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Well, DeNiro might be otherwise occupied because he took control of the old Screening Room on Varick in his beloved Tribeca.
One memorable evening I spent here was in the mid 1980s when Godard’s “Hail Mary” was screening here. This film, while not the cause celebre of Scorsese’s much more high profile “Last Temptation of Christ,” caused some kerfuffle back in the day. I remember attending the other film that was playing with “HM” and leaving the theatre and having to bypass this gauntlet of strange people who were on the sidewalk praying with a great deal of intensity.
This is the one theatre that I wish had been saved of the theatres I patronized since I moved to NYC (‘82). What a beauty. It would have made for a great revival house.
I was watching a documentary about the making of the notorious flop “Heaven’s Gate” and there was some news footage of the Cinema I,II,III in the documentary because this was where HG had its disastrous premier. Canby in the Times panned — belittled the filme — and after a week it was pulled from theatres, shortened and re-released in theatres to no avail.
I remember Ralph Donnelly from the days when I took Richard Brown’s film class (early 90’s) and he would guest host the class when RB was otherwise occupied. Ralph always seemed like a class act. He is listed in the Walter Reade Theater’s calendar as one of the “President Emeriti.” I remember reading somewhere — this was awhile ago — that they had a big testimonial dinner for Ralph. Probably when he retired.
One other annoying aspect of this gigantic theatre is the background. The auditoriums are actually on levels two and three with a lobby on the street level. You take two escalators to get to the first level of theatres and a second escalator to get to the second level of theatres.
The problem is that the bathrooms — at least the men’s room — is on the second level of theatres so if nature calls and you are in one of those theatres on the first level, it is a long walk and an escalator ride. I don’t know what the Loews people were thinking when they designed the theatre this way.
There is a huge Regal multiplex that opened in the area.
With all the office workers in the Metroplex office complex adjacent to the downtown Brooklyn pedestrian mall it is a shame that downtown Brooklyn has declined. Gage & Tollner, a classic NYC restaurant, couldn’t make a go of it and closed its doors not all that long ago.
I remember walking around downtown Brooklyn in the eighties and there was another theater that may or may not have even been open in downtown Brooklyn on one of the side streets over near the Albee Square Mall. It might have been a single-screen theatre. What was the name of that theatre?
Is there a listing for the Pavilion Brooklyn Heights?
The Gramercy, run as a Frank Rowley-run revival house, opened I believe on 4/16/93 and closed on 11/14/93 with a double bill of Olivier’s (and Shakespeare’s) “Henry V” and “Waterloo Bridge.” The cinema closed in the middle of the advertised program. I remember “Ship of Fools” was supposed to screen as were those obscure Hitchcock films that he made during WWII. I never did get to see “Ship of Fools” on a big screen. I remember I was at the venue the weekend it opened as a Frank Rowley-run revival house and the weekend it closed. And there were rumors that the theatre was closing before it closed. I still have a Gramercy Theatre T-Shirt too.
I was by there on Sunday and the name of the church that is currently there Iglesia Universal Del Reino De Dios. It is on the corner of Dean Street and Fourth Avenue. I lived in Park Slope in ‘82 and remember driving by and am pretty sure the church was there then. That part of Brooklyn was awful seedy back then, but it has come up in the world considerably. I didn’t go into the auditorium, but the lobby is in pristine condition.
What is interesting is it looks like along the front of the theatre along Fourth Avenue that apartments or offices have been constructed along the front. If you walk along Dean Street you can clearly seet the back of the auditorium.
OK, before adding a theatre I’ll write here because BAM is the closest theatre to the “Fourth Avenue/Dean Street” theatre. I haven’t checked all the Brooklyn listings but did enter BAM’s zip code and didn’t get the name of this theatre.
In any event, the theatre is on the eastern side of Fourth Avenue on the corner of Dean Street. The address if 47 Fourth Avenue and the building, which was obviously a theatre, is now occupied by the Iglesia Universal Del Reino De Dios church. I remember driving back here in ‘82 and the chuch I believe was at this site then.
Anyone know the name/history of this theatre?
You can see the theatre building clearly from the back/Dean Street and when you walk into the lobby you can tell it was a movie theatre. I think there is also a small awning.
This area in ‘82 when I lived a few blocks away in Park Slope was a pit back then with prostitutes parading up and down the street. The Brooklyn renaissance has spread to this area and it has been cleaned up to a great extent.
Instead of making the trek into Manhattan from Astoria to attend an art house ‘plex, I made the trek out to Kew Gardens on Saturday and caught a film at the Kew Gardens Cinema. I had never been there before and agree it is a delightful place to see a movie. It is clearly a labor of love for the people who own and/or run the theatre. What a difference between watching a film in a venue like this and those depersonalized mega-plexes. You can tell there isn’t too much distance distance between the owners/operators and the theatre. It is real personalized with old magazine posters on the wall and just a genuine nice vibe in the place.
