Independent movie theater features throwback movies

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A man and his girlfriend rode on horseback through the scenic streets of Salt Lake City on their way to an important event: a $5 screening of “The Princess Bride.” As they arrived and stepped off their steeds, the man knelt and asked his significant other if she would marry him. It is rumored that she replied, “As you wish.”

Showcases like this are typical at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake City, a local, independent movie theater that plays indie, classic and foreign films in a single 300-seat theater near downtown Salt Lake City.

Cool summer throwback flicks

This summer the Tower will be re-playing the classic romance comedy film “The Princess Bride,” along with other hits like “Airplane” and action film “Big Trouble In Little China,” among others.

“I looked at the lineup, and it’s all good,” said Chad Gessel, a UVU graduate from Salt Lake City. “There are lots of movies I haven’t seen, but that I should see, that I can now see on the big screen.”

The schedule includes action, comedy, horror and foreign films, shown on weekend nights at 11 p.m. from June to August.

“It’s $5 to see a movie on the big screen that you’ve never seen,” Gessel said. “It’s a way cooler way to see these films than at home.”

The Tower Theater: A historical place

The theater itself is a unique experience. It has seen nearly a century of movies since its inception in 1928 and is now owned and operated by the Salt Lake Film Society, a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting cinema.

Marcus Salem, manager of the Tower Theater poses in the single 300-seat theater near downtown Salt Lake City. The movie theater that plays indie, classic and foreign films. (Coleman Edwards)
Marcus Salem, manager of the Tower Theater poses in the single 300-seat theater near downtown Salt Lake City. The movie theater that plays indie, classic and foreign films. (Coleman Edwards)

“Our mission statement is to promote the arts, artistic films, classic film, foreign films and to give people the chance to see films they wouldn’t be able to see elsewhere,” said Marcus Salem, the theater’s manager. “We seek to promote culture and to educate through the art of cinema.”

The theater has developed a sort of cult following, especially by those in the 9th and 9th neighborhood of Salt Lake City, where the theater is located. Crowds come to see the films during the summer, riding in on bicycles or walking from their nearby homes.

The Tower experience

Annalisa Galloway, Salt Lake City native, has been seeing movies at the Tower for as long as she can remember. She says she keeps going back because of their quality, off-the-beaten-path nature and the theater’s quaint feel.

“The theater is old, but I love that about it. It’s charming, it’s cozy and it makes me happy. Not only that, but I get to see movies I wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else, which are a lot better than going to the local movie theater and seeing the same conventional stuff.”

The theater has a resident cat, memberships, cartoon previews and an extensive video rental selection near the front counter, making it a unique experience.

“It’s like a throwback,” Gessel said. “It’s not a bad thing; it’s awesome.” 

This year’s full lineup can be found at http://saltlakefilmsociety.org/. Tickets are $5

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