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

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Explore theater history
in the Looking Back feature!

Chaplin's City Lights Screens at Redford (May 1931)

May Looking Back: 1925 1931 1932 1956 1957 1981 1982

Look What's Coming!

The Cinetopia International Film Festival comes to the DFT and the Detroit Institute of Arts on June 3-5.
James Stewart sees a mystery in his Rear Window at the Redford on June 3-4.

Love & Friendship brings a Jane Austen novella to the screen of the Michigan starting May 26.

 

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Looking Back

March 1931

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in March 1931. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


The Michigan Theater showed new movies every Thursday and Sunday, including the gangster thriller Little Caesar. Also appearing were movies with silent film stars whose fame faded in the new world of Talkies, like Buster Keaton (Parlor, Bedroom and Bath), Clara Bow (No Limit) and John Gilbert (Gentleman's Fate).

A night at the Michigan included music by organist Bob Howland, whose picture now appears among the historical photos in the Grand Foyer of the Michigan. You can read more about Howland on the website of current Michigan organist Steven Ball.

At the Redford, audiences enjoyed The Bat Whispers, an early widescreen film that influenced the Batman comic book, and which was revived at the Detroit Film Theatre in 2000. Redford visitors also saw 1924 and 1928 Olympic swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller in a "Swimming Novelty" film, one year before he hit the big screen as Tarzan the Ape Man.

"During the last few weeks, Detroit audiences have witnessed initial attempts to inject national advertising into motion picture programmes," wrote M. W. Mountjoy of the Detroit Times on March 8. "This reporter saw two [in the form of cartoons]. In both cases the reaction of the audience was obvious disapproval." Mountjoy also noted that product placement in movies was increasing.

Opening in Detroit on March 20 at the RKO Downtown was the horror classic Dracula ("Gasping Heights of Passion and Thrills"). Visitors to the Michigan Theater in Detroit (Bagley near Grand Circus Park) were treated to double bills of movies and live music (Duke Ellington, Rudy Vallee).


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This website is not affiliated with the Detroit Film Theatre, the Michigan Theater, or the Redford Theatre.

Website copyright © 2016 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated May 22, 2016.

Graphics courtesy of Christmas Graphics Plus, Free GIFs and Animation, and 123GIFS.

Videos courtesy of YouTube and Turner Classic Movies.