It is easy on the pocketbook too. The first screening on Saturday was at a friendly $5.50 and I would have paid $10.25 or $10.50 to see the movie in Manhattan. Good bargains weekdays as well. I’ll be patronizing this place more often.
I also remember when the Angelika first opened there was kerfuffle with Dan Talbot & Lincoln Plaza. I don’t know much about the rules of exhibition, but there is the concept of exclusivity for a certain territory, which is New York City is no doubt measured in blocks. In any event Talbot tried to bar the Angelika from screening films that were playing at Lincoln Plaza.
And then Angelika, under different owners now, were threatened by BAM’s four-‘plex, three of the which screened art house fare. I don’t know if it has changed, but the Angelika wasn’t showing films that played at BAM.
The latest and hopefully last of the “Star Bores” films will be opening next month I believe. I’m sure we’ll start to see the fanatics camping out on the sidewalk waiting to get into the first screening. They literally pitch tents and camp out in Midtown Manhattan days, if not weeks, in advance of the “Star Bores” movies.
I heard that the original owner of the Angelika, Joe Saleh (sic), sold the Angelika to City Cinemas because he was going through a divorce.
When the Angelika ran the 57th Street theatre for a couple of years the Avignon Film Festival was held there and Saleh was interviewed by Jonathan Rudes, who ran the Avignon fest. It was a real interesting discussion where Saleh talked about building the Angelika. He told that story about UA wanted to impose onerous terms on running the Angelika and talks fell through and he wouldn’t let UA take the equipment out of the theatres. He also said everyone tried to talk him out of using the first-floor space as a cafe; they said use that space for more screens, but Saleh felt the cafe gave the theatres a European feel. I think he was proved right. I also remember him saying that the Angelika, then anyway, had the highest percentage of seats sold of any theatre in the country.
And I remember there were several false starts before this theatre opened. The delays in openings were publicly linked to “plumbing problems” but I bet some of the contretemps with UA caused the delay.
The first film I ever caught there was “Hidden Agenda.” I’ve been back many times since.
I patronized the Astor Plaza and remember catching Coppolla’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” here and remember people clapping after the movie.
Also, Warner Brothers quietly released (dumped) Kubrick’s 2001 into theatres in 2001 (I heard they were contractually obligated to re-release it in ‘01) and I caught it here. That was a treat to see it in a “movie palace” or what passed for a movie place in NYC in '01.
And when they re-released Friedkin’s director’s cut of “The Exorcist” it played at the Astor Plaza.
I also caught Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” here the day it opened.
Also caught “Platoon” here the day after it opened to Canby’s rave review in the Times. I remember going to the first show on Saturday and then there was a huge crowd in the lobby waiting to get into the second show. A real vibe in the theatre that day.
One problem with the Astor Plaza (and the Ziegfeld)is the fact that there was only one bathroom in a theatre of that size. What were they thinking when they designed these theatres?
I went here once and only once to see “Jason’s Lyric.” I remember a somewhat seedy atmosphere and strange people walking through the auditorium while the movie was playing.
I also believe the price here was slightly less expensive than other theatres, but I couldn’t swear to that.
I remember that Malcolm X series and attended “Malcolm X” there on 2/21/93, but didn’t write the name of the documentary down. You wouldn’t have the name of that doc would you. I just put in my notes “Malcolm X” and when I tried to find out the director’s name I realized I wrote the title down. One other thing I remember about that screening is that virtually no one was there.
Scorsese retros seem to pop up quite frequently. I caught ITALIAN AMERICAN on a double bill with equally obscure STEVEN PRINCE: ALL AMERICAN BOY at the Walter Reade back in ‘93. I think that retro paired a Scorsese film with a film that influenced it.
I do miss the Public Theater, though. I wish they would start screening films again.
I pretty sure that Clearview doesn’t own the real estate. I worked with a guy whose brother-in-law was a mega-rich real estate mogul and he mentioned in passing that his brother-in-law “owned the Ziegfeld” among other things.
I tried to find a theatre building by entering BAM’s zip code but didn’t come up with anything so I’m not sure the theatre I entered was even a theatre. I thought there was a theatre on Fourth Avenue right off Flatbush. It would have been on the east side of the street. I lived in Brooklyn in ‘82 and the area around 4th Avenue/Flatbush was pretty seedy. The building wasn’t used as a theatre, but was used as a church. I don’t know if the building still even stands. Next time I’m at BAM I’ll take a walk by to see if I can find the building, which I remember having a marquee and being shaped like a theatre. I said to myself at the time that “that must have been a theatre at one time.”
I was at a Q&A a couple of years ago where former NYT film critic Janet Maslin interviewed Harvey Weinstein of Miramax and in that discussion he expressed worry about the future of the Ziegfeld. I do remember walking by one night and they were having the premier for Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown.” In the lobby Harvey was there with Q, Mira Sorvino (Q’s then paramour), Bridgit Fonda and I forget who else getting their picture snapped.
