"The Inwood Theatre Review: Like a Movie in Your Living Room, But Better"
|Ample free parking is available in adjacent lot.|
Sound Systems: Dolby Digital - Dolby SR - Dolby Stereo For information regarding our Accessibility equipment click here
3 Screens DLP Digital Projection and Sound. Built in 1947. Operated by Landmark since 1988. Just off the Dallas North Tollway, the Inwood Theatre is the Dallas area's premiere home for independent film and foreign language cinema.
Located in the theatre's lobby is one of Dallas's most popular
hang-outsthe Inwood Lounge. A full service martini bar, it is the ideal
place to meet friends before a film or to discuss the films you have just seen.
But if it is food you seek, besides the excellent popcorn that you can find
at the concession stand, the theatre has many eateries nearby ranging from Italian,
to Chinese, to Texas Barbecue, to Mexican and more. There are over ten places
to eat within five minutes walking distance from the Inwood.
The Inwood undergoes a new lease on life. In January of 2005, following the purchase of Landmark Theatres by Dallas based Todd Wagner & Mark Cuban, the Inwood was refurbished. Maintaining the integrity and beauty of the original theatre, the theatres murals were touched up and re-lit, its historical neon sign was re-built and the upstairs auditoriums were transformed into screening rooms replete with leather lounge chairs. In addition to new carpet, seats, sound and screens, the concession stand and bathrooms were also upgraded for your comfort and convenience. As part of the refurbishment project the much-loved Inwood Lounge, Dallass best martini bar, truly became a part of the theatre when patrons finally were allowed to take their drinks with them into the auditoriums. There is nothing quite like a movie while enjoying a martini.
The Screening Lounge Auditorium debuts at the Inwood. In May of 2008 Landmark Theatres introduced its newest Screening Lounge Auditorium at the Inwood Theatre. This unique auditorium—the first and only one of its kind in Texas—gives audiences an unparalleled movie-going experience. Working in partnership with the LoveSac® Furniture Company, Landmark completely re-invented the first-floor auditorium of the Inwood with a variety of unique seating options including couches, loveseats, chairs and ottomans, as well as the original LoveSac. A private bar also was added, allowing patrons to purchase cocktails and soft drinks without ever leaving the auditorium. Click here for photos and to read more!
The Inwood welcomes customers with special needs, however, only the downstairs auditorium is handicapped accessible. Please call the box office at (214) 352-5085 to verify in which auditorium the film you wish to see is showing on the day that you wish to attend. Downstairs theatre programming is subject to change at any time.
A COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE INWOOD THEATRE
The Beginnings. The war was over but its after shocks were still being
felt. Weary warrior-dreams of peace were often replaced with a pain-filled reality
and the search for identity. Hollywood, which had seen active duty was now busy
creating a film legacy of postwar illusions. The American cinema soared to an
even higher peak of popularity as movies became a short term fix for the angers
and frustrations of a world totally changed. Lovers Lane at Inwood Road was
rolling countryside; miles and miles of wide open space abounded. But to far-sighted
entrepreneurs, it was the future.
On May 16th, 1947, the Inwood Theatre opened with Red Skelton's The Show-Off. The first development of the area, it was also the newest, most modern movie house in town. It was designed and built by the Interstate Amusement Company, one of the largest entertainment chains in Texas history. At a cost of $200,000 in 1947, it was (and still is) a classic work of art. Opening day entertainment seekers were awed from the moment they entered the large theater foyer in Dallas. From the gigantic marine mural commanding the double aisle staircase to the mezzanine. Neon lit, transparent panels, etched with realistic fish and underwater foliage created the illusion of teeming aquariums. Naked Boticelli-like water nymphs danced on the ceiling overhead and still ignite the imagination today. Early Inwood print advertisements touted "the most spacious and beautiful lobby in the entire Southwest with amazing marine murals throughout." At one time the payphone was in a huge shell!
