Your Guide to Classic Movie Theater Filmgoing!
Look What's Coming!
Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in December 1956. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.
"The waning days of 1956 witness the greatest array of first-run attractions ever presented to Detroit movie goers in a holiday season," wrote Al Weitschat in the Dec. 23 Detroit News. Christmas Day openings included The Teahouse of the August Moon, with Marlon Brando (at the Adams); Elia Kazan's controversial Baby Doll (Palms); and the last Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis movie, Hollywood or Bust (Michigan). On Dec. 27, the United Artists Theatre hosted the Detroit premiere of Michael Todd's Around the World in 80 Days.
The Redford joined in the fun with a rare first run showing of a major filmFriendly Persuasion, with Gary Cooper, which also opened on Dec. 25. "Certainly this is the most appropriate picture for the Christmas season, because it deals with kind hearts and gentle people and strong faith and abiding love," wrote Weitschat in the Dec. 25 News. "It is a far cry from the spectacular stuff filling the large screens."
Judy Holliday rode in The Solid Gold Cadillac to Detroit area neighborhood theaters, where it enjoyed a week-long run at the Redford on double bills with Raw Edge (Rory Calhoun) and Run for the Sun (Richard Widmark). Also popular at the Redford was the musical The Best Things in Life are Free, which continued the success Gordon MacRae had with his last two movies (Oklahoma! and Carousel). Jack Palance (who died Nov. 10, 2006) starred in the war movie Attack, on a twin bill with Dana Andrews in Fritz Lang's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
Friendly Persuasion also brightened Christmas in Ann Arbor, where it played for eight days at the Michigan. Earlier in the month, the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca played for six days. Hitchock's latest, The Wrong Man (with Henry Fonda), helped Michigan visitors "Celebrate the Big Nite at Our Gay...Happy New Year's Eve Midnite Show". Ann Arbor businesses sold tickets to the Merchants Christmas Show at the Michigan, which on Friday, Dec. 21 featured John Wayne in the 1949 John Ford western She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.
The Motion Picture Association of America loosened the movie morals code. "The major changes lift completely the code's prohibition against subjects having to do with illicit narcotics practices, illegal operation, kidnaping and prostitution," wrote Al Weitschat in the Dec. 12 Detroit News. Weitschat noted that "this is the first liberalization of the code since it was adopted in 1930."
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Web site copyright © 2014 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.
Launched November 25, 2005.
Last updated March 31, 2014.
Graphics courtesy of the Absolute Web Graphics Archive and Christmas Graphics Plus.
Videos courtesy of YouTube, Turner Classic Movies, and the Internet Archive.