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Looking Back

February 1927

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in February 1927. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


Buster Keaton's Civil War comedy The General opened in Detroit on Saturday, February 5, 1927 at the Broadway-Strand theater. It opened in New York City on the same day at the Capitol theater.

"Combining pathos and comedy, Buster Keaton of the frozen face comes to the Broadway Strand theater this week in one of the best pictures to show in that house in many moons," read a review in The Detroit Free Press on February 7, 1927. " 'The General' takes one back to the days of the Civil war and with accuracy based on many months of research work recounts in a very funny manner the famous Andrews railroad raid in April, 1862, when a dozen Union daredevils stole a locomotive in the very heart of the confederacy and beat their way to the north, tearing up track and ties on the way."

"A bombardment of laughter is being fired by Buster Keaton in 'The General,' his latest feature, depicting some amusingly entertaining yet rather serious aspects of the Civil War, now showing at the Broadway Strand," read a review in The Detroit News on February 7, 1927. "Appearing in the role of an heroic but slightly dumb engineer who saves his fellow countrymen from dire disaster, he performs in the typical Keaton style, although his actions seem hindered at times by the innumerable duties thrust upon him."

Other Detroit movies when The General opened were The Kid Brother (Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston) at the Adams; The Show (John Gilbert, Rene Adoree, Lionel Barrymore) at the Capitol; The Music Master (Alec Francis) at the Fox-Washington; The Potters (W. C. Fields) at the Michigan; What Price Glory (Victor McLaglen, Edmund Lowe, Dolores Del Rio) at the Shubert Lafayette; and Sensation Seekers (Billie Dove, Huntley Gordon) at the State.

The Fire Brigade (Mae McAvoy, Charles Ray) was at the Madison. That theater also advertised a future movie that was a sign of the coming Talkie era—The Better 'Ole (Syd Chaplin), which had synchronized sound by Vitaphone.

Also in town were Faust (Emil Jannings) at the Miles and The Great Gatsby (Warner Baxter) at the De-Luxe. The Cheerful Fraud (Reginald Denny) was at the Grand Riviera, and nearby, at the newly opened Riviera Annex, was the comedy The Nervous Wreck (Harrison Ford, Phyllis Haver, Chester Conklin). On stage live at the New Detroit were The Four Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts.

At the Broadway-Strand, The General succeeded One Hour of Love (Jacqueline Logan). The General played for one week, with the short comedy The Relay Race (George Lewis). It was followed on February 12, 1927 by The Naked Truth (Jack Mulhall, Helene Chadwick).

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of The General at the Majestic theater on Sunday, February 6, 1927 after a run of The Nervous Wreck (Harrison Ford, Phyllis Haver, Chester Conklin). On stage with The General were xylophonist El Cota and dancer Bee Byrne. The General played for four days at the Majestic before being replaced on February 10, 1927 by Manbait (Marie Prevost).

"Buster Keaton in 'The General' has a role in the most dramatic picture of the type in which he yet has played, and some thrilling battle scenes of the Civil war are intermingled with the plot," read a review in The Ann Arbor Times News on February 7, 1927.

Also playing in Ann Arbor on February 6, 1927 were Tell It to the Marines (Lon Chaney) at the Arcade; While London Sleeps (Rin-Tin-Tin) at the Wuerth; The Buckaroo Kid (Hoot Gibson) at the Orpheum; and Rawhide (Buffalo Bill, Jr.) at the Rae.

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

 


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated October 22, 2017.

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