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 1981. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.
For more information about these theaters, see Cinema Treasures or Water Winter Wonderland.
The Detroit Film Theatre ended the Winter/Spring season of its eighth year with a season record attendance of about 80,000, noted Susan Stark of the Detroit News. About half of those patrons attended the Sunday night 3-D series. In Stark's story, DFT Director Elliot Wilhelm said, "I think we gave Detroiters a good overview of what's going on at the movies and they responded magnificently."
This last month of this DFT season included the Hungarian Confidence (1980), the French Poto and Cabengo (1979) and the Italian Luna (1979). Also playing was Image Before My Eyes (1981), a documentary about Jews in Poland before the two World Wars. American film fans enjoyed Alfred Hitchcock's 3-D Dial M for Murder (1954) and Buster Keaton in Seven Chances (1925) and Sherlock Jr. (1924). The season ended on May 30 with the appropriately titled Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960). DFT staff and visitors then took a break until August 7, when the next season opened with Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro (1980).
On May 2, the Classic Film Theatre of the Michigan Theatre presented The Wizard of Oz (1939). The CFT also launched a Cary Grant Festival on May 23, 1981. In an Ann Arbor News article about this festival (and an Alfred Hitchcock festival in June), Arts Editor Rich Quackenbush wrote, "The majestic Michigan, of course, offers the facilities to show classic movies in the bigger-than-life setting for which they were intended."
From May 8 to May 10, the St. Joe's Radio-thon Auction on WAAM-AM (1600) radio let listeners bid on "two noontime performances by a Michigan Theatre organist or bid on two hour-long sessions at the keyboard for yourself." A Memorial Show at the Michigan on May 29 included the movie Maytime (1937) and musical performances by organist Newton Bates and the Livingston County Midlakes Chorus.
Redford audiences enjoyed two classic musicals, including Fiddler on the Roof (1971), which was shown on May 1 and 2. Anchors Aweigh (1945) washed ashore at the Redford on May 15 and 16. On May 9, renowned theater organist Gaylord Carter accompanied the dramatic silent film Sunrise (1927). The month ended on May 29 and 30 with Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 film The Lady Vanishes.
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