Detroit Movie Palaces
Your Guide to Classic Movie Theater Filmgoing!
Detroit Film Theatre
Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in May 1931. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.
For more information about these theaters, see Cinema Treasures or Water Winter Wonderland.
With summer approaching, the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor announced, "New Cooling Plant Now in Operation - 70 Degrees Cool Always." Newspaper ads showed the Michigan name draped in ice and proclaimed that "waves of gloriously fresh, delightfully cool air pour over you from our perfect ventilating system."
Among the films at the Michigan were Strangers May Kiss, with Norma Shearer, who a few months earlier had won the 1929/30 Oscar for best lead actress (for The Divorcee). In the May 11 Ann Arbor Daily News, columnist Allison Ind wrote, "Strangers May Kiss is a most simple story, very modern, very vivacious and quite acceptably sexy." Also showing at the Michigan this month were Trader Horn and The Front Page, both later nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award for 1930/31.
The Redford presented two other Best Picture nominees for 1930/31East Lynne and Skippy. Redford audiences checked the weather report before seeing such double bills as New Moon and Rain or Shine (a circus drama directed by Frank Capra), or Lightning Flyer and June Moon. Mixed among the Detroit News movie ads on May 7, 1931 was this announcement: "Baseball Today at 3 p.m., Detroit vs. Chicago, Box and Reserve Seats at Navin Field."
Also at the Redford was Charlie Chaplin's silent City Lights, whose limited popularity threatened the future of silent films, wrote Detroit News columnist Harold Heffernan on May 17, 1931: "Two leading neighborhood theaters in Detroit played the Chaplin picture recently and with all the advance publicity the comedy had during its long downtown run it failed to make much of a stir."
A Detroit News article on May 24, 1931 about television heralded further changes: "The problems encountered in television can be likened to those of the first days of talkies and, therefore, no certainty exists as to the exact requirements needed."
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Last updated November 25, 2020.
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