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Favorite Old School 70mm Cinemas (1 Viewer)

SixOfTheRichest

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70mm hasn't died out yet, I hope it never does, although many of the classic cinemas that used to screen them have been either demolished and/or renovated into other things, even multiplexes.

What are some of your favorite cinemas where you used to watch 70mm films of yesteryear?

I grew up in Auckland NZ and have yet to be impressed with retro 70mm screenings that surpassed the ones I saw in Auckland's Cinerama and Plaza Cinemas on Queen St. The ones I viewed after they were demolished, the screen's were either too small or the films weren't projected in the correct 70mm ratio. Thing is, there is not much opportunity where I currently reside to see them as they were meant to be seen.
 

FilmCrazy

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The Michael Todd Theater in Chicago was the best- it showed The Sound of Music there for 2 years. It was a small theater with a huge screen. The Cinestage Theater was next door- it had a curved screen and showed Cinerama films.
 

SixOfTheRichest

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The Michael Todd Theater in Chicago was the best- it showed The Sound of Music there for 2 years. It was a small theater with a huge screen. The Cinestage Theater was next door- it had a curved screen and showed Cinerama films.
Just looked them up. Not many interior photos, but they both look like terrific theaters. Found this advertising listing. If only that was what was available today regularly:

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JohnRice

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The late great Cooper in Denver, a classic Cinerama theater. Last film I saw there before they closed was “Ben-Hur”. The first one I saw was “Fiddler on the Roof” which started my love of movies.
 

jcroy

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The Mann National Theater.

I never realized what a treasure it was back in the day. (Los Angeles was one of my childhood homes, where the National was in the immediate neighborhood).

 

SixOfTheRichest

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I think the only theater able to show 70mm now in Chicago is the Music Box Theatre. They usually have a 70mm Film Festival every other year.
I have a good long time standing online friend who has lived in Chicago and has been to the Music Box. They have a standard 1:85 screen and for 2:20 ratio 70mm they erect a temporary screen in front of the proscenium for full effect.

Music Box ratio and 70mm screen erection
 

SixOfTheRichest

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The Mann National Theater.

I never realized what a treasure it was back in the day. (Los Angeles was one of my childhood homes, where the National was in the immediate neighborhood).

Well put, it was a treasure, although I think I did know I was often experiencing something special when going to the 2 cinemas in Auckland that ran 70mm. That is why I often feel so devastated and saddened when these wonderful presentations and great quality films are undermined for the multiplex experience and latest unoriginal popcorn experience. The magic has gone. I love the new recliner seats, but I often choose to go to sessions where I know they have a giant screen.
 

SixOfTheRichest

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These Cinemas were in Brisbane Oz.

The Forum Cinema building still stands, but was converted into a twin in the 80's so only knew it as that. Only built in the late 60's. Italian renaissance style apparently. 70mm would have looked great here. The twin was pretty average. Didn't have much flair or character even though some of the original decor was kept. The building still stands. Last time I noticed it was a book store.
Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 00.26.44.png


The George Cinema I was able to experience in Brisbane as that still stands but is now defunct. Didn't get to see any 70mm presentations there but was set up. One level, but quite a sloped gradient. The large screen was used by a suburban flea pit called the Boomerang in Annerley when it was dismantled. Became a small art-house cinema in the late 90's for several years, by refurbishing the back part of the cinema only.

Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 11.57.15.png
 

FilmCrazy

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I think the only theater able to show 70mm now in Chicago is the Music Box Theatre. They usually have a 70mm Film Festival every other year.
It’s the best theater in town. The have the Film Noir Film Festival every summer. Also screen White Christmas for 2 weeks every December- I never miss that.
 

