The Cape Cinema in Dennis: A Film Buff’s Daydream

For some, seeing a movie is just something to pass the time.

It’s nothing of the sort at The Cape Cinema in Dennis. From within the Art Deco walls of this 35 Hope Lane establishment, you can expect to soak in the smell of freshly-made popcorn, sit in awe of the array of colors painted on the ceiling, and to be entranced by the skillfully made independent and international films on the lineup.

The Cape Cinema is as much Art Deco as it is Colonial Revival; it’s as much about preserving the past as paving way for the future. And it’s definitely one of the most unique ways to spend a night on Cape Cod.

About the Cape Cinema

There are 317 black lacquer, tangerine suede-lined seats inside the Cape Cinema, all facing a red-curtained stage and screen. They were recently restored, thanks to generous donations from the community.

The comfortable seats encourage moviegoers to stare at more than just the screen or stage: a stunning, 6,400-square-foot mural overhead depicts dancing lovers floating past comets and gliding through the heavens.

The Cinema screens a handful of blockbuster hits, but focuses primarily on independent American and international films. They also screen special series of documentary films which last 6 months to a year and typically center on American art.

In addition to film, visitors to the Cape Cinema can see live streams of the Metropolitan Opera House’s productions and occasional live music.

The Tuesday early matinee show is open captioning for those who have auditory impediments, and the theater also features plenty of wheelchair-accessible spaces.
Snackers will delight in the refreshments bar, which offers the typical movie fair coupled with some unexpected offerings.

A full schedule of events is regularly updated on their homepage.

Ticket Prices at the Cape Cinema

As is the case with most movie theaters, ticket prices at the Cape Cinema are subject to change. But count on spending around $10 for an adult ticket with discounts for seniors and around $6. Compared with contemporary, big-brand theaters, these are fairly competitive prices.

Regular visitors may opt in to a Cinema Club Card program, earning them discounts at regularly-scheduled programs and special offerings.

History of the Cape Cinema

The cinema was built in 1930, its design modeled after the Congregational Church on Main Street in Centerville.

Eric Hart, the current owner of the cinema business but not the building, has a three-decades-long relationship with the establishment. Born and raised in Brewster, Hart spent summers working at the cinema when his teaching job let up for the summer.

He took over the business, and for over 30 years has been the face of Cape Cinema as well as its greatest ambassador.

The famous mural is responsible for most of the majesty. It was painted by famed American illustrator Rockwell Kent, who was not in fact present for most of the job. He designed it from outside of Massachusetts in protest of the 1927 execution of the Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. A socialist sympathizer to their cause, Kent vowed never to step foot in Massachusetts again, but ultimately attended the start and end of work on the mural. He had an assistant do most of the work.

The theater was one of three in the country to preview The Wizard of Oz in 1939 before its actual release. It continues to screen the groundbreaking film whenever a major anniversary is celebrated.

The community has long played a role in the continued success of the Cape Cinema, which has served their entertainment needs for over 80 years. While many small-town theaters across the nation have struggled, filmgoing remains a prevalent pastime on Cape Cod and throughout the world despite difficult economies.

By Staff

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