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Looking Back

September 1941

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

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


The highly acclaimed Citizen Kane with Orson Welles opened in Detroit at the Michigan on September 26, 1941. It had earlier opened in New York City on May 1, 1941 and in Los Angeles on May 8, 1941.

Also on the bill with Citizen Kane at the Michigan was West Point Widow (Anne Shirley, Richard Carlson). These movies succeeded a twin bill of Manpower (Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, George Raft) and Walt Disney's The Reluctant Dragon.

"In this impressive and important production, Welles is revealed as having absorbed a tremendous amount of the tricks and tradition of the theater," wrote Detroit Free Press Motion Picture Editor Frank P. Gill on September 27, 1941. "And still more, that he possesses the skill and craftsmanship to adapt such knowledge to motion pictures in a masterful way."

Other downtown Detroit movies when Citizen Kane opened were Sun Valley Serenade (Sonja Henie, John Payne) and Harmon of Michigan (University of Michigan football star Tom Harmon, Anita Louise) at the Adams; Meet John Doe (Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck) and There's Magic in Music (Susanna Foster, Allan Jones) at the Broadway Capitol; and Belle Starr (Randolph Scott, Gene Tierney) and Two Latins from Manhattan (Jinx Falkenburg, Joan Davis) at the Fox.

Also downtown on September 26 were I Met Him in Paris (Claudette Colbert, Melvyn Douglas) and The Light that Failed (Ronald Colman, Ida Lupino) at the Madison; Manpower (Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, George Raft) and Walt Disney's The Reluctant Dragon at the Palms State; Lady Be Good (Ann Sothern, Red Skelton, Robert Young, Eleanor Powell) and Down in San Diego (Bonita Granville, Dan Dailey, Jr.) at the United Artists; and Pépé le Moko (Jean Gabin) at the Cinema.

The Redford was screening A Woman's Face (Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas) and Topper Returns (Roland Young, Joan Blondell). The Senate was also showing A Woman's Face, along with Blondie in Society (Penny Singleton).

The East Side Drive-In was showing Penny Serenade (Cary Grant, Irene Dunne) and Paper Bullets (Jack LaRue, Joan Woodbury). On the West Side Drive-In screen was Bachelor Daddy (Baby Sandy, Edward Everett Horton) and King of the Zombies (Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury).

Citizen Kane played at the Michigan in Detroit until October 2, 1941 before being replaced with Hold Back the Dawn (Charles Boyer, Olivia De Havilland, Paulette Goddard) and Henry Aldrich for President (June Preisser, Jimmy Lydon). On October 3, Citizen Kane moved to the Palms State, where it played until October 9 with They Met in Argentina (Maureen O'Hara, James Ellison, Buddy Ebsen), followed by Hold Back the Dawn and Sign of the Wolf (Michael Whalen, Grace Bradley).

Citizen Kane first played at the Redford on February 3-5, 1942 on a double bill with Swing It Soldier (Frances Langford, Ken Murray).

Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of Citizen Kane at the Michigan on October 12, 1941, after a run of Manpower (Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, George Raft) and the Walt Disney cartoon Donald's Camera. Also playing in Ann Arbor on October 12 was Belle Starr (Randolph Scott, Gene Tierney) at the Majestic.

Citizen Kane played for three days at the Michigan in Ann Arbor. It was replaced on October 15 by Down in San Diego (Bonita Granville, Ray McDonald, Dan Dailey, Jr., Leo Gorcey, Henry O'Neill, Stanley Clements).


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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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