Brett Lovett

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The Glenwood of Overland Park, Kansas, USA. I have never found a better place to experience a movie than their Theatre I (816 seat, 35 foot tall curved screen). I believe it was built for Todd-AO presentation. The first movie I saw there was Star Wars which played there for 56 weeks (between Theatres I & II), and started my love for movies. Theater II was also equipped for 70mm with 600 seats and a flat screen. Despite being equipped for it, the Glenwood was apparently never provided with a 70mm print of Star Wars during its original run. However I did see a 70mm print of Return of the Jedi there, which was notoriously stolen. I also so many other great movies in 70mm there. The last I saw there was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which I found disappointing due to alterations made to Theatre I by the final owners (including replacing the curved screen with a flat one to add undesirable seats, which also resulted in the loss of the screen curtains) and the movie itself.
 

SixOfTheRichest

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It’s the best theater in town. The have the Film Noir Film Festival every summer. Also screen White Christmas for 2 weeks every December- I never miss that.

The Glenwood of Overland Park, Kansas, USA. I have never found a better place to experience a movie than their Theatre I (816 seat, 35 foot tall curved screen). I believe it was built for Todd-AO presentation. The first movie I saw there was Star Wars which played there for 56 weeks (between Theatres I & II), and started my love for movies. Theater II was also equipped for 70mm with 600 seats and a flat screen. Despite being equipped for it, the Glenwood was apparently never provided with a 70mm print of Star Wars during its original run. However I did see a 70mm print of Return of the Jedi there, which was notoriously stolen. I also so many other great movies in 70mm there. The last I saw there was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which I found disappointing due to alterations made to Theatre I by the final owners (including replacing the curved screen with a flat one to add undesirable seats, which also resulted in the loss of the screen curtains) and the movie itself.
Sounds great! Looked it up, only a few interior pictures and nice how they kept the old 60's style retro signage up outside advertising films from the late 90's.

Pity you didn't get to see Star Wars in 70mm. They may have had a limited number of prints being so popular. In NZ, we didn't get the film open until Dec 77', so I'd say we would have gotten used 70mm prints distributed directly from the US more likely. The 3 major NZ cities would have gotten one and all the rest just 35mm. Not bad for a little country of just 3mill at the time.
 

Brett Lovett

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Sounds great! Looked it up, only a few interior pictures and nice how they kept the old 60's style retro signage up outside advertising films from the late 90's.

Pity you didn't get to see Star Wars in 70mm. They may have had a limited number of prints being so popular. In NZ, we didn't get the film open until Dec 77', so I'd say we would have gotten used 70mm prints distributed directly from the US more likely. The 3 major NZ cities would have gotten one and all the rest just 35mm. Not bad for a little country of just 3mill at the time.
The photos where you see the sign with the turquoise and magenta coloring are after it was moved to another nearby theater (formerly the Metcalf Theatre).

I long assumed that I did see Star Wars in 70mm, as I didn't know anything about 35 vs. 70mm when I saw it, but saw many 70mm Dolby 6-track movies there later. The eight 70mm prints for opening week went to the big cities in California, New York, and New Jersey. Michael Coate did a lot of research on this, but I'm not seeing any reference to NZ in his work. Maybe he hasn't researched that far yet. First article below includes at least some international 70mm engagements, the second is USA & Canada only.

The Original 70mm engagements Of "Star Wars"

A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

 

Worth

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The Univesity Theatre in Toronto.
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And the Eglinton.

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Brett Lovett

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I wanted to remember the theater at the Cooper, and this one is small, but gives a pretty good feel of the enormous, wraparound screen.

View attachment 88445
Beautiful theater! I would have loved to have seen Star Wars there (closest theater to me where it did play in 70mm). I also would have loved to compared the experience with that at the Glenwood. The only Cinerama house I've seen a movie in is the Seattle Cinerama, and I'll take my Glenwood over it any day (except for a real Cinerama presentation, which the Glenwood was never equipped for.)
 

JohnRice

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Beautiful theater! I would have loved to have seen Star Wars there (closest theater to me where it did play in 70mm). I also would have loved to compared the experience with that at the Glenwood. The only Cinerama house I've seen a movie in is the Seattle Cinerama, and I'll take my Glenwood over it any day (except for a real Cinerama presentation, which the Glenwood was never equipped for.)
Pretty sure I saw all of the original trilogy there.
 

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