Little Carnegie Playhouse

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

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Showing 1 - 25 of 73 comments

nyer13 on October 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

In the ‘70s we usually sold out @ approx. 480 seats. We also day dated with either the Baronet or Coronet depending on the movie.

The most disappointed audiences I saw were for “La Grande Bouffe.”

nyer13 on October 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I worked at the Little Carnegie from ‘71 to '77 (usher/doorman). Among other notables – We played new Woody Allen films & his agents/producers had offices further east on the block. We did a screening for WNEW-FM of “Catch My Soul” – a rock Othello with Iago played by the actor who later played the colonel chasing “The A Team.” We also did screenings for Richard Brown’s film appreciation course which was then associated with The New School. As an unofficial perk I got to attend the course & met Peter Yates of “Robbery” “Bullitt” chase fame, a very nice fellow whose UK movie history is interesting as there are a few precursors to both Robbery & Bullitt in his earlier & often non-directorial work.

& John & Yoko did come in one time when I was working. John Wolgamot was the long-term mgr when I was at the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 31, 2012 at 9:06 am

There are probably few people who remember the original 1928 look of the Little Carnegie Playhouse. It was a strikingly modern design, most likely inspired, at least in part, by the work of the German Bauhaus. Here are two photos from the December 1, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News showing the auditorium and lounge.

I don’t know how much of the original design was lost in the early 1940s remodeling by Thomas Lamb’s office, but whatever might have remained after that was wiped out in the gut renovation designed by John McNamara that was undertaken in 1952. So far I’ve been unable to discover who the theater’s original architect was.

marcystarnes on October 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Most of the films that Played at The Little Carnegie Theater in the seventies and eighties, were a big sucess: Annie Hall, Tess, Tommy, The French Lieutenant’s Woman. I would like to see a photo.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 1, 2011 at 7:01 am

“The Talented Mr Ripley” is actually a very fine movie.

robboehm on August 31, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Loved Purple Noon. Didn’t see the English remake. They never hold up.

AlAlvarez on August 31, 2011 at 8:10 am

“Plein Soleil” was later successfully remade in English as “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

Tinseltoes on August 31, 2011 at 7:26 am

Fifty years ago today, Rene Clement’s “Purple Noon,” with Alain Delon, Marie Laforet, and Maurice Ronet, opened its American premiere engagement at the Little Carnegie. Curiously, a large display ad in The New York Times for the Times Films release neglected to mention color photography (by Eastman). But perhaps the public would assume that from the title, which had been “Plein Soleil” in the suspense drama’s European release.

miclup on August 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I was very fortunate to work at the Little Carnegie as a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s. What a magnificent place! Like a smaller version of the Beekman but even better. The doors to the theater were amazingly deco. Seeing the photo of the interior posted in one of the comments was shocking. In my mind, this place was huge. It was actually quite teanie. But what programming! Because they were a premiere platform theater, everything opened here to huge crowds, celebrities, and very long runs. I worked there for several years during high school and the only 2 films I remember are PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and MANHATTAN. They were hugely successful and played for months.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Here is a fresh link to the picture of the Little Carnegie on the cover of Boxoffice, October 4, 1952.

Tinseltoes on January 31, 2011 at 8:21 am

On this day in 1942, United Artists' “New Wine,” a B&W biography of the great classical composer Franz Schubert, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Little Carnegie. Though Schubert was known to be obese and unattractve, he was portrayed on screen by handsome ex-model Alan Curtis, whose real-life spouse, Ilona Massey, played his aristocratic patroness. A scene where the Countess tries to persuade Beethoven to hire Schubert to complete “The Unfinished Symphony” must have raised gales of laughter loud enough to carry into adjacent Carnegie Hall.

