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Looking Back

June 1954

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in June 1954. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings, opened in Detroit on Friday, June 4, 1954 at the Michigan. It had earlier opened in New York City on May 28, 1954 at the Paramount.

"Murder mystery fans couldn't expect more for their money than they'll get in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Dial M for Murder,' opening Friday at the Michigan Theater," wrote Helen Bower in the Detroit Free Press on June 4, 1954. "That this movie in WarnerColor is 'Alfred Hitchcock's' means that fans of good acting and forceful, inventive direction will likewise be rewarded."

"Not a thrill has been lost in the transfer of this fascinating play about murder from stage to screen," wrote Al Weitschat in The Detroit News on June 4, 1954. "Alfred Hitchcock, the old master of suspense, wisely did no tinkering with the property beyond using the camera to add impact to crucial points."

Dial M for Murder was filmed in the 3-D process, but many theaters used the two-dimensional print. Audiences and theater operators had more enthusiasm for the new widescreen process CinemaScope than they did for 3-D. The New York City opening used the 2-D print. In Detroit, a news article about upcoming movies said that Dial M for Murder would screen in 3-D, but the newspaper reviews and advertising did not mention 3-D.

Other downtown Detroit movies when Dial M for Murder opened were the 3-D The French Line (Jane Russell) at the Adams; Men of the Fighting Lady (Van Johnson, Walter Pidgeon) at the United Artists; The Golden Mask (Van Heflin, Wanda Hendrix) at the Broadway-Capitol; Three Coins in the Fountain (Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire) at the Fox; Shane (Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur) and Detective Story (Kirk Douglas, William Bendix) at the Madison; and Mickey Spillane's The Long Wait (Anthony Quinn) at the Palms.

Also showing downtown was the first Cinerama movie, This is Cinerama, in its 63rd week at the Music Hall. The Redford was screening a twin bill of Hell and High Water (Richard Widmark) and Jivaro (Fernando Lamas, Rhonda Fleming). Art films included Mr. Potts Goes to Moscow at the Studio; The Pickwick Papers at the Cinema; and Jean Renoir's The Golden Coach (Anna Magnani) at the Krim. At the Ecorse Drive-In in Taylor, visitors enjoyed a triple feature of Along Came Jones (1945, Gary Cooper); Jalopy (1953, The Bowery Boys); and Scared to Death (1947, Bela Lugosi).

Also on the bill with Dial M for Murder at the Michigan was The Saracen Blade (Ricardo Montalban, Betta St. John). Dial M for Murder played at the Michigan until June 17, 1954, before being replaced with Johnny Dark (Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie).

Dial M for Murder played at the Redford from Sunday, August 1 to Tuesday, August 3, 1954, on a double bill with Three Young Texans (Mitzi Gaynor, Jeffrey Hunter).

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of Dial M for Murder in a 2-D print at their Michigan theater on Saturday, May 29, 1954. It played until June 4 and was followed by The French Line (Jane Russell). Dial M for Murder later played at the Martha Washington in Ypsilanti.

Also playing in Ann Arbor on May 29, 1954 were Three Coins in the Fountain (Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire) at the State; The Eddie Cantor Story and Thunder Over the Plains (Randolph Scott) at the Wuerth; and Times Gone By (Gina Lollobrigida) at the Orpheum. Drive-in entertainment included Botany Bay (Alan Ladd) and Arrowhead (Charlton Heston) at the Ypsi-Ann, and Small Town Girl (Jane Powell) and Tumbleweed (Audie Murphy) at the Scio.

Click here to see newspaper images relating to the opening of Dial M for Murder.


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated December 10, 2017.

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