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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » RIP The Ziegfeld Theatre, 1969-2016 (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: RIP The Ziegfeld Theatre, 1969-2016
Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 865
From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-20-2016 06:03 PM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It was announced today that Cablevision would not be allowed to renew the lease on New York City's last great single-screen movie house, the Ziegfeld Theatre, and it will close as a cinema within a few weeks. They won't be shedding any tears over it, by some reports the theatre was losing as much as a million dollars per year, additionally the place hasn't really been allowed to keep up with the latest innovations in sound either. Still, it was pretty much the last vestige of a great era of movie-going in Manhattan, nearly every NYC premiere over the last 40 or so years was held there, and until recently it was THE screen to head for for a blockbuster. I was a steady visitor since seeing Pink Floyd The Wall in 70mm there sometime in the early eighties. The theatre was still 70mm equipped, they had a preview screening of The Hateful Eight there the week before it opened. The site will be repurposed to a ballroom/concert venue. This will leave City Cinema's Paris Cinema as the only commercial single-screen theatre in NYC. Sic transit gloria Ziegfeld.

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Mike Schulz
Expert Film Handler

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From: Los Angeles, CA
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 - posted 01-20-2016 08:18 PM      Profile for Mike Schulz   Email Mike Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Although I never got the chance to visit the Ziegfeld, hearing this news certainly breaks my heart. This would be equivalent to closing The Chinese in Hollywood or The Village in Westwood (which they actually tried to do a few years ago). I'm sure it makes financial sense for the owner/operator to do this but for moviegoers in NYC it will feel like losing a good friend.

I suppose this is really good news for whichever venue all of the movie premieres will go to now.

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Buck Wilson
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From: St. Joseph MO, USA
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 - posted 01-20-2016 11:45 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Stunning.

What a loss.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 01-21-2016 12:21 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If even New York can't support a theater like this, the business is in REALLY bad shape. (Correct that losing the Chinese theater in Hollywood would be one of the only worse things.) Between the closings of many good theaters and the end of film, this is an apocalyptic time. The theater is dead, long live home theater.

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Aron Toplitsky
Film Handler

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From: Gardena, CA, USA
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 - posted 01-21-2016 04:28 AM      Profile for Aron Toplitsky   Email Aron Toplitsky   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am very sad to hear this! I grew up in NYC and have seen many movies at the Ziegfeld. Probably the most amazing experience was the restored 70MM directors cut of Lawrence of Arabia. I had never seen film look so amazing with such vivid color. Unfortunately the 70MM prints I've seen recently are not as good.

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Ben Wales
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From: Southampton. England
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 - posted 01-21-2016 05:29 AM      Profile for Ben Wales   Email Ben Wales   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That is sad news to hear, went there to see "Star Wars - Phantom Menace" in 1999.

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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

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From: San Francisco CA USA
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 - posted 01-21-2016 08:09 AM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It may not show movies anymore but maybe The Ziegfeld Theatre will switch to live shows or music events in the future. Someone may take over the lease that runs touring stage shows and they can build out the stage. Let's hope the owners don't gut the place and put in stores or shops. Gone are the days of the large single screen theatres in NYC. The Rivoli with It's giant Todd-AO or D-150 screen, Warner Cinerama, Roxie, and so many more all gone.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
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From: West Milford, NJ, USA
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 - posted 01-21-2016 08:49 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Ziegfeld will be missed. It is the only commercial cinema in NYC that was still worth the trip in from the suburbs.

Some Memorable films that I saw at the Ziegfeld, in no particular order:
  • Apocalypse Now 70mm
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall 70mm
  • Last Temptation Of Christ
  • Star Wars Special Edition
  • Porgy And Bess (original release Dye Transfer Print)
  • Lawrence Of Arabia 70mm (Restored Version)
  • Gandhi 70mm
  • Quest For Fire 70mm

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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

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From: San Francisco CA USA
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 - posted 01-21-2016 12:01 PM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Found out It will be turned into a event ballroom in 2017 with no seats. At least It won't get torn down and still used for some sort of entertainment but no regular movies when It re opens. Who gets the 70mm projectors?

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John McConnel
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From: Okmulgee, OK USA
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 - posted 01-23-2016 05:55 PM      Profile for John McConnel   Author's Homepage   Email John McConnel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw TOMMY in 70mm 6-track at the Ziegfeld. Sound was billed as "quintaphonic", and at the sunburst, your ears were aurally assaulted and your eyes were visually assaulted! I was taken by the sound. When I returned to Oklahoma, I dusted off the magnetic sound systems in two of my small-town theatres to show it, and assaulted the eyes and ears of the country folks, who loved it. It doesn't take many watts to Altec A-4s in a small theatre to deafen you.

On an earlier trip to New York, I saw CLEOPATRA in 70mm at the Rivoli. The theatre was sold out, except for four seats on the extreme left side of the front row of the left downstairs section of seats. I was only a few feet from the left side of the screen, and it was necessary to twist and crane my neck to see the movie. My neck was sore by the end. I don't remember much about the story, but do remember Elizabeth Taylor's breasts on the huge screen -- and the sore neck.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 01-23-2016 08:57 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
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I've been a participant in Film-Tech's forum for a long time. So it seems fitting to put my 10,000th forum post into a thread celebrating the memory and mourning the pending demise of New York City's Ziegfeld theater.

