Mr. Deeds goes to Lynwood
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:05 PM
"For the cost of a Coke on the ferry, movie buffs can style themselves in 1940s attire, and bring their families to celebrate the birthday of the Lynwood Theatre.The festivities include a screening of the classic film Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, which was originally shown at Lynwood during its first year of business in 1936. A unique wire recording of dance music from Fletcher's Landing will also be played, and prizes will be awarded to those who arrive in costume. The occasion marks the 64th anniversary of the historic theater. The event costs $1 per person, and begins at 7 p.m. July 25. The theater will donate all proceeds to the Bainbridge Foundation.It should be a lot of fun, said owner Jeff Brein. The last birthday party we had filled all 250 seats with people. We are optimistic about having a big turnout this year as well. The event is not only a celebration for the continued success of the theater, but it also serves as a catalyst to see how the community will respond to a series of classical films, which are scheduled to reappear on the big screen this fall, Brein said.When it was first built, the Lynwood was under the ownership of Emmanuel and Edna Olson, who lived across the street in a Victorian Tudor home that is now the Moonfish Restaurant.The Olsons sold the theater to their nephew, Glenn Nolta, who ran the business with his wife until 1980. It was then purchased by former, mayor, Sam Granato, who, along with Brein, has been making improvements on the building ever since. Under new ownership, the theater underwent extensive improvements including Dolby surround sound, new seating and remodeling of the concession area.The challenge for Brein and Granato, who also own the Bainbridge Cinemas at the Pavilion, has been to figure out a way to give Lynwood its own identity, and separate it from mainstream features at the Pavilion. Until this past year, we have treated Lynwood as our sixth screen, Brein said. Then we discovered that there was an interest in independent films, and we realized that Lynwood would be a perfect showcase for this kind of thing. Since last May, the Lynwood Theatre has slowly made the transition from screening first run movies to a wide variety of independent, art and foreign films. Recently, it has been given the distinction of being named the only cinema in Kitsap County that offers an ongoing selection of alternative, offbeat films, Brein said.Although business in the film industry is exceptionally good in the summer season, Lynwood has also been able to sustain itself year-round, drawing moviegoers from all over the county, and sometimes from the Seattle area. The theater is currently involved in a promotional business agreement with the Ruby's On Bainbridge Restaurant next door, giving customers a discount for the quintessential date: dinner and a movie.This coming year Granato and Brein hope to further the success of the theater by creating a club called The Big Screen Society, which will give people the opportunity to buy movie memberships, receive newsletters of upcoming events and even reserve private screenings. * * * * *Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) has been described as another lighthearted classic Frank Capra screwball romantic-comedy regarding the broader philosophical themes of individual innocence and big-city corruption, and the power of a small-town hero/common man as a citizen in a democracy, determined to give his money away to help other people achieve economic self-sufficiency.The simple plot is a comedy about an innocent, common-sense populist - a newly made multimillionaire, who immediately encounters conflict in the foreign, alien environment of the city and struggles to maintain his integrity against lunacy. And a deceitful, hard-edged female reporter falls in love with the newly-rich fortune inheritor while getting an inside story.The film received five major Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Gary Cooper with his first Oscar nomination), Best Screenplay (Robert Riskin), Best Sound Recording, and Best Director (Frank Capra). Producer/director Capra won his second Oscar as director, and the film helped make co-star Jean Arthur a prominent leading lady for the rest of the decade and into the '40s."