Festival Theatre

6 W. 57th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 1 - 25 of 59 comments

rivest266
rivest266 on September 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

I uploaded the June 24th, 1963 grand opening ad as well as the photo from the International Projectionist.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm

The architect’s surname is Zelnik, not Selnik. His surname is spelled correctly on the Playhouse Theatre and Joyce Theatre pages, but his middle initial is missing from both.

A two-page article about the Festival Theatre with photos appeared in the July, 1963, issue of International Projectionist. See it at this link.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on January 14, 2013 at 5:15 am

I workd at this theater in 81 and 82.

Lockjawal
Lockjawal on January 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Like Suthnuh24, I was also part of the Fr-Sat RHPS crowd between ‘78 & 80. Used to do the floor show as Dr. Scott. Good times & great parties afterwards! “..TO THE KITCHEN..!” (INSIDE JOKE)

P.S. also worked at The Plaza theatre on 58th St. during this time so I got to see RH for free on courtesy pass.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on October 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Marcy, if you look at previous posts you will find photo links.

marcystarnes
marcystarnes on October 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Run for many years under The Walter Reade Theaters. I wish we could see a photo of the theater, as this does not do it justice.

ClintGuy
ClintGuy on April 25, 2011 at 4:15 am

Lance sees “Desperate Characters” here in an episode (around 11) of AN AMERICAN FAMILY which is currently being rerun this weekend in various PBS outlets. He is filmed walking along the street to it (you can see the Solow office building being constructed across the street)and going into the lobby, and the film crew actually filmed a minute or so of the film on screen!

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 4, 2010 at 10:31 am

This closed as Loew’s Festival in August 1994 with “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on July 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

This theatre played Army Of Shadows in one of their French film festivals back in 1984. The official US release would not come until 2007, when Rialto had a successful run of the 1969 film.

suthnuh24
suthnuh24 on July 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm

The Festival Theater is where our crowd gathered on Saturday night for the midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show around 1978 through 1980 thereabouts, where a lot of us acted out the movie as it played. It may have been a poor theater for normal movie goers, but for our purposes it was just fine. The theater personnel put up with a lot from us, and occasionally joined in the fun.

bflonyguy
bflonyguy on March 6, 2009 at 3:31 am

I saw “Salo” here, too. It was a weeknight, and the ticket-window girl was reading and wouldn’t look up. An usher pssst-ed me over, took my 5 bucks, and let me in. I was one of maybe four patrons in the theater that night. Didn’t the owner think it was odd that the takings were, like, zero?
One of the few times I had to briefly close my eyes during a movie (and, believe me, I’m not a prude!!!): “Salo”, the endings of “Day of the Locust” and “Star 80”, and anything with Marisa Tomei.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 28, 2008 at 1:06 am

In June of 1990 this venue was used for a festival of new Italian cinema of the sort that plays the Walter Reade now from time to time. I remember coming down from the galactic hinterlands just to see Nanni Loy’s marvelous Neapolitan musical about street kids, Scugnizzi.

edblank
edblank on May 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm

The last I caught here was Sam Shepard’s “Far North,” with Jessica Lange, in 1988.

cinepaul
cinepaul on October 6, 2007 at 7:35 am

First time I was here was January ‘72 for Pasolini’s “Decameron”; even though it was X-rated, I was admitted without any fuss (I was just 17). In April 1981, I saw a Pasolini triple-bill here – Decameron, Canturbury Tales, and Arabian Nights – from the first row of the balcony, which was probably the best seat in the house. In late '84 and early '85, the Festival hosted, over two or three months, a massive festival of French films, most of which had not been released previously. I saw Lelouch’s A Nous Deux and Demy’s Une Chambre en Ville (I wish someone could post the schedule for this!) Last time (I think)I was here was for the awful Godfather Part III, in March of '91.

P.S. I would agree with barrywerks post of 8/21/04 that the first few rows of seats were slanted upward somewhat toward the screen, like the Thalia. I have a distinct memory of that.

RobertR
RobertR on June 4, 2006 at 5:32 am

Every couple years United Artists re-released Goldfinger paired up with another Bond feature. Here it is in 1972 with From Russia With love at the Festival. They are not calling it Premiere Showcase, they are using Red Carpet.
View link

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on April 30, 2006 at 7:53 am

I worked at the Festival from 80-82 fro Joe Torres. There was no marquee. We had a sign in the upstairs window that said Festival Theater.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on April 30, 2006 at 6:41 am

The zoning on that particular block did not prohibit a marquee structure, but it did prohibit exterior illuminated signs on any business. The Festival, as well as many of the other businesses on the block got around that by having the illuminated sign inside, facing out the window.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 30, 2006 at 4:24 am

The main reason that “8 ½” opened there was that it was released by Joseph E. Levine, who also ran the theatre…If I recall correctly, there was some sort of city regulation barring cinemas on 57th Street from having marquees. I know that the Sutton had one, but that might have been erected before the rule was adopted.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 30, 2006 at 3:41 am

This theatre has received a real beating in the posts here and as I recall, they are not undeserved.

…but no one has mentioned that it did open with Fellini’s 8 ½, first-run. How many theatres can lay claim to that?

Astyanax
Astyanax on November 29, 2005 at 1:29 pm

Yes Ed, the Festival had a flat, non descript marquee as did several others on West 57th St. The changing banners did have eye-appeal.

DamienB
DamienB on November 28, 2005 at 12:07 pm

What I remember most about the Festival was that there was a row of potted (presumably fake) flowers at the bottom of the screen. My first time here was to see “I Never Sang For My Father” in 1970. Although this is apparently not a fondly-remembered theatre, the Festival was an important venue for art films at the time (Visconti’s “The Damned” was the Christmas 1969 attraction).