AlAlvarez on July 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

World’s Wonder News theatre:

View link

Tinseltoes on March 26, 2010 at 7:45 am

To answer the query above by Ed Solero on 9/15/06, the Little Carnegie did become a newsreel theatre, closing on June 30th, 1941, for re-modeling by Thomas Lamb’s firm, according to reportage in The New York Times. The seating capacity was reduced from 470 to 350 to permit installation of larger upholstered chairs and more space between rows. The auditorium walls were newly covered with rust-and-cream brocades, with gold-tufted walls in the main lounge. A new area was created off the main lobby where free tea and coffee were served. The Little Carnegie Newsreel Theatre opened on September 26th, 1941, charging 25 cents at all times for programs of newsreels and shorts that could run from 75 to 90 minutes in length. But competition from newsreel houses in the heart of Broadway/Times Square proved too much, and the theatre switched back to features as the Little Carnegie Playhouse on December 5th, with the subsquent-run “A Yank in the R.A.F.” This turned out to be only days before the USA entered WWII, but there was no turning back to the newsreel policy. Sub-run features continued into late December, when the Little Carnegie obtained a first-run booking with the British import, “Quiet Wedding,” which proved very successful and enabled the theatre to remain first-run with a mix of British imports and American independent releases, sometimes punctuated by revivals of “quality” foreign and American films.

AlAlvarez on March 3, 2010 at 7:05 am

The Little Carnegie closed in April 1982 after an extended run-in with Susan Sarandon’s aforementioned lemony breasts.

“Atlantic City” was not a bad way out for this classy venue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 28, 2010 at 1:11 am

A photo of the auditorium of the Little Carnegie as remodeled by John McNamara was featured on the cover of Boxoffice, October 4, 1952. Two giant salamanders, cleverly disguising themselves as Art Moderne ornamentation, waited on either side of the screen to pounce upon and devour arriving audience members.

kencmcintyre on September 2, 2009 at 6:55 pm

“I am a Camera” was playing at the Little Carnegie in October 1955. Click on the ad for an expanded view.

Astyanax on February 7, 2009 at 9:28 am

Saw Louis Malle’s “Murmurs of the Heart” there. Enjoyed the movie, but hated having to leave the plush and comfortable lounge area.

worldpeople3 on February 7, 2009 at 1:10 am

I found this website after doing a search for information about the little Carnegie and the Thalia. I lived in New York for a year in 1980 and attended the Little Carnegie only once, to see the Woody Allen film Manhattan. What a wonderful experience, to see that film on the big screen with a New York audience. At the end the film got a standing ovation from the audience. This Seattle boy was impressed.

Henry Smith

kencmcintyre on February 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine in May 1943:

NEW YORK-Martin J. Lewis and Erwin Lesser, operators of a chain of art houses here, and Goldberg Brothers, operators of the Studio Theater, Philadelphia, have jointly purchased the Little Carnegie Theater, West 57th St., from Jack Davis, former British theater operator. The new management will take possession at once and will operate it as a first-run art theater.

Robert C. Spodick has resigned as manager of the Ascot, first-run foreign film house in the Bronx, to become manager of the Little Carnegie. Spodick has been manager of the Yorktown and publicity man and assistant at various Loew houses.

edblank on May 7, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Great illustrations, Warren. Just to see the interior brings back vivid memories. On a 1973 visit to Little Carnegie, I caught a small film called “I Love You, Rosa” at a crowded weekend performance and sitting close to the right front exit gawking at wall ornament looming over the exit. At the time I saw “Faces” there, I remember reading a John Cassavetes interview in which he said he wanted to book his pride and joy there because he had worked in Little Carnegie many years earlier. – Ed Blank

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 22, 2008 at 7:05 am

Here are new direct links to images of a gut renovation circa 1952-53. Please see my post above of 9/4/05 at 5:27am for more details:
View link
View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 13, 2008 at 10:38 am

The program booklet for the American premiere of Antonioni’s Eclipse in December 1962 at the Little Carnegie.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 13, 2008 at 10:30 am

Over the years, the Little Carnegie had numerous managements, including Walter Reade towards the end of its lifetime.

longislandmovies on January 13, 2008 at 9:41 am