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The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes from a Life at the Movies Hardcover – October 20, 2009

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Will give readers with more than a casual interest in movies a look at some key people who influenced New Cinema.

(Library Journal)

[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.

(Richard Horwich The East Hampton Star)

A rare and valuable historical record of a special time.

(James Monaco Cineaste)

Review

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.

(Andrew Sarris, author of The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968)

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)

'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)

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)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; First Edition edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231145667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231145664
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By abaccordion on February 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
How terrific the New Yorker theater and New Yorker films were, and how awful this book is. If it was merely poorly written it would be alright, but the book is full of factual mistakes. For a film person like Toby Talbot to talk about Michel Simon's "luminous expression in Jean Vigo's L'Atalante as he sails down the Seine with his new bride," when Michel Simon wasn't the husband, he was the ship hand, clearly means she didn't pay any attention when she was writing. Calling "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" 'Now let us Praise Famous Men" means she and the editors were asleep at the wheel or just didn;t care.And having the 1968 Cuban film 'Memories of Underdevelopment" deal with the Mariel boat lift of 1980 means she relied on faulty memory and never bothered checking anything she wrote. I could go on for pages listing mistakes, but it would be a waste of time, as was the time I spent reading this. A disgraceful performance.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a very special meaning for me - I worked at New Yorker Books 1969-72 and Dan Talbot was very generous in giving us bookstore employees free passes to the theater. There I discovered movies that live in me today - the early Polanskis, Gospel according to St. Matthew, as well as the Busby Berkeleys from the 30's, etc., etc., etc. So many of the personalities from the neighborhood back then are brought back to life. A culturally rich New York that had so many inexpensive pleasures - definitely not the Upper West Side of today. The jazz studio behind the bookstore. And Ms. Talbot provides deep insight into the economics of running the theater back then (pages from the Theater ledger) and the evolution of foreign film distribution. A reprint of the very ad in the NY Times that I believe drew me to the theater and the bookstore in 1969. Early film notes by Chandler Brossard and Peter Bogdanovich. It's all here - nostalgia right down to the heartache for anyone there at the time. Also a terrific list of award-winning foreign films up to the present. A great insight into the evolution of the independent film movement for today's students.
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Format: Hardcover
"The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes from a Life at the Movies" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Talbot's book interview ran here as cover feature on November 27, 2009.
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