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The Film Programs of the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre

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The Masterpieces of Polish Cinema series at the Michigan continues on October 6 with The Illumination.
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Looking Back

August 1927

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in August 1927. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

For more information about these theaters, see Cinema Treasures or Water Winter Wonderland.


Detroit hosted the world premiere of the mystery The Cat and the Canary at the Madison theater on Sunday, August 14, 1927. It later opened in New York City on September 9, 1927. The Cat and the Canary starred Laura LaPlante, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor, and Flora Finch.

"The Cat and the Canary, which has made a rather belated leap from stage to screen, is one of the most mysterious of all the mystery stories that have reached the movies since the flood of creepy yarns inaugurated by The Bat," read a review in The Detroit News on August 15, 1927. "It is a mighty good picture, too; well acted, cleverly directed and enhanced by some very appropriate settings."

"Mystery melodramas like The Cat and the Canary, which had its world premiere showing at the Madison yesterday, lose one dramatic element of vast importance when they flicker on the silent screen," read a review in The Detroit Free Press on August 15, 1927. "The blood-curdling yells and shrieks of terror that are employed with such telling effect by stage mysteries have no place on the silver sheet. But The Cat and the Canary employs lowering shadows and unexpected camera angles to such good purpose that no one misses the noise."

Other downtown Detroit movies on August 14, 1927 included Smile, Brother, Smile! (Jack Mulhall, Dorothy Mackaill) at the Capitol; When a Man Loves (John Barrymore, Dolores Costello) at the Adams; The Irresistible Lover (Norman Kerry, Lois Moran) at the State; and Hard-Boiled Haggerty (Milton Sills) at the Michigan.

Also in town on August 14 were Old Ironsides (Wallace Beery, George Bancroft) at the New Detroit; Man Power (Richard Dix) at the Grand Riviera; Ritzy (Betty Bronson) at the LaSalle Garden; The Callahans and the Murphys (Marie Dressler, Polly Moran) at the Regent; Tillie the Toiler (Marion Davies) at the Miles; and The Unknown (Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford) at the Ferry Field.

The Cat and the Canary played at the Madison until August 27, 1927, and was followed by The Magic Flame (Ronald Colman, Vilma Banky). The Cat and the Canary had Detroit neighborhood runs in November 1927 at the Annex, Irving, and Granada.

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of The Cat and the Canary at the Majestic theater on Sunday, October 9, 1927. It played for four days, along with the Mack Sennett comedy Catalina, Here I Come; Football Sense; Paramount News; an Aesop Fable; the Majestic Orchestra; and, on stage, Roxy LaRocca, "The Wizard of the Harp." It was followed on October 13 by The Crystal Cup (Dorothy Mackaill and Jack Mulhall).

Also playing in Ann Arbor on October 9 were Fritz Lang's futuristic drama Metropolis at the Arcade; White Pants Willie (Johnny Hines) at the Wuerth; and Chain Lightning (Buck Jones) at the Orpheum. The Rae hosted The Western Whirlwind (Jack Hoxie), along with Felix and Jane comedies.

"The Cat and the Canary is an adaptation of the famous stage success of the same name," noted a review in The Ann Arbor Times News on October 10, 1927. "For thrills, shudders, and suspense, it can be recommended wholeheartedly."

Click here to see a PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of The Cat and the Canary.

 


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Web site copyright © 2014 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated September 14, 2014.

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