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

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Looking Back

September 1920

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in September 1920. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


Suds was the second movie starring Mary Pickford following the formation of the United Artists Corporation in 1919 by Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D. W. Griffith, and Charlie Chaplin. Also, it was her first film after she and Fairbanks were married on March 28, 1920.

Suds opened in Detroit on Monday, September 6, 1920, at the Regent (Woodward at Grand Boulevard). It had earlier premiered in New York City on June 27, 1920.

"The Famous Pickford curls have been lost," read an article titled "Mary's Curls Lost" in The Detroit Free Press on September 5, 1920. "(They) have been straightened out in an awful manner with specially prepared cosmetics, so that Mary can typify the little English slavey girl in her newest picture, 'Suds,' which will be shown this week at the Regent theater, and which will be a distinctly different character from her wonderful 'Pollyanna.' "

"When Maude Adams appeared in the role of the laundry slavey who fell in love with a shirt, and had a romance that was filled with touching heart interest that provoked a tear rather than a smile, ' 'Op o' My Thumb,' was a masterpiece in little and that characterization a cameo of homely but trenchant emotion," wrote Jackson D. Haag in the "Cinema" column in The Detroit News on September 10, 1920. "When it was transferred to the screen and under the title of 'Suds,' was made to serve Miss Pickford as a starring vehicle, the effect was not as happy."

Other first run Detroit movies on September 6 in this era of silent cinema included Humoresque (Vera Gordon) at the Broadway-Strand; Lady Rose's Daughter (Elsie Ferguson) at the Madison; The Skywayman (Ormer Locklear) at the Washington; What's Your Hurry? (Wallace Reid) at the Adams; While New York Sleeps (Estelle Taylor) at Orchestra Hall; Sand (William S. Hart) at the Liberty; Hairpins (Enid Bennett) at the Colonial; and Life's Twist (Bessie Barriscale) at the Majestic.

Movie entertainment also included comedy shorts by Mack Sennett and Charlie Chaplin. Sennett releases included Let 'er Go at the Boulevard and By Golly! at the Coliseum. Chaplin starred in The Immigrant at the Fine Arts and A Jitney Elopement at the Catherine-Duplex.

The Regent was part of the Charles H. Miles theater chain in Detroit. Suds played at the Regent September 6-12, and then moved on to two other theaters in the Miles chain—the Miles theater on September 13 and the Majestic theater on September 20.

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of Suds at the Arcade on Sunday, July 4, 1920. It played for three days, along with the short comedy Eat-A-Bite-A-Pie. It followed a run of The Fortune Teller (Marjorie Rambeau) and was succeeded by Whispers (Elaine Hammerstein).

Also playing in Ann Arbor at this time were The Dancin' Fool (Wallace Reid) at the Majestic; The Garter Girl (Corinne Griffith) at the Wuerth; A Gun Fighting Gentleman (Harry Carey) at the Orpheum; and The Grey Wolf's Ghost (Henry B. Warner) at the Rae Theatre.

"For her exceptional work in United Artists productions Mary Pickford has been presented with the first seal of honor by the Motion Picture Theatrical Association of the World, her latest picture, 'Suds,' which will be shown at the Arcade for three days commencing tomorrow, being considered the acme of wholesome, artistic and sincere entertainment,' " read an article in the July 3, 1920 edition of The Ann Arbor Times News.

Click here to see a PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of Suds.


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This web site is not affiliated with the Detroit Film Theatre, the Michigan Theater, or the Redford Theatre.

Web site copyright © 2014 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated September 30, 2014.

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