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Looking Back

January 1941

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in January 1941. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

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


The Philadelphia Story with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart opened in Detroit at the United Artists theater on Thursday, January 9, 1941. It had earlier opened in New York City on December 26, 1940 and in Los Angeles on December 31, 1940.

Also on the bill with The Philadelphia Story at the United Artists was Maisie was a Lady (Ann Sothern, Lew Ayres, Maureen O'Sullivan). These movies succeeded a twin bill of Comrade X (Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr) and The Long Voyage Home (John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter).

"This week at the United Artists we may, if so interested, envision the shape of things to come in pictures for 1941 and the prospect is exceedingly pleasant," wrote Frank P. Gill in the Detroit Free Press on January 10, 1941. "For if 'The Philadelphia Story,' which opened at this theater Thursday, is a sample of this year's visiting screen product, and any indication of what to expect during the next 11 months and 18 days, then 1941 looks like a bumper year in filmdom."

Other downtown Detroit movies when The Philadelphia Story opened were Santa Fe Trail (Errol Flynn, Olivia DeHavilland) and Life with Henry (Aldrich Family) at the Michigan; Love Thy Neighbor (Jack Benny, Fred Allen) and Texas Rangers Ride Again (John Howard, Ellen Drew, Akim Tamiroff) at the Palms State; Bitter Sweet (Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy) and City for Conquest (James Cagney, Ann Sheridan) at the Broadway Capitol; and Mutiny on the Bounty (Clark Gable, Charles Laughton) and The Cat and the Canary (Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard) at the Madison.

Also downtown were The Thief of Baghdad (Conrad Veidt, Sabu) and Sandy Gets Her Man (Baby Sandy) at the Adams; Hudson's Bay (Paul Muni, Gene Tierney) and The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date (Warren William, Frances Robinson) at the Fox; Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine) at the Cinema; and Arise, My Love (Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland) and Fugitive from a Prison Camp (Jack Holt, Marian Marsh) at the Family.

The Redford was screening Wyoming (Wallace Beery) and Margie (Nan Grey, Tom Brown, Mischa Auer). The Senate was showing Tom Brown's School Days (Freddie Bartholomew) and Fugitive from a Prison Camp (Jack Holt, Marian Marsh).

Live entertainment included jazz great Louis Armstrong and his band at the Colonial; and the Olympic champion skater Sonja Henie at Olympia Stadium.

The Philadelphia Story played at the United Artists for five weeks until February 12, 1941, before being replaced with a re-release of Gone with the Wind (Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh).

The Philadelphia Story began its Detroit neighborhood and suburban run on February 23, 1941 when it opened at the Birmingham Theater. It played at the Redford for four days from May 5 to May 8, 1941 on a double bill with Mexican Spitfire Out West (Lupe Velez).


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This website is not affiliated with the Detroit Film Theatre, the Michigan Theater, or the Redford Theatre.

Website copyright © 2019 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated May 19, 2019.

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