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

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The Day the Earth Stood Still Opens at Fox (October 1951)

October Looking Back: 1925 1931 1932 1946 1951 1953 1954 1956 1957 1961 1981 1982

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Organist Stephen Warner accompanies The Phantom of the Opera at the Michigan on October 25.
Explore the mystery of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Redford on October 20 and 21.

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Looking Back

April 1932

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in April 1932. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


Rising Paramount Studios star Claudette Colbert made two stops at the Michigan, in The Wiser Sex and Misleading Lady. Patrons who saw George Arliss in The Man Who Played God also heard a live performance by the University of Michigan Glee Club. The ad for the movie Play Girl (starring Loretta Young) asked, "Could the Sin that Wrecked Our Marriage Save My Baby's Life?" Ernst Lubitsch directed Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in One Hour with You. Spencer Tracy ("Screen's New Comedy Sensation") appeared in Sky Devils.

The Saturday morning children's programming at the Michigan on April 2, 1932 included the movie Alice in Wonderland, along with Charley Chase in The Nickel Nurser, the comedy Hollywood Luck, and a Flip the Frog cartoon. "...it would seem that parents may feel assured it [Alice in Wonderland] is just the sort of thing for which they have been calling," wrote Allison Ind in the April 1, 1932 Ann Arbor Daily News. "The picture completely passed the local school committee censorship board and has its unqualified approval."

Hollywood families were a big part of the Redford schedule. Joan Bennett starred with Spencer Tracy in the drama She Wanted a Millionaire, while sister Constance played a Lady with a Past. Brothers John and Lionel Barrymore headlined the mystery Arsène Lupin, with Jack Dempsey and Laurel & Hardy movies also on the bill. Detroit area families enjoyed the Big Children's Party on Saturday, April 9, which included a circus on the Redford stage and the feature Behind the Mask (starring Jack Holt).

Other top Redford attractions included the adventure Hell Divers (Wallace Beery and Clark Gable) and Shanghai Express, which was star Marlene Dietrich's "biggest American success with a gross of over $3 million" (David Shipman, The Great Movie Stars). Patrons didn't wait until the next day to see Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Ruth Chatterton and Paul Lukas) or After Tomorrow (Charles Farrell). The bargain evening price of 15 cents from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. gave patrons relief from the Great Depression with comedies like Business and Pleasure (Will Rogers) and Fireman, Save My Child (Joe E. Brown).

The United Artists theater in Detroit hosted the openings of Tarzan the Ape Man (April 2) and Scarface (April 22). About Scarface, movie critic Ella H. McCormick of The Detroit Free Press wrote (on April 22, 1932), "Judged as a motion picture production, and not as a social preachment, it is acted with a high degree of talent, is keenly and effectively directed, splendidly photographed and produced with every regard for the utmost in realism."


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated October 15, 2017.

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