The original auditorium seated 1,100. There was enough room between aisles that seated patrons did not have to stand to allow others in and out. Apparently, this was a new enough innovation that it made the opening day advertisement, which also boasted of "alternative [sic] spaced, body-form seats," assuring each ticket holder of an unobstructed view. Right down to the walls, the Inwood was special. A special new acoustical plaster, produced and developed in California, was used on the auditorium walls. And again, gigantic murals inspired fantasy as guests waited in the quiet, softly-lit theatre for the picture to begin. Romance was encouraged (at the ends of every other aisle) with great double-wide seats called divans. But, best of all the Inwood was air-conditioned and it had a top-of-the-line RCA Sound System.
The Murals. With rampant movie censorship and legislated morality, today's audience can only wonder who made the decision to turn the naked ladies of the ceiling mural loose on the bible belt. The original murals were painted in just three days by muralist Perry Nichols. The muralist believed the faster he could work, the more he could do, and the more money he would make." Nichols stood on a large scaffolding and used sprays cans of paint to create the background for the mural. The aquatic mural on the west wall of the lobby was created in a slightly different manner. He used a large section of brown paper and sketched the design on the paper. He then attached it to the wall and cut holes through the paper to paint the design."The large mural of the sirens reflected the muralists love of women. Nobody loved women more than Perry," his wife believes. Perry Nichols was also a member of the Dallas Nine which gained some renown in the 1940s and he was also responsible for the mural in front of the Dallas Morning News building. In 1954, the owners debuted Cinemascope (similar to Panavision) there, bringing the ultimate wide-screen experience to Dallas movie fans. Everything about the Inwood was ahead of its time.
Trouble Brewing. While today the theatre has been fully restored and features only the latest in cinemagraphic and digital sound reproduction, there was a transition period when the Inwood did not smile so brightly. After such notable experiences as the two-year continuous run of The Sound of Music in '65-'66 (it played to sold-out crowds, back when seats were sold by reservation only--employees at the time apparently saw the movie so often that they memorized the words to every song and the steps to every dance number) and the 1975 world premiere of the rock opera Tommy, the Inwood became caught in the expensive trap of changing technology and cultural preferences. In 1980, when the theatre began running as a discount house, a devastating fire closed the doors. The oral historians say that it was the work of an arsonist, a disgruntled former projectionist who lost his job when management felt they could no longer afford the high union wages. But it is a fact that the fire occurred only a few days after the union contract was canceled. Legend has it that a long-time elderly employee took on projectionist duties and died in the fire. In 1981, the Inwood re-opened, with the addition of a second theatre. In '82 the balcony added a third theatre and the Inwood Lounge opened. Films in this balcony theatre are shown from the original projectionist booth. Dark, steep, concrete steps are the only way in or out. A silent remnant of another time in movie history still hangs forgotten on the wall, a heavy black Stromberg Carlson in-house communication system which bears the Graybar Electric manufacturers patent of July 7, 1914.
Landmark Takes the Helm. In 1988, Landmark took over the struggling
arthouse in the same year that the Inwood Tower sign was designated an official
landmark by the Dallas City Council and the USA Film Festival hosted Joe Bob
Briggs "World Drive-in Movie festival" Landmark has always strived to show
films and to run cinemas as a film experience not as a "popcorn" experience.
The company's love for old theatres is reflected in the manner in which they
have lovingly kept the Inwood open over the years as well as maintaining the
structural integrity of the building as much as possible. In 1993, owners of
the Inwood helped defeat the 30-year-old Dallas Motion Picture Classification
Board after being fined for not screening films for board members prior to opening..
In the same week of classification failure, Much Ado About Nothing opened
to house box office records. In 1994, Landmark spent $50,000 to restore the
original murals, hiring Houston's Decorative Arts to restore them. The one mural
the company was unable to restore was the one on the ceiling. When they had
the fire back in 1980, that one was badly damaged by the smoke and water, and
the restoration crew realized anything they did to restore it would damage it
even more. In 1998 and 1999, handrail lights, which were designed to light the
theater in a way that would reflect off the murals and make you feel as if you
were entering an aquarium, underwent restoration. In January of 2005, following
the purchase of Landmark Theatres by Dallas based Todd Wagner & Mark Cuban,
the Inwood Theater was extensively refurbished.