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 September 1953. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.
For more information about these theaters, see Cinema Treasures or Water Winter Wonderland.
The Oscar-winning World War II drama From Here to Eternity opened in Detroit on Friday, September 4, 1953, at the Madison Theatre. It had earlier premiered in New York City on August 5, 1953. It opened just after the end of the Korean War, and newspapers were filled with articles about returning prisoners of war.
In Detroit, it was part of the Labor Day weekend fun that also included the Michigan Agricultural State Fair, which featured appearances by Teresa Brewer, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Ventura.
"The year's most talked-about movie, 'From Here to Eternity,' arrives at the Madison Theater Friday," wrote Detroit Free Press Movie Critic Helen Bower on September 4, 1953. "It was filmed from James Jones' much talked-about novel, a Book-of-the-Month Club choice, wherein Mr. Jones is the one who says 'This is the army' in no uncertain terms."
"An exemplary job of laundering a best-seller has produced one of the outstanding pictures of the year," wrote Al Weitschat of The Detroit News on September 4, 1953. "Stripped of its bestiality and obscenity, 'From Here to Eternity' emerges as an unforgettable study of the virtues and vices of humans living within the bounds of army service in Hawaii just before Pearl Harbor."
Other downtown Detroit movies on September 4, 1953 included Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe) at the United Artists; The Band Wagon (Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse) at the Adams; and This is Cinerama (in its 24th week) at the Music Hall.
Also showing downtown were City of Bad Men (Dale Robertson, Jeanne Crain) and Sailor of the King (Jeffrey Hunter) at the Fox; Arrowhead (Charlton Heston, Jack Palance) and No Escape (Lew Ayres, Marjorie Steele) at the Broadway Capitol; Island in the Sky (John Wayne) and Tarzan and the She-Devil (Lex Barker) at the Palms; and The Charge at Feather River (Guy Madison, Frank Lovejoy) and Francis Covers the Big Town (Donald O'Connor) at the Michigan.
In the neighborhoods, the Redford was showing a double bill of Sangaree (in 3-D, with Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl) and Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation (Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride). For art film fans, the Studio at Livernois and Davison screened two movies by French comedian Fernandel (Three Sinners, The Little World of Don Camillo).
From Here to Eternity played at the Madison for more than three months, until Thursday, December 10, before giving way to the Oscar-winning documentary The Sea Around Us.
From Here to Eternity opened at Detroit area neighborhood theaters (including the Redford) on Wednesday, February 10, 1954. At the Redford, it played for a week, along with The Sea Around Us. It was followed by Here Come the Girls, with Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, and Tony Martin.
Ann Arbor audiences were treated to the opening of From Here to Eternity at the Michigan on Friday, September 24, 1953, following a run of The Actress, with Spencer Tracy and Jean Simmons. It played until Saturday, October 3, 1953, followed by the 3-D Inferno (Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming).
Also playing in Ann Arbor when From Here to Eternity opened were The All American (Tony Curtis, Lori Nelson) at the State; The White Line (Gina Lollobrigida) at the Orpheum; and Road to Bali (Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour) and Titanic (Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck) at the Wuerth.
Drive-in entertainment in the Ann Arbor area included The Lone Hand (Joel McCrea) and Girls in the Night at the Ypsi-Ann; and The Redhead from Wyoming (Maureen O'Hara) and Sally and St. Anne (Ann Blyth, Edmund Gwenn) at the Scio.
Click here to see a PDF of newspaper images relating to the opening of From Here to Eternity.
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