Detroit Film Theatre

16 May

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There is something very appealing to me to sit and watch a good movie on a rainy afternoon, on a recent Sunday we headed over to the Detroit Film Theatre to do just that. The 1,200 seat auditorium was built as part of the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1927, a collaborated effort of Paul Philippe Crete and C Howard Crane, the theater is gorgeous! For the last 30 years the theater has been host to acclaimed documentaries  subtitled foreign language films, restored classics, independent and silent films and director’s retrospectives. Today we are traveling to France, the year is 1971, the film, Max et les Ferrailleurs, parlez-vous francais?

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We find a parking space near the John R entrance, we purchase tickets in the outer lobby, the floor and walls are marble, the ceiling highlighted by a series of simple gold lines. The inner lobby is more decorative; the ceiling is embellished in gold, silver and copper, wonderfully ornate wrought iron floor lamps emit a soft light, the drinking fountain is a work of art itself. We follow the terazzo floor to a wonderful curving staircase leading to the mezzanine level; the back of each step beautifully decorated with lustrous Pewabic Tiles. At the top is the Crystal Gallery, originally a reception space, now a cafe, the room is breathtaking! The vaulted ceiling is two stories high, a row of stunning chandeliers dangle from above, floor to ceiling crystal reflecting walls cap off both sides. The windows are mammoth in size, allowing natural light to stream in, the oval space above them finely detailed. The cafe is a the perfect place to have a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, or a light snack before or after a film.

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Decorated in deep blue, gold and silver, the auditorium itself is lavish, opulent, magnificent. On each side of the stage mock box seat areas are capped with splendid gold grates, a single face rests at the peak. A ring of gold rectangular grates depict cherubs delighting in a bounty of fruits and vegetables surround the theatre. The ceiling and walls had to be designed around the Cassavant Feres classical pipe organ, fine details saturate the auditorium; a spectacular curved molding that joins wall and ceiling, Art Deco style grills along the back wall, C Howard Crane’s influence is obvious. The lights dim, we take our seats, the movie begins. It takes just a few minutes to acclimate myself to read the subtitles and watch the film simultaneously. Billed as a crime drama the story takes us through the planning of a bank heist, a detective seeking revenge and the complicated life of a beautiful woman in love with two men. C’est la vie!

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When the movie ends it is time for dinner, we are grabbing a bite to eat at Honest ? Johns over on Selden. A local favorite for many years the menu offers something for every taste; chicken and waffles, burgers and fries, salads, sandwiches and even vegetarian selections. We choose a booth by a window and pour over the menu, we place our order with the very friendly waitress and wait for our food to arrive. Restaurant patrons range from suburban couples and bar stool regulars to college students and hipsters, everybody feels at home here. We hear the clanking of balls from a game of pool taking place on the other side of the divider, neon signs sport phrases like “Sobriety Sucks” and “Men Lie”. Our food arrives and it looks delicious, the hardest part is waiting for Kris to take the pictures before we can dig in. The spinach salad is great; tender baby spinach, crisp turkey bacon, sweet vidalia onions and grape tomatoes served with a curry mustard dressing. The spinach artichoke melt tasted even better than it looked; soft grilled pita bread filled with spinach, artichoke, provolone and parmesan cheese, served with a side of chipotle-basil mayo, I’d come back for this sandwich anytime. 

One Response to “Detroit Film Theatre”

  1. The Detroit Foodie May 20, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Great photos & excellent post!!!

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