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

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

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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

August 1932

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

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


Optimism greeted the opening of the 1932-33 movie season. "According to Variety, barometer of the show business, the general feeling is that the theaters 'after struggling with the worst summer they've ever known,' are beginning to recover," wrote Harold Heffernan in "The Sound of the Screen" column in The Detroit News (August 15).

"Screen Mobilizes Every Ounce of Energy to Drive Wolf from Its Door," read a headline in the August 28 Detroit News. The article said that moviegoers could look forward to new films like Blonde Venus (Marlene Dietrich); Love Me Tonight (Maurice Chevalier); A Farewell to Arms (Helen Hayes); Cecil B. DeMille's The Sign of the Cross; and Back Street.

At the Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Greater Movie Season (August 14-September 10) opened with The Washington Masquerade, starring Lionel Barrymore and Karen Morley. After that came Hollywood Speaks (Genevieve Tobin, Pat O'Brien); Skyscraper Souls (Warren William, Maureen O'Sullivan); The Purchase Price (Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent); and a weeklong run of the hilarious Marx Brothers comedy, Horse Feathers.

After Horse Feathers opened in Ann Arbor at the Michigan on August 28, a review in The Ann Arbor Daily News the next day read, "It certainly is good for an evening of hearty laughs, this picture the Michigan offers this week. Of course, that's to be expected of any vehicle in which the Marx brothers are cast, and in this one-'Horse Feathers'-they certainly maintain the pace which they set in 'The Cocoanuts' and 'Animal Crackers.' "

Earlier at the Michigan in Ann Arbor, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell appeared in their latest movie, The First Year. The 10 a.m. Saturday children's movies included Tom Sawyer (1930), Polly of the Circus and Border Law (Buck Jones). Short features included film of 1932 Olympics champion Eddie Tolan, of the University of Michigan. On August 18, a lucky moviegoer won a Copeland refrigerator.

In Detroit, RKO's "Greater Show Season" started on August 11 at the RKO Downtown, with Walter Huston in Frank Capra's American Madness. The next day, the laughter rolled through the Michigan in Detroit with the opening of Horse Feathers, starring the Marx Brothers. Later at the RKO Downtown, Dolores del Rio and Joel McCrea starred in King Vidor's Bird of Paradise.

After Horse Feathers opened in Detroit at the Michigan, movie reviewers made the following comments:

"The height of futility, according to our way of thinking, is to attempt to describe in detail the antics of the Marx Brothers," wrote Len G. Shaw in The Detroit Free Press on August 13. "Singly or collectively, they are the zaniest of the zaneys, so it will be well when you visit the Michigan during their stay to park reason outside and prepare to give yourself over wholeheartedly to the nonsense they dispense in 'Horse Feathers.' "

"All day Friday the Michigan Theater teemed with some of that long-lost activity of 1929," wrote Harold Heffernan in The Detroit News on August 13. "The house was crowded at every performance, standees were chafing several hundred deep in the lobby and that familiar cry, "standing room only" came from the sidewalk barker."

Horse Feathers had earlier opened in New York City on August 10 at the Rialto. The Detroit neighborhood run of Horse Feathers began on September 16 at the Paramount and Riviera. Horse Feathers played at the Redford on October 16-18. Click here to see a PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of Horse Feathers.

The Redford remained dark during August following its temporary closing on July 8 (it would re-open October 7). But other Publix neighborhood theaters stayed open, including the Annex, which on August 28 showed Unashamed (Helen Twelvetrees), along with "Act-News-Novelty-Song".

Also temporarily closed in Detroit were the downtown Madison, Paramount, State, and United Artists theaters. On August 9, Harold Heffernan of The Detroit News reported that the Paramount and United Artists theaters were being reconditioned and would re-open around September 1, when "Two outstanding long run pictures will start these houses on fresh careers."


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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 25, 2016.

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