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

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Explore theater history
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Alec Guinness Festival at Michigan
(September 1981)

September Looking Back: 1920 1931 1932 1945 1953 1956 1957 1964 1981 1982

Look What's Coming!

Communist Poland and the Ten Commandments are explored in The Decalogue at the DFT starting October 1.
A mysterious writer is documented in Author: The JT LeRoy Story at the Michigan starting September 30.

The Three Stooges Halloween Festival scares up some laughs at the Redford on October 7 and 8.

 

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Looking Back

May 1931

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

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


With summer approaching, the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor announced, "New Cooling Plant Now in Operation - 70 Degrees Cool Always." Newspaper ads showed the Michigan name draped in ice and proclaimed that "waves of gloriously fresh, delightfully cool air pour over you from our perfect ventilating system."

Among the films at the Michigan were Strangers May Kiss, with Norma Shearer, who a few months earlier had won the 1929/30 Oscar for best lead actress (for The Divorcee). In the May 11 Ann Arbor Daily News, columnist Allison Ind wrote, "Strangers May Kiss is a most simple story, very modern, very vivacious and quite acceptably sexy." Also showing at the Michigan this month were Trader Horn and The Front Page, both later nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award for 1930/31.

The Redford presented two other Best Picture nominees for 1930/31—East Lynne and Skippy. Redford audiences checked the weather report before seeing such double bills as New Moon and Rain or Shine (a circus drama directed by Frank Capra), or Lightning Flyer and June Moon. Mixed among the Detroit News movie ads on May 7, 1931 was this announcement: "Baseball Today at 3 p.m., Detroit vs. Chicago, Box and Reserve Seats at Navin Field."

Also at the Redford was Charlie Chaplin's silent City Lights, whose limited popularity threatened the future of silent films, wrote Detroit News columnist Harold Heffernan on May 17, 1931: "Two leading neighborhood theaters in Detroit played the Chaplin picture recently and with all the advance publicity the comedy had during its long downtown run it failed to make much of a stir."

A Detroit News article on May 24, 1931 about television heralded further changes: "The problems encountered in television can be likened to those of the first days of talkies and, therefore, no certainty exists as to the exact requirements needed."


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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 September 27, 2016.

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

Videos courtesy of YouTube and Turner Classic Movies.