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Favorite Old School 70mm Cinemas (1 Viewer)

John Sparks

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I remember viewing CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OTTK, SUPERMAN and a few others at the Hasting Theater in Pasadena in 70mm when they first came out.
 

cinemiracle

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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.

Do any cinemas in New Zealand still show 70mm films? We have 3,possibly 4 in Sydney (population 5 million) .3 suburban cinemas recently showed TENET in 70mm at the same time. A lot of 70mm prints for one city .I can't see any point of showing a 70mm film on small cinemascope screens which 2 of the cinemas have. In Wellington,where I was born, we had one cinema with a 60ft wide screen (largest in the Southern Hemisphere) and where I worked we had a 59ft curved Todd-AO screen. When 70mm cinerama arrived in Wellington,the screen was only 65 ft wide.Today In Melbourne they still show old 70mm films -usually one a month.They have a huge 62 foot wide screen(19 metres). No popcorn experience in those early days of 70mm-it was an American thing. Can't remember when it was sold in Australian cinemas-probably in the seventies or eighties.
 

cinemiracle

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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
I still have a curved souvenir ashtray of the Cooper Denver.Never went to the Cinema however as I only stopped for breakfast at the Greyhound bus terminal and never ventured any further (It was about 4am I think).
 

cinemiracle

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The Hollywood Paramount (Now El Capitan-owned by Disney) had a great screen for 70mm.I only ever saw one film there-QUEST FOR FIRE. A stunning film and just one of approx 175 feature films that I saw projected in 70mm. My all time favourite cinema was the Capitol followed by the Warner - both in NYC.They both screened 70mm films on their cinerama screens.Both over 90 feet (28 meters) wide.
 

cinemiracle

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The ODEON cinema in Leicester Square where I saw ALIEN , had the Largest screen for 70mm projection in Europe at the time that ALIEN opened.
 

cinemiracle

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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.

Christmas time was the time when big US summer movies opened in New Zealand. STAR WARS had a press preview in Wellington in 70mm at the Cinerama Cinema but was only released to the public in 35mm.
 

SixOfTheRichest

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Christmas time was the time when big US summer movies opened in New Zealand. STAR WARS had a press preview in Wellington in 70mm at the Cinerama Cinema but was only released to the public in 35mm.
Oh, what a shame! Perhaps limited prints. I wonder if it got damaged. Do you know if Christchurch got one?

I recall scoping through the The Dominion and The Press occasionally at the Newspaper room of the Auckland Public Library and could see the listings as to what was showing around the country and the presentations. I would get envious if I saw a 70mm screening and Auckland didn't have one.

Hamilton had 3 main cinemas down their main street that I knew of in the 70's and 80's, but can't really recall their names. I think one was Regent. Don't know if any could run 70mm.

Auckland did miss out on Alien and The Black Hole 70mm as they ran at the Civic. There were prints rated by the censor in NZ, so they must have ran them in Wellington and Christchurch. Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi ran at the Civic too, so no 70mm either for Auckland here. I didn't see any listing for these films on the OFLC NZ, unless not updated, do you know if they ran in 70mm in Wellington and Christchurch?
 

SixOfTheRichest

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Do any cinemas in New Zealand still show 70mm films? We have 3,possibly 4 in Sydney (population 5 million) .3 suburban cinemas recently showed TENET in 70mm at the same time. A lot of 70mm prints for one city .I can't see any point of showing a 70mm film on small cinemascope screens which 2 of the cinemas have. In Wellington,where I was born, we had one cinema with a 60ft wide screen (largest in the Southern Hemisphere) and where I worked we had a 59ft curved Todd-AO screen. When 70mm cinerama arrived in Wellington,the screen was only 65 ft wide.Today In Melbourne they still show old 70mm films -usually one a month.They have a huge 62 foot wide screen(19 metres). No popcorn experience in those early days of 70mm-it was an American thing. Can't remember when it was sold in Australian cinemas-probably in the seventies or eighties.
I have lived in Oz for the past 30yrs so couldn't say about NZ now. Midcity and Regent in Auckland could run them but they are both closed down now.

It appears like a special part of cinematic magic from the past has been killed off and only the dregs remain. Lucky to find those tasty morsels if in the right place at the right time. I know in Brisbane the Palace on James St in Fortitude Valley can screen 70mm but from what I have seen it is only ever the new films like from Nolan.
 

Drew Salzan

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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.
The Ziegfeld in NYC. Now closed.
 

Bartman

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The Charles in Boston, MA. I saw both Spartacus and Lawrence Of Arabia restored 70mm prints from the best seat in the house on the balcony. The Charles was practically empty on these Saturday morning shows. I was just getting into home theater so I wanted to see what the best presentation looked like!
 

jayembee

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The late, lamented Charles Cinema in Boston. Upgrade to 70mm, 6-channel sound in the late summer of 1977. The first movie they showed in 70mm was, not surprisingly, Star Wars (they'd been showing it in 35mm for the whole summer prior to the upgrade). Closed in the mid-90s. In fact, the entire shopping plaza it was in was demolished.

