The weather in New York City was cold on Wednesday, 2.23.66. But that probably didn’t dissuade several hundred hearty souls from catching a film that evening. There was no pandemic (you could go anywhere, do anything!) and roughly 30 choices give or take, in large part because films hung around for months in second-run houses. No cable or streaming, of course, but theatres everywhere, including the Garrick at 152 Bleecker.
Rubber Soul was only a couple of months old. Bob Dylan‘s most recent album was Highway 61 Revisited (and Blonde on Blonde, which wouldn’t pop until 6.20.66, was still being recorded). Aftermath, the next big Rolling Stones album, was also being worked on and wouldn’t surface until 4.15.66. Only elite musicians and college students were dropping acid at the time; middle-class kids wouldn’t take the plunge until the summer of ’67 and beyond. Anti-Vietnam War currents bad begun but hadn’t manifested in waves. But things were happening; you could feel it.
Roman Polanski‘s Repulsion opened on 2.23; ditto Jack Smight‘s Harper with Paul Newman and Arthur Hiller‘s Promise Her Anything with Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron. Arthur Penn‘s The Chase had opened five days earlier (2.18) and was still heavily hyped. Daniel Mann‘s atrocious Our Man Flint had opened a month earlier. David Lean‘s Dr. Zhivago (12.22.65) was playing at Leows’ Capitol; Martin Ritt‘s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (12.16.65), an anti-James Bond spy film and deeply admired for that, was playing in neighborhood houses. Robert Mulligan‘s Inside Daisy Clover had opened at the Radio City Music Hall on the same day, and was hanging on two months hence. George Axelrod‘s Lord Love A Duck (which I’ll never, ever see) had opened on 2.21. (9)
Carol Reed‘s The Agony and the Ecstasy, which had opened in October ’65, was selling reserved seats at Leows’ State. Robert Wise‘s The Sound of Music was still at the Rivoli after nine months. Even the stodgy and elephantine My Fair Lady, which had premiered on 10.21.64, was still playing twice a day at the Criterion. (3)
Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns, which had opened on 12.13.65, was playing here and there. Two Sidney Lumet films released the previous year, The Pawnbroker and The Hill, were still viewable. King and Country, a 1964 Joseph Losey film, was also playing, Ditto The Servant, a Losey film that had opened in England in November ’63. Ted Kotcheff‘s Life At The Top, a sequel to Room at the Top and which had opened in mid December ’65, was kicking around. John Schlesinger‘s Darling had opened stateside in August ’65, but was still playing. (7)
Also on Manhattan screens: The Ipcress File, The Shop on Main Street, Laurence Olivier‘s Othello, Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Tony Richardson‘s The Loved One, Impossible on Saturday, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Battle of the Bulge, Juliet of the Spirits, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Made in Paris, Bambole. (12).