Criterion Theatre

1514 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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vindanpar
vindanpar on July 3, 2021 at 3:44 pm

But it was a Todd AO print. So it was not a general release print. How could it be? They would have had to have cut down the roadshow prints which makes little sense.

I’m think that by the time Fox video prepared the bluray no roadshow prints survived including the one I saw. Strange that Oklahoma survived beautifully and that two monster hits like 80 Days and South Pacific did not. Or did you or someone else say you actually saw an 80 Days 70mm print? If so why hasn’t it been released on bluray?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 3, 2021 at 3:23 pm

Hello-

to vindanpar-I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the 70MM festival at the Warner Cinerama in the late 70S. granted I wasn’t there but I’m hedging the bet that although it looked and sounded A++ the print you saw was the general release cut. if it was the original roadshow cut why would 20th Century Fox Home Video have needed to lamely reconstruct it?

vindanpar
vindanpar on July 3, 2021 at 2:18 pm

When I saw South Pacific in Todd AO at the Warner Cinerama in ‘78 I doubt that was cut. I’m sure it was an original 70mm print from the late 50s. It looked it. But it was still utterly magnificent and I never liked the film on TV. And I still don’t like the color filters. Still Todd AO and 6 track stereo is there anything better?

Unless that print was tossed these people did not do their job. But then people today don’t know.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 3, 2021 at 1:29 pm

Hello-

speaking of Oscar winning films which had roadshow runs at this theater. a few years back 20th Century Fox Video released a 2 disc blu-ray set of South Pacific. one disc had the general release cut most people were familiar with and the 2nd disc a lame try at reconstructing the roadshow cut. apparently when SP was tweaked for the general release the trims weren’t saved so
in the roadshow cut the tweaked scenes are replaced by the same scenes from a b&w work print. I have always found it interesting some studios save the trims and other didn’t.

vindanpar
vindanpar on July 3, 2021 at 12:37 pm

Thoroughly Modern Millie (Special Roadshow Edition) [Blu-ray] To be released August 24th.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on July 3, 2021 at 11:57 am

Please update the dates of the expansions: March 20, 1980 5 screens February 6, 1981 6 screens (that when the original theatre split the balcony and orchestra) April 8, 1988 United Artists Theatres took control of the theatre December 13, 1991 7 screens (orchestra split into two 398 screens) Closed May 4, 2000

oknazevad
oknazevad on November 25, 2020 at 10:18 am

Yeah, looking into it further the live performance space was part of the ex-Bonds/International Casino space to the left of the movie theatre. Constructed in 1988-89, it opened with 499 seats in one auditorium and 300 seats in the second. After Roundabout took it over the larger Stage Right space was the one that added a couple dozen seats to qualify as a Tony-eligible Broadway house while the smaller Stage Left space was used less frequently but was named for Laura Pels, an early leading figure in the off-Broadway movement. As a non-profit most Roundaboit productions are limited run, but ones that are successful would transfer to larger theatres elsewhere if there was demand for it (such as the 1997-98 production of 1776). After the Criterion Center was vacated for Toys R Us, Roundabout moved their Broadway productions to the American Airlines (née Selwyn) while the off-Broadway shows were moved to the new Laura Pels on 46th St (which had been the former home of the American Pace Theatre company).

However, Roundabout’s off-site productions became a huge hit, especially Cabaret, which started at the Henry Miller’s (chosen because it actually had been a seedy nightclub so made for a good Kit-Kat Klub) until a crane collapse damaged the theatre. Instead of closing outright they moved to another theatre that spent time as a disco. Sorry, I meant THE disco. And the tenure at Studio 54 was so successful that Roundaboit bought the theatre outright so it would stay a theatre.

vindanpar
vindanpar on November 24, 2020 at 4:01 pm

Indeed. I think the Orleans used the actual stage, wings and dressing rooms of the Strand as well. Lots of space went unused from the time those theaters stopped being presentation houses.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 24, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Hello-

to vindanpar- I guess great minds think alike. after reading oknazevad’s 11/24 comment I was just about to note that the live theater space used by the Roundabout Theater Company was never part of the movie theater proper. if I remember correctly at the time the space opened it was stated it was unused storage space or the like. its kind of like the Orleans at the Warner. the theater proper was twined and the Orleans was created from storage space used for when the theater also presented life acts.

vindanpar
vindanpar on November 24, 2020 at 3:13 pm

But I believe though it used the Criterion name it actually was in the space of the very large Bonds clothing store which was next to the movie theater(I am of course not 100% sure.) All the movie theaters were in the actual Criterion space. After the main theater was split horizontally in two I could never go back though I did go to the Roundabout. The elegant oval lounge space in the basement…it’s unfortunate to think of it cut up into black shoebox spaces.

