11/04/64Youngblood Hawke 12/23/64Sex and the Single Girl 03/03/65The Sound of Music 12/21/66The Sand Pebbles 08/23/67The Trip 10/11/67Gone With the Wind ® 10/23/68Star! 04/02/69Sweet Charity 12/17/69Hello, Dolly! 08/12/703 in the Cellar 10/21/70The Professionals/In Cold Blood ® 10/28/70Cromwell 12/23/70The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun 01/27/71The Last Valley 03/10/71Lawrence of Arabia ® 05/26/71Big Jake 07/21/71The Seven Minutes 08/04/71The Abominable Dr. Phibes 08/04/71Yog: Monster from Space 08/18/71Fools' Parade 11/03/71Fiddler on the Roof 12/06/72Man of La Mancha 03/28/73The Godfather ® 04/11/73The Swingin' Stewardesses 04/18/73Scorpio 05/09/73Theater of Blood 06/27/73Live and Let Die 08/01/73Jesus Christ Superstar 10/10/73Midnight Cowboy/Where’s Poppa? ® 10/17/73MASH ® 10/31/73Nurses Report 11/14/73The Don is Dead 12/12/73Superchick 12/19/73The Seven-Ups 07/17/74Mr. Majestyk 07/31/74Bank Shot 08/21/74Pink Floyd 09/04/74Doctor Zhivago ® 10/16/74Gone With the Wind ® 11/13/74The Savage is Loose 12/18/74The Island at the Top of the World 02/05/75Harry and Tonto/Claudine ® 03/12/75The Great Waldo Pepper 05/21/75The Return of the Pink Panther 12/03/75A Trip with the Teacher 12/17/75Treasure Island/Dr. Syn ® 12/24/75Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ®