Always at the Carlyle

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Always at the Carlyle

Runtime 92 minutes
PG-13

When I grow up I want to make documentaries like producer/writer/director Matthew Miele.

A few years back he made Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013), then followed it up with Harry Benson: Shoot First! (2016). Both got my top rating. And, by God, he’s done it again.

Here he tells the story of Manhattan’s legendary hotel, The Carlyle. You might have heard of it. It’s where Woody Allen plays the clarinet. It’s where Bobby Short held forth for decades. It’s where Princess Diana always stayed when she came to New York. And it’s where her son and his wife, Prince Henry and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children are staying when they visit.

As with his prior works, Miele interviews many of the employees, most of whom have devoted their lives to working there, and many of the celebrities who frequent the place. These include George Clooney, Anjelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Vera Wang, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Federer, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Jon Hamm, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell and Elaine Stritch among the more than 100 interviewed for the film.

He also goes into the history of who built it and who runs it. He tells about some of the rooms, like the Café Carlyle where Woody and Bobby held/hold forth. And, of course, he gives a visual tour of the beautiful, well-preserved hotel.

One of the great things about seeing a movie this good is that I don’t have to spend a lot of time writing about it. I can’t imagine anyone not being enchanted. Fascinating and funny, it’s a film that captures the magic of life in New York City, a fitting companion to Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s. I hated to see it end.

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