I lived in New York City five years and during that time I watched a lot of movies at the Ziegfeld. I'm pretty sure I've seen more movies in 70mm there at that venue than any other theater. It was my favorite theater in Manhattan and during the late 1980's Manhattan had a pretty decent selection of movie theaters, many of which showed 70mm on a fairly regular basis. More often than not the Ziegfeld was the one hosting the world premiere shows.

Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm Dolby SR was fantastic there. It really made me appreciate the difference between a movie blown up from a 35mm source and something that was truly 70mm. I watched that for the first time after being kind of disappointed with a blow-up 70mm screening of Batman at Cinema One. Spartacus was arguably an even bigger thing since Robert Harris was there before the screening giving Gene Stavis' film history class from School of Visual Arts a brief yet interesting lecture about the work that went into its restoration. I'll always remember Gene sat far up front, practically in the front row and off to the far right of the screen to watch the movie while most of us students piled into the center of the seating area.

Some of the other movies in 70mm I enjoyed there: The Abyss, The Bear, Mountains of the Moon, Edward Scissorhands, Born of the Fourth of July, Days of Thunder and The Doors. I know I have watched more movies there in 70mm, but those are just the ones I can draw from memories of more than 25 years ago. I think Backdraft was the last movie I saw at the Ziegfield, also in 70mm.

The past week has been pretty rough. Some celebrities I really liked (David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey) died. A friend of mine, Travis Tollette, also a fellow graphic designer, died last week after developing hypothermia during a wheelchair marathon race in Wichita Falls. I attended his funeral earlier this afternoon. This guy broke his neck in an ATV race accident in Colorado in 2007 yet he found ways to keep racing, as well as become a talented graphic designer and photographer. It hurts like hell to lose an inspirational person like that.

So the news that the Ziegfeld will soon be gutted to become a place to host wedding receptions or whatever is just piling on the bad news now. That's another place of which I have great memories. That theater's end hits me the same way as the closing of the General Cinemas Northpark 1-2 in Dallas. The powers that be should have found some kind of way to keep the movie theater open. If it was losing millions of dollars I don't think they were selling it to the public in the right way. The Ziegfeld was a World Premiere class movie theater. The damned thing is a tourist attraction and a must-visit place for most serious film fans. Once the Ziegfeld is gone there really won't be much, if any justification at all to hold a movie's world premiere in New York anymore.

The movie industry really has to think long and hard about just what they're doing with movie theaters. From my point of view, they're pushing people to their living room HDTV sets more and more. The average all-digital multiplex theater is very good in some respects but very unremarkable in other respects. Venues like the Ziegfeld were one of a kind.

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James Wyrembelski
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From: Beaverton, MI, USA
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 - posted 01-24-2016 09:03 PM      Profile for James Wyrembelski   Email James Wyrembelski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think the idea that it wasn't being sold to the public in the right way had more to do with it than anything else. I mean, I completely understand single screeners are so difficult. But, after reading a few other news articles on this closing I paid attention to all of the comments from locals that followed them up. It appears most were calling for more art/indie type films from this location, especially since two cineplexes nearby were always playing the same films. Even then, perhaps it still would have been a long shot. It appears they just were not interested enough in the product they decided to play, and the length of time they had to hold on to it just made it worse.

New release for weeks with one screen and competition close by just doesn't spell out to me. But, I'm not in the industry either, so what do I know? I cant imagine trying to pay the taxes alone at this location from one film for weeks. Metro area taxes boggle my mind....one of the many reasons I high tailed it right back to the rural setting.

Its a shame, but at least it won't be dozed. Perhaps a glimmer of its former glory can still be retained.

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Jesse Skeen
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From: Sacramento, CA
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 - posted 01-26-2016 12:46 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
The movie industry really has to think long and hard about just what they're doing with movie theaters. From my point of view, they're pushing people to their living room HDTV sets more and more.
Ain't THAT the truth. But it doesn't make sense that the public wouldn't support a big theater when they have one available. If the studios want these sorts of theaters to survive, they should relax the amount of time they have to keep a movie and just be happy that it plays on a big screen while people do want to see it. The IMAX downtown Sacramento is a single screen and they haven't had to keep movies too long most of the time.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 01-28-2016 11:49 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Isn't the Ziegfeld the theatre used in the "splash screen" picture in Barco's Communicator software? If so, I wonder what theatre they will choose to use to replace it.

I have only been to the Ziegfeld once, but it is a beautiful theatre and it is sad to see it go. At least Radio City still exists (though primarily for performing arts uses) and the Paris (which I have not visited) is still there.

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-28-2016 03:18 PM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When word began circulating that today would be the final day of business at the Ziegfeld, New York’s cinema fans came running. There were about 400-500 at the 12:45pm show. If I didn’t have a 3:00am call tomorrow, I would have gone to the last show, but I took in the matinee instead. While it has been some time since the Zieg was the absolute last word in projection and sound, it still looked and sounded great. What I have always appreciated most about this place is the audience it got, always attentive, respectful and tuned in, all true cinephiles (but for some reason at today’s show, the Dolby 7.1 “Spheres” snipe was met with a round of laughter. Go figure). Gonna miss this place.

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