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November Looking Back: 1931 1932 1935 1956 1957 1981 1982

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Looking Back

April 1981

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in April 1981. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


It's Easter weekend in 1981 (April 17-19). At the Detroit Film Theatre, you could have seen the 1980 "Special Edition" of Steven Spielberg's 1977 science fiction classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or the offbeat 1980 American comedy Imposters. The Redford presented the 1927 silent film The King of Kings, with its depiction of the last days of Jesus.

At the Michigan, the Michigan Community Theatre Foundation hosted a Spring Show on Good Friday that included organ music, stage performances, and the movie Quo Vadis (1951). On Easter Sunday, the foundation presented Judgment at Nuremburg (1961).

Other alternative film options on Easter weekend included the Cass City Cinema (Cass and Forest in Detroit, at the First Unitarian Church), which showed The Man Who Laughs (1928) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). At the main Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Film Society presented The Night of the Hunter (1955) and An American in Paris (1951). The Merrie Melodie Theatre in Rochester screened The Mad Magician (1954), a 3-D film with Vincent Price.

In April 1981, the DFT also presented Every Man for Himself, a 1980 film from noted French director Jean-Luc Godard. Also at the DFT was Gates of Heaven, the strangely poignant 1980 documentary about pet cemetaries that returned to the DFT in February 2000 as part of a retrospective on the film's director, Errol Morris.

The Classic Film Theatre of the Michigan treated moviegoers to double bills of films with Orson Welles (Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)); Woody Allen (Bananas (1971) and Sleeper (1973)); and Sherlock Holmes (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)).

On April 11, the Redford hosted theater organist Jerry Nagano, along with silent comedy films and a trampoline act. At the Redford on April 3 and 4, the hills of Austria came alive with The Sound of Music (1965). Julie Andrews also appeared at the Michigan on April 12 in Mary Poppins (1964), which was sponsored by the Ann Arbor Film Co-op.


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Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated November 23, 2014.

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