Dick Tracy is coming to town, and with him arrives one helluva party. This Saturday, the Olympia Theater will celebrate its 90th birthday with a 35mm showing of Warren Beatty’s classic 1990 film.
“Dick Tracy is a film that borrows and blends lots of wonderful elements in telling its story: comic book art, musical numbers written by Stephen Sondheim, romance, a vamp, speakeasies, and gangsters make the film a thrill, with campy fun," explains Robert Geitner, executive director of the Olympia Theater. "It's perfect for Miami. And, of course, Breathless Mahoney is Madonna at her best.”
Geitner says the theater's birthday celebration will feature “zoot-suited gangsters; campy, vampy
This isn’t the first time in recent years that the theater has shown films in 35mm — a retrospective screening of Guillermo Fesser’s Candida in September did so last year. “The Olympia Theater has maintained its 35mm projection equipment, and it is used several times a year, usually for revival screenings,” the director says.
The theater’s 90th anniversary proved a perfect excuse to turn the 35mm screening into something bigger than popcorn and a movie. Geitner admits that for some time he has been wanting to organize a screening event based on a film's theme and turn the night into an affair to remember. And nothing works better than such a colorful movie.
But film screenings have always been part of the Olympia, and the executive director offers some history: “The Olympia Theater was built by Paramount, so the association with film is in our DNA since the opening in 1926, and it continues to this day. Our current film offerings include specialty screenings, premieres, our very own Recent Cinema From Spain film series, and of course 33 years of hosting the Miami International Film Festival.
"John Eberson, who designed the Olympia Theater for Paramount, built the theater to accommodate vaudeville as well as film — so live entertainment has been with us since the beginning as well.”
He also explains the theater has been focusing on adapting to the changing population of downtown Miami. “Last year’s Kraftwerk, Jesus & Mary Chain, Sufjan Stevens, and Damien Rice music concerts really reached a new audience for us. And then we got the Knight Foundation grant to open the lobby to the public for free on Wednesday nights for our In the Lobby Lounge series."
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This new audience includes the same kind of film fans who are drawn to Secret Celluloid Society’s late-night showings on a weekly basis. Geitner adds he is delighted about his partnership with Nayib Estefan, founder and operator of Secret Celluloid Society. “We both love movies!” he exclaims.
“There are great older films that sometimes get forgotten or have never been seen by today’s audiences – that’s what started the conversation [with Nayib]... The Secret Celluloid Society was actually contemplating a Dick Tracy screening, and I told him I wanted to do it for our 90th birthday, so this became our first project together.
"It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Olympia Theater's 90th-Anniversary Party, With Dick Tracy
7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 27, at the Olympia Theater. Tickets cost $19 for balcony seating general admission for the movie and $59 for orchestra seating for the movie and the party; the latter includes cocktails all night and the after-film dance party on the Olympia stage. Enter code #olympia90 when purchasing tickets for free popcorn. Visit olympiatheater.org.