The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes from a Life at the Moviesby Toby Talbot
The nation didn't know it, but 1960 would change American film forever, and the revolution would occur nowhere near a Hollywood set. With the opening of the New Yorker Theater, a cinema located at the heart of Manhattan's Upper West Side, cutting-edge films from around the world were screened for an eager audience, including the city's most influential producers,
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The nation didn't know it, but 1960 would change American film forever, and the revolution would occur nowhere near a Hollywood set. With the opening of the New Yorker Theater, a cinema located at the heart of Manhattan's Upper West Side, cutting-edge films from around the world were screened for an eager audience, including the city's most influential producers, directors, critics, and writers. Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Susan Sontag, Andrew Sarris, and Pauline Kael, among many others, would make the New Yorker their home, trusting in the owners' impeccable taste and incorporating much of what they viewed into their work.
In this irresistible memoir, Toby Talbot, co-owner and proud "matron" of the New Yorker Theater, reveals the story behind Manhattan's wild and wonderful affair with art-house film. With her husband Dan, Talbot showcased a range of eclectic films, introducing French New Wave and New German cinema, along with other groundbreaking genres and styles. As Vietnam protests and the struggle for civil rights raged outside, the Talbots also took the lead in distributing political films, such as Bernard Bertolucci's Before the Revolution, and documentaries, such as Shoah and Point of Order.
Talbot enhances her stories with selections from the New Yorker's essential archives, including program notes by Jack Kerouac, Jules Feiffer, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonas Mekas, Jack Gelber, and Harold Humes. These artifacts testify to the deeply engaged and collaborative spirit behind each showing, and they illuminate the myriad& mdash;and often entertaining& mdash;aspects of theater operation. All in all, Talbot's tales capture the highs and lows of a thrilling era in filmmaking.
[The New Yorker Theater] will certainly appeal to film buffs, to New Yorkers, and to celebrity watchers. And there are valuable materials for cinematic historians as well.
A rare and valuable historical record of a special time.
- Columbia University Press
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What People are saying about this
'We sail forth into dreams,' Toby Talbot says in this luminous memoir of movie-exhibiting and movie-going in her and her husband Dan's personal movie-house around the corner from where I lived-when I wasn't living at the New Yorker Theater. This account of movie-magic, made not by filmmakers but by exhibitors, reminds us of the best of times during America's worst of times.
Jules Feiffer, Pulitizer Prize and Academy Award-winning cartoonist and animator
Toby Talbot has brilliantly recorded and resurrected an exciting period in the cultural history of New York City and the world's cinema. In the process, she has provided a vivid portrait of her pioneering husband, Dan Talbot, and the array of film enthusiasts who assembled under his banner.
The immense contribution to American culture of cinema repertory houses and art film distributors such as the New Yorker has been largely untold until now. 'If these walls could talk,' the saying goes, and now it has found its ideal spokesperson in Toby Talbot. With wit, warmth, and near total recall, Talbot has given us the liveliest history of a heroic age of movie exhibition, from revealing encounters with sublime filmmakers and film critics to the nitty gritty of running a movie theater (such as dealing with neighborhood pickpockets and trying to contain the problem of pigeon poop). I love this tender, articulate memoir, and I am sure all cinephiles will feel the same.
Phillip Lopate, author and film critic
One of the pivotal theaters of world cinema was for a long time The New Yorker on the Upper West Side. Toby Talbot's book is a unique backstage insight into its history. Great reading!
Wim Wenders, award-winning filmmaker
This is a lively work that covers a lot of ground. There's a real voice in the writing, the sense of a living person talking colloquially, remembering, and reconstructing. Toby Talbot brings back a wonderful era in cinema history and New York moviegoing.
Morris Dickstein, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Meet the Author
Toby Talbot, a native New Yorker, has been an Upper Westsider since the 1950s. She and her husband Dan Talbot first owned and ran the New Yorker Theater in the 1960s, and then Manhattan's Cinema Studio and Metro Theater in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. They now own and run Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Talbot is the author of A Book About My Mother, Early Disorder, numerous childrens' books, and many translations, among them Jacobo Timerman's Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without a Number. She has taught Spanish literature at Columbia College and New York University, was formerly the education editor of El Diario de Nueva York, and now teaches documentary film at the New School University in New York.
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