Criterion Theatre

1514 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 201 - 225 of 606 comments

vindanpar on December 29, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I doubt the women’s theater parties and middle aged patrons were doing weed at Funny Girl though it was ‘68 so who knows.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm

I suspect that in the era when audiences sat on the floor in front of the screen to watch “2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY”, front row at “FUNNY GIRL” was no longer an issue.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 29, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Vindanpar, you are correct. It seems the first six rows, for some reason, were deemed too close to be full priced for MY FAIR LADY.

vindanpar on December 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm

My Fair Lady.

If you look at the pricing for tickets in advertisements it will give you a cheaper price for let’s say the first ten rows of the orchestra. However for Funny Girl the orch only has one price. I believe I’ve seen this as well for other roadshow films at other theaters but as I mentioned it was not regular policy and perhaps done infrequently.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm

So when was this the case here?

vindanpar on December 29, 2017 at 7:27 pm

How so?

Certain houses had separate prices for the front rows of the orchestra for roadshow films but this was not a consistent policy. I was just commenting that in all the pricing I’ve seen for the Rivoli in advertisements the entire orchestra always had one price as far as I recall. If this is incorrect maybe somebody knows which films that played at the Rivoli had two separate prices in the orch for the same performance.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 29, 2017 at 7:10 pm

??? Your first paragraph seems to contradict your second.

vindanpar on December 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm

The Criterion had lower priced seats in the front rows of the orchestra for some roadshow films though not all. Maybe it depended on the studio and producer. MFL yes Funny Girl no.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the Rivoli having a separate price for front rows.

michaelkaplan on December 29, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Noting the comments and questions above, I do recall that the wide, curved screen was accommodated within the proscenium/stage area, and not requiring significant modifications to the theater or removal of seats. Of course, some seats may have been removed because they were simply too close to the screen for comfortable viewing.

michaelkaplan on December 29, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I saw the first-run of South Pacific in Todd-AO at the Criterion. The screen was mildly curved, not the deeply curved version used at the Rivoli for Oklahoma and Around the World in 80 Days. As I recall (it was long ago) the projection and sound were excellent, although the use of colored filters seemed bizarre to almost everyone who saw the film, including the critics.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 19, 2017 at 6:19 pm

“THE OMEN” opened at the National in 1976. The Criterion became a five-plex in 1980. “DIVINE MADNESS” opened there after the ‘plexing’. In 1981 it became a six-plex. In 1991 it became a seven-plex.

MSC77 on October 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

I detect some timeline discrepancies or mistaken recollections in some of the recent comments. A comment was made that a member saw “Divine Madness” here (presumably in autumn 1980) while it was still a single screener. But in another comment the member recollects seeing “The Omen” (presumably in 1976 if they were referring to the first run of the original movie) after the theater had been plexed. To further confuse matters, the overview includes a blurb about the 5-plex renovation occurring in early 1980. As well, in this article about the 70mm presentations of “Divine Madness” the Criterion is listed as a 5-plex. And the “Divine Madness” newspaper ad posted in the Photos section refers to the theater as Criterion Center implying plurality with the screen count. Can anyone familiar with this venue clarify its screen count timeline history?

vindanpar on October 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Though it’s impossible at this point I imagine I’d like to know what the size of the Criterion screen was for 70 MM films like Lawrence and MFL and the size of the South Pacific ‘arcing panel.’

The Variety reviewer said something to the effect that looking at the heads in SP was like looking at Mt Rushmore.

Though he didn’t mean it as a compliment I would have loved to have seen that.

I feel fortunate to have seen a Todd AO print(maybe an original? Boy those cans were big) with magnificent 6 track analog sound at the Warner Cinerama. A great experience as was seeing there MFL and Paint Your Wagon(I know blow-up but the sound blew you out of the theater.) I must be the only person on the planet who loves Marvin singing Wanderin Star with that huge men’s chorus behind him. On stage it could never be like that(and it wasn’t at Encores.) Worth the entire film.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Some of those older cinema screens had space behind them for giant speakers on what appeared to be a stage but the area was actually only about five feet deep. When the curved screen was installed for “South Pacific” they probably removed some front seats to accommodate the screen curvature.

Mikeoaklandpark on October 16, 2017 at 11:29 am

I thought for sure that when I saw the Omen in the downstairs theater after it was twinned the screen was on what appeared to be a stage. I know it had a red curtain. I know upstairs wasn’t. I saw 9 To 5 up there. That was many years ago so I could be confused.

edblank on October 16, 2017 at 6:36 am

Thank you, NYer. Your response clarifies my fuzzy recollection of what happened. Were the two stage auditoriums to the left of the original Criterion Theater? Were they both at street level? Both one level down? One of each? I think I was in there only once. And neither was in the original Criterion moviehouse space?

edblank on October 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

While it may be true (and probably is) that the Criterion never had a stage or dressing rooms during its decades as a major moviehouse, it definitely had at least one stage at the end, after the theater had been subdivided into many smaller auditoriums. One of the plays I saw there was an off-Broadway political satire called “MasterGate.”

vindanpar on October 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Well I don’t know. I just know that everytime I was in it until Alien it was flat. As I said I only read of a huge ‘arcing screen’ in the place was in the Times review of South Pacific available on line even if you don’t have a subscription.

vindanpar on October 15, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Something is very confusing here. The Criterion never had a stage. It was built as a cinema. See the vintage photos of the auditorium from the 30s on one of the previous pages.

Mikeoaklandpark on October 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

No it was a single screen Vindanpar. I sat in the first row of the mezzanine for Divine Madness. After it was twined the screen was indeed flat and part of the stage. Prior to that it was in front of the stage as was the one at the Rivoli.

vindanpar on October 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

I also saw Superman I here which may have been ‘78 after it moved over from the Astor Plaza and the screen was flat.

Had the theater been twinned before Divine Madness?

vindanpar on October 15, 2017 at 9:27 am

Well that sure is curious. Are you sure you’re not thinking of the Rivoli or Warner?

Throughout the 60s and 70s it was flat. Definitely flat in the 70s. First film I saw there in that decade was the 71 revival of MFL and the last was Alien.

Mikeoaklandpark on October 15, 2017 at 9:06 am

When did they put the curved screen in? The very first film I saw here was Divine Madness with Bette Midler and it was in 70MM and the screen was very curved and large.

vindanpar on October 15, 2017 at 4:48 am

That makes sense because I saw it that summer at the Fox in Hackensack(beautiful art deco house.)

Four months seems short for a hit roadshow film.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 14, 2017 at 7:35 pm

It opened on February 4 and played until June 23, 1970. 16 or 17 weeks.