Twice walking on the opposite side of Broadway in the 80s I heard people saying something to the effect ‘I never thought that block would look like that.’ It really had gotten so cheap and tawdry looking after all those years of Bond/The Criterion/Woolworth.

oknazevad
oknazevad on November 24, 2020 at 12:34 pm

The write up seems to lack any mention that one of the auditoriums (post-multiplexing) was converted to live theatre use in 1989 as the “Criterion Center Stage Right”, which originally had exactly 499 seats (the maximum number to be considered off-Broadway) but, after it became the new home base of the Roundabout Theatre Company in 1991 a couple of dozen additional seats were added (probably only a row’s worth) to make it Tony-eligible as Roundabout became a force on Broadway.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on November 5, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Please update, theatre closed May 4,2000

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on November 2, 2020 at 7:29 pm

Please update, total seats 2600, count includes the 4 basement screens.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 25, 2020 at 10:30 pm

I should also note that even the most pedestrian Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme film would gross more on opening weekend at the National than any BACK THE FUTURE sequel in its entire run. And does anyone remember HIP HOP, SALSA and LAMBADA movies.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 25, 2020 at 8:06 pm

The DeMille, formally the Columbia and then the Mayfair, always seemed like a stepchild in the Times Square movie scene. Looking through old ads when it was part of the Loew’s chain, it rarely had quality exclusives and always seem to be buried in their display ads, probably even worse under Brandt. With no loving parent to watch over it and take care of it, it’s no wonder it eventually sunk.

The Warner/Cinerama was ok as a twin, at least it kept many of the architectural details, especially upstairs was still breathtaking.

The Criterion was not too bad when it was just a twin, but the nadir of Times Square moviegoing had to be those basement screens. I still shudder when I think of my experiences down there.

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 25, 2020 at 7:50 pm

Yes all the theaters showed exploitation fare but the DeMille, Criterion and Cinerama got the worst of it. It was especially bewildering to me about the Criterion. I thought it was the classiest of the bunch on my all time favorite NY block with the spectacular Bonds sign above it and then the Gordon’s Gin above that. At least until the early 70s. Both Tora Tora Tora and Nicholas and Alexandra were both very early 70s blips that had very poor runs. I remember going to Nicholas on a Saturday mat and there was hardly anyone in the audience.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 25, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Yeah, but maybe with the Capitol being the first to close, and at such an early date, spared it the ignomy of presenting exploitation fare.

Still, I wish it had remained longer to give me a chance to visit, even if I had to sit through Fists of Fury or Emmanuelle…

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 25, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Hello-

to Al A. thanks for your reply. reflecting on your reply probably of the 7 theaters studios used on a regular basis for their roadshow engagements(Criterion, Loew’s State, RKO Palace, Demille, Warner, Rivoli and Loew’s Capitol)the only one that never became a “exploitation” house to any degree was the Loew’s Capitol. its last 2 films(Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey) are both candidates for the best science fiction film ever made.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 25, 2020 at 6:32 pm

I don’t think any of these theatres avoided exploitation films. Their distributor alliances dictated the product. They all eventually played some low budget horror, Kung Fu, sexploitation or blaxploitation films.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 25, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Hello-

to vindanpar- I always enjoy reading your posts and your most recent one prompts a question. I have no idea why a studio picked whichever of the 7 Times Square houses used on a regular basis for roadshow engagements for their newest such engagement. now if a house had already become known as an “exploitation house” why would Fox have booked this theater for the roadshow engagement of Tora Tora Tora (one of my favorite WW II films) or Columbia for Nicholas and Alexandra(one of my favorite historical epics)?

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 25, 2020 at 11:08 am

As to CC’s current photo from Funny Girl to Myra Breckinridge in a matter of months shows you how Times Square and movies in general were changing very rapidly and not for the better. And then to come shortly trashy ordeals at the Criterion like Possession of Joe Delaney and Mandingo. One of the most important cinemas turned into an exploitation house in less than 6 months. More like 2 months if you include Patton as one of its more prestigious offerings. Places like Loews State and then the National and Astor Plaza managed to not wallow in the mud. Unfortunately the Criterion was the best of them.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 22, 2020 at 12:03 am

Der Bingle?

Don’t dig that kind of croonin', chum…!

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 21, 2020 at 3:10 pm

It was the $6.50 I had trouble making out but that’s what I figured. Maybe the highest movie ticket price ever adjusted for inflation for a non benefit performance? In fact taking inflation into account My Fair Lady seems to have had the highest ticket prices ever overall. Even Sound of Music at the Rivoli was cheaper. $1.25 cheaper for a loge seat on a Saturday night in 1965 dollars was a big difference.

Anybody have the prices of This is Cinerama or Cleopatra at hand for comparison?

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 20, 2020 at 9:06 pm

Grindhouse could you list the prices for MFL for NY’s Eve which are difficult to make out?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 9, 2020 at 4:05 pm

Hello-

I should think The Guns of Navarone had ROADSHOW written all over it. I’m highly surprised Columbia didn’t do so.