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Looking Back

February 1964

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in February 1964. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


The comedy classic It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World opened in Detroit at the Cinerama Music Hall on Tuesday, February 11, 1964. It had its world premiere in Los Angeles on November 7, 1963 and later opened in New York City on November 17, 1963.

In Detroit, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World succeeded How the West was Won, which had played at the Music Hall for 48 weeks from March 6, 1963 to February 2, 1964. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was the first movie in single-lens Cinerama, which avoided the three-paneled look of the three-lens process that had been used for earlier Cinerama films.

"'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,' which opened Tuesday at the Cinerama Music Hall, is a mighty collection of practically every piece of situation comedy the movies have included in the last 50 years," wrote Louis Cook in the February 12, 1964 edition of the Detroit Free Press.

"The chase, backbone of comedy since the inception of movies, reaches its most spectacular and hilarious proportions in 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,' Stanley Kramer's star-crammed production now on view at the Music Hall," wrote Detroit News Movie Critic Al Weitschat on February 12, 1964.

Other downtown Detroit movies when It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World opened were Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison) at the United Artists; Pyro (Barry Sullivan, Martha Hyer) at the Fox; Walt Disney's The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk) at the Adams; Love with the Proper Stranger (Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen) at the Michigan; Strait-Jacket (Joan Crawford) at the Palms; The Cardinal (Tom Tryon) at the Madison; and The Conjugal Bed (Ugo Tognazzi, Marina Vlady) at the Grand Circus.

Also in town were Charade (Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn) at the Mercury and Tom Jones (Albert Finney) at the Trans-Lux Krim. The Redford was screening a double bill of Walt Disney's The Sword in the Stone and 40 Pounds of Trouble (Tony Curtis, Suzanne Pleshette).

Art house films included Three Fables of Love (Leslie Caron) and Jules and Jim (Jeanne Moreau) at the Coronet and Surf; Lord of the Flies at the Studio; and Mondo Cane at the Studio-North.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World played at the Music Hall for 56 weeks until March 8, 1965, and was replaced with the Biblical epic The Greatest Story Ever Told. It began its Detroit neighborhood and suburban run on April 14, 1965, when it opened at many indoor and drive-in theaters.

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the Michigan Theater on Friday, March 12, 1965, after a run of Your Cheatin' Heart (George Hamilton, Susan Oliver). It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World played at the Michigan until April 6, 1965 and was succeeded by Strange Bedfellows (Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida).

Also playing in Ann Arbor on March 12, 1965 were Goldfinger (with Sean Connery as James Bond) in its fifth week at the State; and Nothing But a Man (Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln) at the Campus. Also in town was the third annual Ann Arbor Film Festival ("An International Competition of Experimental and Documentary Films"), which ran from March 11 to 14 at Lorch Hall on the University of Michigan campus.

PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated October 22, 2017.

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