The 85th birthday is approaching for the Redford Theatre, the Michigan Theater, and the auditorium of the Detroit Institute of Arts that hosts the Detroit Film Theatre. All three theaters have taken on ambitious renewal projects that will make them more user-friendly, a term that probably wasn’t used when the buildings opened in 1927 and 1928.
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Many movie buffs consider 1939 to be Hollywood’s greatest year, with releases like Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, and Wizard of Oz. But 1940 wasn’t too bad either, and in 2011, visitors to the Detroit Movie Palaces enjoyed some of the highlights of that release year.
Gentle waves of laughter rolled across the main floor of the Michigan Theater, in response to the delicate wit of the 1940 romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner. Moviegoers watched James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan travel a rocky road to love on Sunday, December 18, 2011, in the latest movie in the Michigan’s Holiday Classic Film Series.
Popular culture is an important part of our lives. Something in an old movie or TV show might connect you with someone of your generation or maybe another. It might take you back to when you were younger. It might relate to something ordinary, like a funny event in your family that reminds you of The Brady Bunch.
The Michigan Theater and the Redford Theatre recently hosted personal appearances that demonstrated the emotional power of pop culture.
You could see it in their faces, in their actions, in their words. It didn’t matter if they were in the sweltering confines of the Burmese jungle, or in the vast emptiness of the drought-stricken American West. They were all on demanding journeys in which they were pushed to the limit—physically, mentally, emotionally. And somewhere along their tragic journey, they were in search of that basic human need—dignity.