Traveling by Cinema

If the rising price of gasoline is making you rethink your vacation plans for this summer, the movie ticket agents at the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre can help you travel back through time with rich programs of classic movies.

The fun starts on Memorial Day afternoon when the Michigan Theater takes you out to the ball game with a doubleheader of the baseball movies Field of Dreams (1989) and It Happens Every Spring (1949).  The Detroit Tigers aren’t playing very well, but Kevin Costner and Ray Milland both knock it out of the park in these two diamond classics.

Buckle your seats for an adventurous ride on the weekend of May 30-June 1.  The Redford Theatre takes you to the Wild West with The Magnificent Seven (1960), while the Michigan begins its Summer Classic Movie Series with the silent movie The Black Pirate (1926), starring the dashing Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

The Black Pirate is part of a film buff’s journey from the silent era to the 21st century.  Also from the 1920s is the famous 1925 Russian film Battleship Potemkin (Michigan).  Both of these movies will have live organ accompaniment.


Mystery and adventure are featured in movies from the first full decade of sound.  Long before The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, Peter Lorre starred in Fritz Lang’s chilling M (1931, Michigan).  William Powell, Myrna Loy, and a young James Stewart appear in After the Thin Man (1936, Michigan).  Errol Flynn fights for the honor of Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938, Redford).


If you enjoyed the recent Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley, you can compare it to the 1940 MGM adaptation (Pride and Prejudice) that starred Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier (Redford).  Sherlock Holmes fans can help Basil Rathbone solve the mystery of The Scarlet Claw (1944, Redford).  And Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman renew their romance in Casablanca (1943, Michigan).


The trends and fads of the 1950s are well-represented.  The youthful, dynamic images of James Dean and Elvis Presley light up the screen in Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Michigan) and Jailhouse Rock (1957, Michigan).  The 3-D craze is showcased in Dial M for Murder (1954, Michigan) and a Detroit Film Theatre double bill of Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and It Came from Outer Space (1953).

On Saturday, June 28, you can enjoy a triple feature of science fiction movies with The Giant Claw (1957, DFT), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955, DFT), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957, Redford). Another DFT sci-fi twin bill is Deadly Mantis (1957) and The Monolith Monsters (1957). And lead acting Academy Awards were earned by Gary Cooper in High Noon (1952, Michigan) and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953, Michigan).


Long ago, the Walt Disney studio produced many live action family films, including The Swiss Family Robinson (1960, Redford).  You can vicariously put yourself in the saddles of the horses of The Magnificent Seven (1960, Redford) and the seats of the souped-up motorcycles of Easy Rider (1969, Michigan).  And enjoy a full-length dose of the Three Stooges in The Outlaws is Coming! (1965, Redford).


Jack Nicholson emerged as a powerful leading man in Five Easy Pieces (1970, Michigan).  And special effects master Ray Harryhausen shows off his stuff in a DFT double bill of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).


This accumulation of film history paved the way for Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982, Michigan), which stars Steve Martin in a black and white parody of old detective movies.  And the movie programmers at the Michigan hope that if they show Field of Dreams (1989), people will come.

Also Showing

  • At the DFT, you can both travel through time and to foreign lands with the French Contempt (1963) and Divorce Italian Style (1961).
  • A movie theater is the best place to experience the visceral excitement of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Michigan), with its pounding music and ground-breaking special effects. 
  • Jim Henson fans can enjoy The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984, Michigan) and a series of special Jim Henson programs at the DFT.

Detroit Movie Palaces Home Page

Copyright © 2008 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.


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