“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”
That classic line, delivered by Zuzu Bailey at the close of the holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is so well known it has been uttered even by those who have never seen the film. The movie is one of a series of iconic flicks selected to be part of YES Cinema’s Classic Film and Dinner series.
Each month through January, you can have dinner at Bistro 310, then head across the street to YES Cinema for a screening of a classic film. Tickets cost $35 per person. As with other programming at YES Cinema, proceeds will benefit the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, which operates YES.
The series kicked off last weekend with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “The African Queen” will be shown in November, December and January, respectively.
Pick up your tickets
Tickets cost $35 per person, per showing, and include dinner from a preselected menu at Bistro 310.
Tickets for the movie only cost $5.
All movies begin at 8 p.m. Saturdays. An encore showing of each film is scheduled at 3 p.m. the following Sunday; tickets cost $5.
Dinner tickets can be purchased at Bistro 310, 310 Fourth St.
“These classics are a common language that we all share,” said YES general manager Ron Adams, a film buff who was instrumental in selecting and securing films for the series.
Each movie will be introduced by a family center volunteer, who will be equipped with movie trivia and facts. Columbus’ Nancy Andrews will introduce both “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
She said that even those who are familiar with the films have something to gain from seeing them on the big screen, as they were meant to be seen. Take “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” for example. In this classic movie, the setting — New York City — is practically a character in itself.
“Everyone knows New York City,” Andrews said. “But when you see the film big, you really get the enormity of the city and how it affected the lives of the characters.”
The same goes for the dramatic bridge scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” when George Bailey contemplates ending it all by throwing himself into the icy river below. Andrews said that the big-screen viewing will make the moment feel that much more perilous.
“The big screen just makes everything more special,” Andrews said.
Liz Bohall, general manager at Bistro 310, said she will develop a different menu each month that will reference the film.
“I have seen the films before, but the research on this has been really fun,” Bohall said.
For the series’ first installment, she planned a dinner of lobster thermidore, served with sautéed vegetables in white wine cream sauce and champagne — the same dinner “Rear Window’s” heroine, Lisa, brings home to her boyfriend, Jeff, in the film.
“I am so excited for ‘The African Queen,’” Bohall said. “But I have no idea what we’ll eat for that one.”
Even if some audience members saw these classic flicks on the big screen, Adams promises that new digital technology installed last summer means the films are free from dust, scratches and “jumping” sometimes seen with traditional 35 mm film.
In addition, seeing the film with an audience somehow enhances the viewing experience.
“People rarely laugh out loud when they see a funny movie at home,” Adams said. “But in the theater, people get more into what they are watching.”
Adams said that older movies sometimes have stronger plots and better developed characters than modern films because they didn’t rely on special effects, and he said that he hopes seeing the films this way awakens an interest in classic films among younger generations. If there is a strong enough interest, the series may continue.
“We know these are great films,” Adams said. “And there are so many more out there.”
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