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 October 1946. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.
For more information about these theaters, see Cinema Treasures or Water Winter Wonderland.
The Big Sleep, the second movie with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, opened in Detroit on Friday, October 18, 1946 at the Michigan Theater. It had earlier opened in New York City on August 23, 1946 at the Strand theater. At the Michigan, The Big Sleep followed Janie Gets Married (Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton).
"Off to a staccato start, 'The Big Sleep' piles exciting episode upon episode for two hours at the Michigan, without missing a shot," wrote Detroit Free Press Drama Critic Len G. Shaw on October 19, 1946. "It is this thrill-saturated observer's nomination for high rating in the current Hollywood crop of crime tales."
"As hard-boiled melodrama, this one takes the brass-knuckles," wrote Al Weitschat in the October 19, 1946 edition of The Detroit News. "It boasts no less than seven murders, it is full of sexy and poisonous characters, and it builds enough tension to reduce the nerves to a frazzle. In the middle of it all are Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who know their way around the corners."
Other downtown Detroit movies when The Big Sleep opened were The Killers (Edmond O'Brien, Ava Gardner, and new star Burt Lancaster) at the Adams and Downtown; Nobody Lives Forever (John Garfield, Geraldine Fitzgerald) at the Broadway-Capitol; To Each His Own (Olivia DeHavilland) at the United Artists; and The Green Years (Tom Drake, Charles Coburn) at the Madison.
A young Vera-Ellen appeared with June Haver and Vivian Blaine in Three Little Girls in Blue at the Fox, and with Danny Kaye in The Kid from Brooklyn at the Palms-State. The art film Cinema Theater was screening Henry V (Laurence Olivier).
The Redford had a double bill of Lover Come Back (George Brent, Lucille Ball) and The Southerner (Zachary Scott, Betty Field). The Senate was showing Frisco Sal (Susanna Foster, Turhan Bey) and Three is a Family (Marjorie Reynolds, Charles Ruggles).
Also on the bill with The Big Sleep at the Michigan was High School Hero (Freddie Stewart, June Priesser). The Big Sleep played at the Michigan for two weeks until October 31, 1946, before being replaced with Till the End of Time (Dorothy McGuire, Guy Madison, Robert Mitchum).
The Big Sleep began its Detroit neighborhood run on December 31, 1946, when it played at the RKO Uptown, Riviera, Madison, Fisher, Cinderella, and Royal. It played at the Redford on January 12-14, 1947 with The Cockeyed Miracle (Keenan Wynn, Frank Morgan).
Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of The Big Sleep at their Michigan theater on Sunday, November 3, 1946, after a run of The Kid from Brooklyn (Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen). The Big Sleep screened at the Michigan with the Porky Pig cartoon Mouse Menace until November 8, 1946, before being replaced by Three Little Girls in Blue (June Haver, Vivian Blaine, George Montgomery, Vera-Ellen).
Also playing in Ann Arbor on November 3, 1946 were If I'm Lucky (Harry James, Perry Como, Vivian Blaine, Carmen Miranda) at the State; Renegades (Evelyn Keyes, Willard Parker) and Lover Come Back (Lucille Ball, George Brent) at the Wuerth; and Joe Palooka, Champ (Joe Kirkwood) and Gunman's Code (Kirby Grant) at the Whitney.
Click here to see newspaper images relating to the opening of The Big Sleep.
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Last updated November 25, 2020.
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