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City Lights Opens at United Artists (February 1931)

February Looking Back: 1927 1931 1932 1956 1957 1962 1981 1982

Look What's Coming!

Celebrate a Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn at the Michigan on Valentine's Day.
The 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour stops at the DFT on February 20.

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly star in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief at the Redford on February 19-20.

 

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Looking Back

October 1931

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

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


"The 1931 Nut Crop is Ready!" shouted The Ann Arbor Daily News about the October 18 Michigan opening of Monkey Business, with The 4 Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo). "The plot, to be sure, is warped and twisted around the fantastic capers of the riotous brothers until it looks as though it had been put through a wringing machine," wrote Allison Ind in the October 17 News.

The Michigan also had stage shows with its movies, including a twin bill of New York musical comedy star Roy Cummings live in One Afternoon and Joe E. Brown in the movie Broadminded. Comedian Frank Libuse, "The Colonel of American Nuts in Command of a Regiment of Laughs!" shared the spotlight with the film Guilty Hands (Lionel Barrymore). And movie star Fifi D'Orsay used her time between films to include the Michigan on a personal tour.

"The composite heroine of the confession films of the early Thirties was a woman who gave up her chastity in cold blood," wrote Richard Griffith and Arthur Mayer in the 1957 book The Movies. The Redford twice presented the Queen of the Confession Film, Constance Bennett, in The Common Law and Bought. Other popular Redford movies were The Smiling Lieutenant (Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert) and Bad Girl ("A Human Life Story!"), with Sally Eilers and James Dunn.

On October 1, the Publix theater chain that included the Redford opened its newest neighborhood theater—the Eastown (Harper at Van Dyke). Sporting Blood, with Clark Gable, was the opening night attraction. "Three New Shows Every Week!" read the Detroit News ad for the theater. "Tremendous multi-featured shows that have made Publix entertainment famous the world over! At new low prices!" (15 cents afternoons, 25 cents weekday evenings, 35 cents weekend evenings, and always 10 cents for children).

In downtown Detroit, the Paramount hosted two of the most publicized movies of the month. October 8 saw the world premiere of Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise), with Greta Garbo and Clark Gable ("The Stars of the Hour in the Year's Greatest Screen Event!"). Three weeks later, this film gave way to Frank Capra's Platinum Blonde, starring Loretta Young and Jean Harlow.


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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 February 7, 2016.

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

Videos courtesy of YouTube and Turner Classic Movies.