There's also the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline (MA). I've seen some amazing 70mm screenings there. It's unfortunate that I haven't really been able to go there since I moved up to New Hampshire.

And speaking of the Cooper Theater, there was one in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, with a nice curved screen. I saw a couple of films there when visiting friends there: Superman and The Abyss.

 

jayembee

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The Charles in Boston, MA. I saw both Spartacus and Lawrence Of Arabia restored 70mm prints from the best seat in the house on the balcony. The Charles was practically empty on these Saturday morning shows. I was just getting into home theater so I wanted to see what the best presentation looked like!

You beat me to it. I didn't see the Spartacus restoration there, but I did see the Lawrence one. It opened on a Wednesday, first showing in the afternoon, and it was sold out (but not before I got my ticket).
 

RichMurphy

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My favorite here in DC was the Uptown, where 2001 had its world premiere. A former Cinerama house, it kept its giant curved screen and impressive sound system even after it replaced the louvered Cinerama screen with conventional screen material. Unfortunately, its later conversion to digital projection was done on the cheap - as you can see below, the corners of the image were cut off, and they didn't bother to adjust the masking to compensate for the smaller image.

The Uptown closed permanently in March of last year, just before all other DC movie houses were shuttered because of the pandemic.

Uptown 2018.JPG
 

vic1964

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The Park in London Ontario Canada! Closed in 1989 but still exists as a live theater. Screen being installed mid 60's. 2 projector carbon arc with a brilliant image and great acoustics! Masking and curved curtains. Showmanship with curtains and stage lighting was always breathtaking. Lost art.
20264592_10155587041434772_3546136441930977067_n.jpg
20375792_10155587042074772_7367788893687429447_n.jpg
521598_318545768271727_1507010505_n.jpg
 

Desdinova

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The Uptown in Washington, DC. They frequently had 70mm festivals there and can't remember how many great films I saw...Blade Runner, Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, Alien, Star Wars ('77, original run)...
 

SixOfTheRichest

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My favorite here in DC was the Uptown, where 2001 had its world premiere. A former Cinerama house, it kept its giant curved screen and impressive sound system even after it replaced the louvered Cinerama screen with conventional screen material. Unfortunately, its later conversion to digital projection was done on the cheap - as you can see below, the corners of the image were cut off, and they didn't bother to adjust the masking to compensate for the smaller image.

The Uptown closed permanently in March of last year, just before all other DC movie houses were shuttered because of the pandemic.

View attachment 88520
Yeah! That looks a bit dodgy with the distorted sides particularly. Doing things on the cheap only means contempt for the audience and not caring about presentation.
 

cinemiracle

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Oh, what a shame! Perhaps limited prints. I wonder if it got damaged. Do you know if Christchurch got one?

I recall scoping through the The Dominion and The Press occasionally at the Newspaper room of the Auckland Public Library and could see the listings as to what was showing around the country and the presentations. I would get envious if I saw a 70mm screening and Auckland didn't have one.

Hamilton had 3 main cinemas down their main street that I knew of in the 70's and 80's, but can't really recall their names. I think one was Regent. Don't know if any could run 70mm.

Auckland did miss out on Alien and The Black Hole 70mm as they ran at the Civic. There were prints rated by the censor in NZ, so they must have ran them in Wellington and Christchurch. Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi ran at the Civic too, so no 70mm either for Auckland here. I didn't see any listing for these films on the OFLC NZ, unless not updated, do you know if they ran in 70mm in Wellington and Christchurch?
Unsure if STAR WARS was in 70mm in Christchurch. Palmertson North was the fifth N.Z. city to have 70mm screenings .ALIEN was the last film shown in 70mm at the King's in Wellington before the cinema was twinned and after that there were no 70mm screenings. Such a shame that Wellington Newspapers (Dominion and Evening Post ) cannot be read on line after 1946. You can still read the current Dominion Post every day on line but only for the past 30 days on PRESS READER in Australia for free if you have a State Library membership card. Over 4000 daily newspapers from over 100 countries and some 4000 monthly magazines from around the world Latest issues and the previous 5 ) all for free and you can read them online at home just by using your library card. Not just highlights but the full papers and magazines.
 

john a hunter

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The ODEON cinema in Leicester Square where I saw ALIEN , had the Largest screen for 70mm projection in Europe at the time that ALIEN opened.
I suppose by the time of Alien ,there was little competition for the largest screen.
I was always under impressed with the screen size there.
Big but there were bigger such as the Odeon Marble Arch with its underused D150 curved screen which come to think of it would be functioning about the time of Alien.
 

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