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Looking Back

April 1952

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in April 1952. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical comedy Singin' in the Rain opened in Detroit at the United Artists Theater on Friday, April 11, 1952, at the beginning of the Easter weekend. The movie had earlier opened in New York City at Radio City Music Hall on March 27, 1952.

"Whoever had the idea for 'Singin' in the Rain' thought up something really original for the Technicolor musical at the United Artists Theater," wrote Helen Bower in the April 12, 1952 edition of the Detroit Free Press. "Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, this gay and happy entertainment kids the old silent movies and the studio headaches created by the advent of talking pictures."

"Having copped an Oscar with 'An American in Paris,' the MGM studio shows no signs of slackening its pace in 'Singin' in the Rain'," wrote Al Weitschat in The Detroit News on April 12, 1952. "Here is a lively, lavish Technicolor musical, in which Hollywood spoofs itself, thus endowing the show with much more sparkling comedy than is usually found in song-and-dance entertainments."

Singin' in the Rain succeeded Something to Live For (Joan Fontaine, Ray Milland, Teresa Wright) and Fort Osage (Rod Cameron) at the United Artists.

Other downtown Detroit movies when Singin' in the Rain opened were Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth at the Madison; With a Song in My Heart (Susan Hayward, Rory Calhoun) at the Fox; a re-release of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) at the Michigan; Quo Vadis (Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr) at the Adams; A Girl in Every Port (Groucho Marx, Marie Wilson) at the Palms; and a double bill of I Want You (Dana Andrews, Dorothy McGuire) and Just This Once (Janet Leigh, Peter Lawford) at the 24-hour Broadway-Capitol.

On April 11, 1952, the Redford also was screening I Want You and Just This Once. The famous Japanese film Rashomon was showing as Rasho-Mon at the Studio, Center, and Coronet. The Cinema had two John Ford classics: The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and Tobacco Road (1941).

Saturday, April 12 brought children's matinees. The Tower showed a Three Stooges comedy; an episode of the Captain Video serial; and a Roy Rogers western. The Berkley screened When the Redskins Rode (Jon Hall); one hour of cartoons; and a Three Stooges comedy.

Also on the bill with Singin' in the Rain at the United Artists was the Tom & Jerry cartoon The Two Mousketeers. Singin' in the Rain played at the United Artists until April 29, before being replaced by Rancho Notorious (Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy).

Singin' in the Rain played at the Redford for a held over seven-day run from July 9 to July 15, 1952. It was paired for four days with The Cimarron Kid (Audie Murphy) and then for three days with The Pride of St. Louis (Dan Dailey).

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of Singin' in the Rain at the Michigan Theatre on Sunday, May 4, 1952, after a run of The Treasure of Lost Canyon (William Powell, Julia Adams). Singin' in the Rain played at the Michigan for one week with the Donald Duck cartoon Let's Stick Together and Pathe News. It was followed by The Pride of St. Louis (Dan Dailey).

Also playing in Ann Arbor on May 4, 1952 were 5 Fingers (James Mason) at the State; Silver City (Edmond O'Brien and Yvonne De Carlo) and Phone Call from a Stranger (Shelley Winters, Gary Merrill) at the Wuerth; Rasho-Mon at the Orpheum; and a twin bill of The Las Vegas Story (Jane Russell, Victor Mature) and The Blue Veil (Jane Wyman) at the Ypsi-Ann Drive-In.

Click here to see a PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of Singin' in the Rain.


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated October 22, 2017.

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