DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Historical Society continues its popular film series every weekend this summer from Saturday, July 9 through Sunday, September 4 with popular films from the past covering a range of Detroit history.

Each screening begins at 1 pm in the Detroit Historical Museum’s Louise C. Booth Auditorium and is free with regular admission.

Admission to the Detroit Historical Museum, located at 5401 Woodward Ave., is $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and free for children ages 4 and under. Parking in the museum’s lot is $4 at all times.

The films being screened include the following:

  • “The Hudson’s Building” – July 9-10 and August 6-7

This 1998 film combines the preservation versus demolition debate with the social and cultural impact of the much-loved 106-year-old former department store. Hudson’s employee and customer interviews are featured, as well as dozens of historic photos and home movie footage.

Interviews with developers, city planners, preservationists and members of Detroit City Council provide an active dialog regarding not only the issue of redevelopment vs. demolition, but also how such decisions are rendered.

The late Detroit radio personality Dave Dixon narrated “The Hudson’s Building,” and Michael Hauser, author of the 2004 book “Hudson’s: Detroit’s Legendary Department Store” and the recently released “Remembering Hudson’s: The Grand Dame of Detroit Retailing,” served as a historical consultant.

Since its closing in 1983, and demolition in October 1998, the Hudson’s building had come to represent both Detroit’s historic past and its potential future. Part nostalgia, part public affairs, “The Hudson’s Building” illustrates the depth of feelings metro Detroiters had for the grand old store.

Run time: 42 minutes

  • “Detroit Mob Confidential” – July 16-17 and August 20-21

Directed by Al Profit and hosted by local author and organized crime historian Scott Burnstein, this 2009 film documents a century of mafia activity from bootlegging and murder to gambling and Jimmy Hoffa.

The film also explores Detroit’s La Cosa Nostra family, the most secretive and successful crime family in the United States. Detroit’s La Cosa Nostra was formed during the prohibition era. The Detroit family was the first La Cosa Nostra chapter to have its members convicted of corruption involving Las Vegas casinos. They have been the target of the FBI’s ongoing investigation of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance since 1975.

The film includes interviews with FBI agents, federal prosecutors and mafia associates from the 1950s and 1960s. Also featured are hundreds of never-before-seen surveillance photographs from federal law enforcement and family photos of Don Joe Zerilli on his Grosse Pointe estate.

Run time: 85 minutes

  • “Regional Roots: The Birth and Evolution of Detroit and Its People” – July 23-24, August 13-14, and September 3-4

“Regional Roots” is a documentary film produced by Wayne State University’s Detroit Orientation Institute and One of Us Films.

From the earliest French and German settlers to today’s growing communities, immigrants continue to shape the region in pursuit of the American Dream. This film focuses on the regional roots of Detroit’s cultural and ethnic communities including African-American, Arab, Asian-American and others.

Also documented are the transitions of the urban core, industrialization, immigration, ribbon farms of early French settlers, segregated housing patterns, reconstruction after the fire of 1805, Diego Rivera’s mural, racial tensions, musical roots and more. The film also includes images from the National Archives, and photos, images and artifacts from local museum and library collections.

Run time: 26 minutes

  • Producers’ cut of “Dom Polski: Dance Hall Days of Detroit’s Polonia” – July 30-31 and August 27-28 

“Dom Polski: Dance Hall Days of Detroit’s Polonia” chronicles the story of Detroit’s east and west side Polish-American immigrants as well as their cultural and musical traditions.

The unique musical style of Detroit’s Polonia was developed exclusively by Polish-American musicians during an unprecedented era of creativity. The music was performed in dance halls, clubs and Polish-American social halls (Dom Polskis or “Polish homes”) throughout America for nearly 50 years.

Their musical style, modeled on East Coast Polish-American bandleaders, incorporated jazz, classical, Latin and blues, creating a sound and style unique to Detroit. Their heyday was brief, but their music will be never be forgotten.

Run time: 90 minutes

For more information, visit or call 313-833-1801.


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