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

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Miracle on 34th Street Opens (August 1947)

August Looking Back: 1927 1931 1932 1939 1947 1956 1957 1981 1982

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Looking Back

August 1947

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in August 1947. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


The perennial Christmas favorite Miracle on 34th Street opened in Detroit on Friday, August 22, 1947 at the Fox, on a double bill with Second Chance (Kent Taylor, Louise Currie). It starred Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn in his Oscar-winning role as Santa Claus. Miracle on 34th Street had earlier opened in New York City on June 4, 1947.

"If you've begun to lose faith in a world which seems full of sham, try 'Miracle on 34th Street'," wrote Norman Kenyon in the Detroit Free Press on August 23, 1947. "It got underway at the Fox Theater Friday. Full of quiet humor and sugar-coated philosophy, it offers a relaxing antidote to the 'There ain't no Santa Claus' bitterness so prevalent today."

"Outside the Fox Theater it is August and hot and stuffy; inside it is the time of Christmas and good cheer and good will and the laughter of children," wrote Al Weitschat in The Detroit News on August 23, 1947. "For on the screen is a story about Santa Claus and a miracle, and not the least part of that miracle is that it summons up the spirit of the happiest season when it dwells not at all in the mind."

At the Fox, Miracle on 34th Street followed a run of Ivy (Joan Fontaine). It was succeeded by Mother Wore Tights (Betty Grable, Dan Dailey).

Other downtown Detroit movies on August 22, 1947 included Cry Wolf (Errol Flynn, Barbara Stanwyck) at the Michigan; Welcome Stranger (Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald) at the United Artists; Crossfire (Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan) at the Palms; and Calcutta (Alan Ladd) at the Madison.

Reissues were popular with Gone with the Wind (1939) at the Adams; Frankenstein (1931) and Dracula (1931) at the Downtown; and Marked Woman (1937, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart) and Dust Be My Destiny (1939, John Garfield, Priscilla Lane) at the Broadway-Capitol.

Also on August 22, the Redford hosted a double bill of High Barbaree (Van Johnson) and Love and Learn (Jack Carson). The art film Cinema screened The Vow ("Epic Film Story of Stalin").

Miracle on 34th Street opened for a second Detroit run on November 17, 1947, at the Riviera, Fisher, Madison, Cinderella, RKO Uptown, and Royal. It opened at the Redford on November 26 (the day before Thanksgiving), and played for four days, long enough to help launch the Christmas season.

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of Miracle on 34th Street at the Michigan on Sunday, August 3, 1947. University of Michigan graduate Valentine Davies earned an Academy Award for the story for the film.

Also playing in Ann Arbor on August 3 was the Abbott and Costello comedy Buck Privates Come Home at the State. The Wuerth was screening Walt Disney's Song of the South and The Magnificent Rogue (Lynne Roberts, Warren Douglas). The Whitney was showing Code of the West (James Warren, John Laurenz) and Web of Danger (Adele Mara and Bill Kennedy, later famous as a TV movie host in the Detroit area).

At the Michigan, Miracle on 34th Street was accompanied by the George Pal Puppetoon Tubby the Tuba. Miracle on 34th Street followed a run of The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, Ann Dvorak), and was succeeded by The Trouble with Women (Ray Milland). It returned to Ann Arbor on October 15, 1947 for a two-day run at the Wuerth with The Millerson Case (Warner Baxter).

Click here to see a PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of Miracle on 34th Street.

 


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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 August 18, 2014.

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