Harvey Weinstein’s Go-To Anecdote

How it all started in Flushing, Queens.

When the origin story is this good, it gets repeated. A lot.

Harvey Weinstein’s cinematic tastes were famously broadened when, at age 14, he and younger brother Bob went to Queens’ Mayfair Theater in 1966 thinking that Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows was a “sex movie.” Once the subtitles and black and white started, the pair’s friends left, but he and Bob stayed.

Over the years, Weinstein has told this story often. By his own admission in the 30th-year anniversary issue of New York magazine, a “thousand times.” Or, as a colleague Mark Lipsky put it in 2004 to Vanity Fair, a “zillion times.”

The latest recollections of this moment by Weinstein have included the inaugural Produced By NY event and a Q&A this month with website theyoungfolks.com. And as Weinstein himself wrote after being honored in 2012 at the inaugural Champs Elysés Film Festival in Paris by French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand, staying for The 400 Blows led him to an equally influential subsequent excursion to the Mayfair for Cartouche, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale.

In terms of future Harvey Weinstein’s, perhaps one or more are currently being inspired by a seminal 2014 American film. The one that Pop Matters’ Bill Gibron described as follows: ‘Boyhood is the 400 Blows of its era, as important a statement for today as that noted New Wave marvel was 55 years ago.’

P.S. In the years following the Weinsteins title misread, The Mayfair went on to become an actual (gay) sex movie theater. Today, it shows Indian films.
[Image courtesy: Fox Lorber]