Towards the end of the Redford Theatre’s showing of Sunset Boulevard (1950) on Feb. 7, 2009, the images and the atmosphere combined to give me a deeper feeling for the significance of both the theater and the movie. Sunset Boulevard is a strange tribute to the silent movie era, thanks in part to the performances of two people who helped make the history of that era (Gloria Swanson and Erich Von Stroheim).
Archive for the ‘Redford Theatre’ Category
Most people’s favorite Christmas movies probably include the 1946 drama It’s a Wonderful Life and the 1954 musical White Christmas. On Dec. 20, 2008, I had the heartwarming privilege of seeing a big screen double feature of these two holiday classics at the Michigan Theater (It’s a Wonderful Life) and the Redford Theatre (White Christmas).
After a whirlwind of filmgoing that took me to all three of the Detroit Movie Palaces, I have many blessings to count in this season of Thanksgiving.
As I write this, my mind and emotions are reflecting on the enjoyment and the enrichment of: a family classic (The Wizard of Oz); a newly discovered barrel of fun (3 Ring Circus); a dramatic look at an Italian family (Days and Clouds); and two skillfully nuanced and emotionally gripping films (I’ve Loved You So Long and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas).
The year 1928 was an amazing year for motion picture theater construction in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. Movie palaces that opened that year include the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit, the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor, and two other still-existing theaters that I visited on July 26, 2008—the Redford Theatre and the Royal Oak Music Theatre. (Motor City Marquees, Stuart Galbraith IV)
To better appreciate the preservation of the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre, think about the outpouring of memories and emotions that have come this past week because of the demolition of Tiger Stadium.
And just imagine the news stories that might have been written if special efforts had not been made to maintain the DFT, Michigan and Redford for future generations:
The recently published mystery novel Frames is partially set in an old movie theater in Los Angeles. Reading this entertaining book by Michigan author Loren D. Estleman was made a lot more fun by my experiences at the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre.
Even before the entertainment began on the night when the Redford Theatre celebrated its 80th birthday (April 19, 2008), I could sense a deeper, richer feeling in the theater than I usually did. This feeling brought out more of the texture and details of this ancient wonder, like the intimate lighting under the pagoda eaves and the smooth varnish of the staircase railing.
Notes from a movie palace weekend (March 14-16, 2008):
After enjoying the focused intimacy of the Redford Theatre (Friday, March 14, 2008) and the Detroit Film Theatre (March 15), the spaciousness of the Michigan Theater on March 16 hit me very strongly. Steven Ball’s organ playing drifted out into the Grand Foyer and the street energy of downtown Ann Arbor continued into the Michigan’s auditorium.
If I had to pick one film that tied together the interests of most visitors to the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre, it would be Buster Keaton’s 1927 silent comedy The General. A close second would be The Phantom of the Opera (1925) with Lon Chaney.