Bruce Goldstein is founder and co-president of Rialto Pictures.
Goldstein founded Rialto in 1997 as a means to exhibit classics that were then not in distribution in the U.S. Actively involved in the marketing of the company's releases, he has written and produced many of Rialto's distinctive trailers, for Breathless, Elevator to the Gallows, The Battle of Algiers, and many others, and has served as art director on many of the company's posters. He and partner Adrienne Halpern have also worked closely on editing the subtitles of every one of Rialto's foreign language films. He personally wrote the subtitles for Mafioso, Nights of Cabiria, and Godzilla: The Japanese Original.
In 1986, Goldstein created Film Forum’s now-iconic repertory format. Since then, he has produced four repertory calendars a year (“as much fun as the flicks themselves,” raved Time Out New York) and has personally created over 400 film festivals, which have been emulated around the world. Among his many achievements are the popularization of “Pre-Code” movies (films made before Hollywood censorship) as a distinct genre; his early series “Movies in Scope,” which helped create a public demand for the letterboxing of videos; and the reputation of Film Forum as flagship theater for new prints and restorations. In its 2010 movie issue, Time Out New York named Film Forum “New York’s Best Theater for Classic Films.” Time Out’s guidebook to New York named Film Forum the city’s #1 moviehouse.
At Film Forum, Goldstein has produced special evenings honoring in-person guests including Leslie Caron, Marni Nixon, Claire Bloom, Jules Dassin, Norman Lloyd, Eddie Bracken, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Christopher Plummer, Tony Curtis, Jane Powell and Dick Moore, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Carmen De Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, Tab Hunter, Robert Downey Sr., French New Wave legend Anna Karina, Kurosawa star Tatsuya Nakadai, the Nicholas Brothers, and many others.
Since 2013, he has programmed the weekly Film Forum Jr. series, which New York magazine has called “the best movie series for kids.”
Goldstein is also known for his showmanship. He has produced live orchestra shows (with Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks) of Keaton’s The Cameraman (1928) and Sherlock Jr. (1924) and Borzage’s Lucky Star (1929) at Film Forum, Disney World, NYC’s Ziegfeld Theater, San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, and Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre.
In 2013, also at the Egyptian, he re-created the missing soundtrack of Frank Capra’s first all-talkie, The Donovan Affair (1929), with a live cast of 10 actors (including himself), plus live music and sound effects, as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival. This sold-out show was named one of the two most popular events at that year’s festival. A year later, he presented The Donovan Affair at the 1200-seat Castro Theater, as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
Goldstein has produced events for all of TCM’s film festivals and cruises; his new talk on the Nicholas Brothers was named one of the highlights of the second TCM Classic Film Festival. At most of the TCM events, he has also hosted his own quiz show, “So You Think You Know Movies,” and has done popular talks on Pre-Code movies, character actors, vaudeville, and Godzilla.
In 1991, Goldstein wrote and co-produced the award-winning documentary Nicholas Brothers: We Sing and We Dance, about the legendary dance team Harold and Fayard Nicholas. In addition to the brothers themselves, among those interviewed for the documentary by Goldstein were Bob Hope, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Maurice and Gregory Hines, Max Roach, and Bobby Short.
Goldstein's most recent filmmaking credits include Les Rues de Mean Streets, a short documentary on the New York neighborhoood where director Martin Scorsese grew up, created for the French Blu-ray release of Mean Streets; and In the Footsteps of Speedy, a critically-acclaimed 30-minute documentary on the making of Harold Lloyd's 1928 silent comedy Speedy, commissioned by the Criterion Collection.
Among Goldstein’s many specialties are the gimmick films of low rent director William Castle. He has presented festivals of Castle’s films (complete with buzzing seats and flying skeletons) at Film Forum in New York, the Egyptian in Hollywood, and the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, as well as at venues in Munich, Neuchatel (Switzerland), Ljubjana (Slovenia), Glasgow, Dublin, Durham (North Carolina), Tel Aviv, and on the Disney Magic cruise ship. In 2011 Cinema St. Louis invited him to present The Tingler in star Vincent Price’s home town, in honor of the actor’s “Vincentennial.”
Goldstein has been profiled in the Village Voice, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, five times in The New York Times (most recently in August, 2013), and twice in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town,” among many other publications.
His programming has been called “the Best of New York” by both New York magazine and the New York Press. In 1997, Time Out named Goldstein one of the 101 essential people or places of New York, citing him “for keeping showmanship alive,” and, in 2005, “New York’s Finest Film Programmer.” In its 2012 “Best of New York” issue, the Village Voice called him “the Michael Jordan of Film Programmers.” Kent Jones’ profile of Goldstein in Film Comment was entitled “The King of New York.”
Among his many awards are a CableAce and two Telly Awards for the Nicholas Brothers documentary (which he conceived, co-produced, and wrote) and a D.W. Griffith Award from the National Board of Review for “Visionary Film Programming.” In 1990, the New York Film Critics Circle presented him with a special award “for consistent and imaginative quality programming of repertory films.”
In 2007, Goldstein was honored by Anthology Film Archives for his work in film preservation and, in 2009, he was the recipient of the San Francisco Film Festival’s prestigious Mel Novikoff Award. In 2002, he received the French Order of “Chevalier” of Arts & Letters. In 2012, he was the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement Award in Film ever given by George Eastman House.
In 2011, Dr. James Billington, Librarian of Congress, appointed Goldstein to the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), which each years selects films for preservation in the Library of Congress. His first nomination, the Nicholas Brothers family home movies, was unanimously selected for inclusion on the Registry.
“Bruce Goldstein has turned Film Forum’s second screen into one of Manhattan’s last great revival houses. It’s the kind of place even Jean Renoir would be honored to be honored at.” – Stephen Schiff, Vanity Fair (May 1988)
“There are programmers, there are programmers’ programmers, and there is Bruce Goldstein, programmers’ programmer and cine-showman extraordinaire… He is a celluloid warrior, a dedicated cinephile-activist, a fighter for old movies and new prints, for weeklong revivals and knowledgeable reviews. For going on a quarter of a century, he's been New York film culture's indispensable man.”
– J. Hoberman, San Francisco Film Festival
“The invaluable programmer and distributor Bruce Goldstein makes Film Forum one of New York’s most important destinations.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“ONE OF 101 ESSENTIAL NEW YORKERS… There was a time when movie exhibitors tried to outdo each other with flashy stunts, promotions and pure showmanship. The last man to be keeping that tradition alive is Bruce Goldstein, repertory program director of Film Forum, the only full-time revival house left in the city. A showbiz kid, Goldstein seems to have an inexhaustible fount of retrohip programming ideas.” – Time Out New York
“The Michael Jordan of Film Programmers!” – Village Voice
“The King of New York!” – Film Comment
Photo: Robin Holland