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

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Looking Back

October 1951

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in October 1951. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


The Day the Earth Stood Still with Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, and Hugh Marlowe opened in Detroit at the Fox Theater on Friday, October 12, 1951. It had earlier opened in New York City on September 18, 1951 and in Los Angeles on September 28, 1951.

Also on the bill with The Day the Earth Stood Still at the Fox in Detroit was Obsessed (David Farrar, Geraldine Fitzgerald). These movies succeeded a twin bill of Meet Me After the Show (Betty Grable, Macdonald Carey) and Corky of Gasoline Alley (Jimmy Lydon).

"Out in space inhabitants of other planets are watching the earth with great apprehension," wrote Detroit Free Press movie reviewer Helen Bower on October 13, 1951. "Or so 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' at the Fox Theater would have us believe. Probably this movie is a 'first' as a science-fiction 'message' picture."

"If we get to monkeying around with atomic power aggressively enough to bother other planets, our hash is going to be settled in short order, according to this science fiction thriller, undoubtedly the best of the cycle to reach the screen thus far," wrote Al Weitschat in The Detroit News on October 13, 1951. "'The Day the Earth Stood Still' is excellently done in its technical aspects, and it has a provocative theme to go with its weirdly exciting doings. It achieves a realism highly essential in films of this type."

Other downtown Detroit movies when The Day the Earth Stood Still opened were The Man with a Cloak (Joseph Cotten, Barbara Stanwyck, Louis Calhern, Leslie Caron) at the United Artists; Jim Thorpe—All American (Burt Lancaster) at the Palms; A Place in the Sun (Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters) at the Michigan; David and Bathsheba (Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward) at the Madison; and Texas Carnival (Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Howard Keel) at the Adams.

The Redford was screening a double feature of On Moonlight Bay (Doris Day, Gordon MacRae) and Warpath (Edmond O'Brien). The Senate was showing a twin bill of Captain Horatio Hornblower (Gregory Peck, Virginia Mayo) and Secrets of Monte Carlo (Warren Douglas). Art house films in Detroit included Tales of Hoffmann (Moira Shearer) at the Cinema and Jean Cocteau's Orpheus (Jean Marais) at the Studio.

The Day the Earth Stood Still played for one week at the Fox until October 18, before being replaced with The Desert Fox (James Mason, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Jessica Tandy) and The Son of Dr. Jekyll (Louis Hayward).

The Day the Earth Stood Still began its Detroit neighborhood run on Sunday, November 25, 1951, when it opened at the Redford and other theaters. It played at the Redford with The Hollywood Story (Richard Conte) for three days until Tuesday, November 27.

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of The Day the Earth Stood Still at the State on Sunday, November 18, 1951, after a run of A Streetcar Named Desire. The Day the Earth Stood Still played at the State for four days with the cartoons Brooklyn Goes to Beantown and Vegetable Vaudeville. It was replaced on November 22 with Sunny Side of the Street (Frankie Laine).

Also in Ann Arbor on November 18 were The Desert Fox (James Mason, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Jessica Tandy) at the Michigan; That Midnight Kiss (Kathryn Grayson, Mario Lanza) at the Orpheum; The Burning Question (AKA Reefer Madness) and Guilty Parents at the Whitney; and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (Clifton Webb) and Passage West (John Payne) at the Wuerth.

The Day the Earth Stood Still returned to Ann Arbor on January 1, 1952 for a four-day run at the Wuerth with Lullaby of Broadway (Doris Day, Gene Nelson).

PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of The Day the Earth Stood Still.


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated June 18, 2017.

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