Some people might remember this, but I think shortly after Clearview took control of the Ziegfeld they put in place a dunderhead policy regarding “pick your seat.” I’m not even sure how it worked, but I think it was tailored for people who reserved tickets over the phone. So, you couldn’t just walk up to the box office, buy a ticket and sit anywhere you pleased (getting a good seat has never been a problem in the capacious Ziegfeld).) You would buy a ticket and have to pick where you wanted to sit. It was awful annoying and it was quickly abandoned. Anyone remember that fiasco?
And I remember going here to see one of the recent “Star Bores” films and specifically wanted to see it at the Ziegfeld because it was one of two places in Manhattan where they were projecting digitally. When I got there, they said the digital equipment had broken and they would be screening a regular film print.
I also remember viewing Scorsese’s “Last Temptation of Christ” here on original release and kept thinking that someone had planted a bomb in the theatre. The screening went off, of course, without a hitch.
I caught that screening of “Music Palace” and I didn’t realize that it was filmed several years ago. I had thought all those Chinatown movie palaces had closed years ago and even knowing that 1999/2000 I thought they had be gone by then.
I never went to any of these venues, but once in awhile I’ll read a review and people will say Hong Kong fare played in one of these venues. Were the films that played in these venues subtitled? And how many Chinatown theatres were there. I know there was at least several of them.
Reportedly AMC didn’t know that their competitor was planning the E-Walk with its 13 screens literally across the street. That is why the 25-screen AMC ‘plex shows art films “at the top” of the AMC 'plex. Not enough product out to film up 38 screens.
I remember being a regular at the Public Theatre/Little Theatre or whatever you want to call it. I also remember being a member. I remember about the best thing they did was a massive, if not complete, King Vidor retrospective back in ‘94. I remember being pissed because I went to see “Duel in the Sun” at the bigger Newman Theatre and they showed it in the smaller Little Theatre. I also caught the British Television series “The Singing Detective” here. Many other memories, a brief Barbet Schroeder retro and I caught “Children of Paradise” for the first time here. They also screened a new print of Ford’s “The Searchers” in the Newman Theatre.
I think Wolfe pulled the plug on the movies because the royalties from “A Chorus Line” dried up and they had to scale things back from the days when Joe Papp was flush with cash.
I also didn’t know Fabiano Canosa was still affliated with Anthology. I had heard he left AFA with some acrimony.
Meanwhile, on the parking lot just north of the Public complex was a parking lot in Astor Plaza that Cooper Union owns and they are constructing an apartment complex on the site (what else?), but when Cooper Union announced plans for the site they specifically mentioned they wanted to build a movie theatre complex in the basement/ground floor. I don’t know if those plans will still fly given that Landmark has moved into the general area on Houston Street. Anyone know?
I lived in the West Village from ‘82 to '87 and the Waverly and the Greenwich were my clubhouses. Sad to see both close, but I’m sure I’ll be making the trek to the new IFC often. Hard to believe other than the Film Forum, which isn’t technically in Greenwich Village (it is on the south or downtown side of Houston Street and the Quad there isn’t movie theatre in the West Village.
When I lived in the West Village in the 1980s there was a parking lot on the east side of Sixth Avenue. I am doing this by memory but the block was either between Sixth and Seventh Streets or Fifth and Sixth Streets and Loew’s I believe wanted to put up a multi-plex on the site. Community opposition killed the plan. It became retail stores on the ground floor (Urban Outfitters, Radio Shack et al) and apartments above.
Actually, I think the Festival was open until the mid 1990s, unless I’m confusing my 57th Street theatres. My notes say I caught “Romeo Is Bleeding” and “Dreamlover” here in 1994.
I never went to The Festival all that often. I was always aware of it, but even the fare didn’t appeal to me or it was duplicated elsewhere, closer to home.
I think this one was the first of the 57th Street Theatres to close in the spate of closings in the 1990’s and first decade of this century when we lost the Angelika 57, the 57th Street Playhouse (for commercial fare anyway) and the Carnegie Hall Cinemas (although the entrance was on Seventh Avenue) and now the Sutton.
I caught “Memoirs of a Movie Palace” at the Donnell Library on Jan. 29, 2004. It is worth seeing.
Too bad about this theatre. Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Borough President, doesn’t have any real power, but is awful energetic and is passionate about everything Brooklyn.
My beef is how can Loew’s or any other profit-making company just abandon these buildings. Aren’t they responsible for the upkeep? They can essentially just walk away from a building and leave it to rot or leave it to the taxpayers to figure out how to maintain it/demolish it?
Didn’t Paul Allen restore one of these picture palaces in Portland or Seattle? What is needed is a Brooklyn version of Paul Allen.