Up 24,450 this week

Bright Lights (1930)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

A successful Broadway star ready to retire from her wild career announces her engagement. But her tumultuous past isn't done with her yet.



(screen version & dialogue), (screen version & dialogue)
0Check in

IMDb Picks: June

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in June, brought to you by Swiffer.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

Related News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 91 titles
created 14 May 2013
a list of 1152 titles
created 06 Aug 2013
a list of 6727 titles
created 03 Dec 2013
a list of 236 titles
created 26 Dec 2013
list image
a list of 236 titles
created 12 Jan 2014

Related Items

Search for "Bright Lights" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Bright Lights (1930)

Bright Lights (1930) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Bright Lights.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

It is the fifth anniversary of the death of Adolphe Noblet who died in a train wreck. His servant and friends still worship him but don't care much for his wife Sylvaine's second husband ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Frank Fay, James Gleason, Lilyan Tashman
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »

Directors: Archie Mayo, Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Madge Evans, Arthur Byron
Doctor X (1932)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy
Whoopee! (1930)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Western sheriff Bob Wells is preparing to marry Sally Morgan; she loves part-Indian Wanenis, whose race is an obstacle. Sally flees the wedding with hypochondriac Henry Williams, who thinks... See full summary »

Director: Thornton Freeland
Stars: Eddie Cantor, Ethel Shutta, Paul Gregory
Black Fury (1935)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An immigrant coal miner finds himself in the middle of a bitter labor dispute between the workers and the mine owners.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Paul Muni, Karen Morley, William Gargan
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A crippled puppeteer rescues an abused young boy and turns the boy into a great ballet dancer. Complications ensue when, as a young man, the dancer falls in love with a young woman the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Charles Butterworth
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In New York City, a young model is swept off her feet by a debonair, handsome young man. Unfortunately for her, he didn't want to get married but had been stringing her along. When she ... See full summary »

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Dorothy Mackaill, Conrad Nagel, H.B. Warner
A Lost Lady (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Two days before Marian and Ned are to be married, he is killed by the husband of a woman he was seeing on the side. Marian becomes withdrawn and they send her to the Canadian Rockies for ... See full summary »

Directors: Alfred E. Green, Phil Rosen
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Frank Morgan, Ricardo Cortez
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A man's marriage suffers when he pretends to be a bachelor while promoting "his" best-selling book about married life (actually written by an eccentric professor) in order to pay off a debt to a gangster.

Directors: Edward Buzzell, Norman Taurog
Stars: Robert Young, Ruth Hussey, Felix Bressart
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Vivienne Segal, Alexander Gray, Jean Hersholt
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Tony (Charles Laughton), a successful but illiterate middle-aged grape farmer, sends the photograph of his handsome young foreman, Joe (William Gargan), instead of his own, hoping to woo ... See full summary »

Director: Garson Kanin
Stars: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, William Gargan
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young kid from Upstate New York named Eddie (Landis) is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. Throughout the con there is an inevitable chorus-girl with a heart of gold (... See full summary »

Director: Bryan Foy
Stars: Helene Costello, Cullen Landis, Mary Carr


Complete credited cast:
Frank Fay ...
Wally Dean
Miguel Parada
Daphne Pollard ...
Mame Avery
Connie Lamont
Tom Dugan ...
Tom Avery
Peggy North
Frank McHugh ...
Fish, a reporter
Edmund Breese ...
Edward J. Nugent ...
'Windy' Jones (as Eddie Nugent)
Philip Strange ...


The lovely young star of a Broadway show is giving an interview to several newspaper writers and tells them about her wild life, parts of which involved "hula dancing" in Africa and an involvement with a dangerous Portuguese smuggler. Unbeknownst to her, the smuggler has showed up at the theater on that very night. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What a Cast and Story - Crammed With Drama -- Songs -- Girls -- Hatred. And How Dorothy Does That Hula-Hula -- Oh Boy!


Musical | Drama





Release Date:

21 September 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adventures in Africa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Apparatus)


(TV prints)| (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While no Technicolor prints have survived of the complete film, a 2-to-3 minute color clip was recently recovered--a dressing room scene involving Mackaill, Fay, and McHugh. See more »


Song of the Congo
Written by Ned Washington, Ray Perkins & Herb Magidson
Sung by Dorothy Mackaill in a flashback in South Africa
Reprised by her in the current show
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Early film has many aspects of Hollywood transition
8 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Bright Lights" is a good example of early cinema after the advent of sound. It includes some popular actors from the silent era who transitioned well enough in sound, but whose careers lasted less than a dozen more years. Dorothy Mackaill, Frank Fay, Inez Courtney, Edward Nugent, Daphne Pollard, and Philip Strange had short careers in sound.

James Murray and Edmund Breese died in the mid-1930s and Noah Beery died in 1946. Only Tom Dugan had a film career that lasted into the 1950s and ended with his death in 1955. I mention this as one reason that few of these names may be known today – other than by serious movie buffs.

Mackaill was a moderately talented singer and actor who played glamor roles in a variety of film genres. But, as film technology advances leapfrogged within a few short years of sound, the competition increased. The glamor age of Hollywood was just beginning. Many new beautiful and talented actresses came on the scene. That included several multi-talented women who could also sing and/or dance. Alice Faye, Jeanette MacDonald, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, Eleanor Powell and Ginger Rogers had talents that dwarfed Mackaill. Mackaill made her last theatrical movie in 1937. She was just 34, and she would live to be 87.

Frank Fay started in movies with sound. Although a talented actor and singer, he faced the same competition Mackaill had. But, added to his declining career was his huge ego, a drinking problem, and difficulty in working with others. His film career all but ended with three early films in the 1940s.

Some viewers and the DVD sales company like to promote this as a "pre- code" movie. I think that's done for a lot of films that would not have much of a problem when the motion picture industry began to enforce its code in 1934. But, Mackaill was one of the stars who played roles that had provocative scenes or scantily dressed women. This film has a silhouette scene of the actress undressing behind a screen. Other than that, the chorus costumes and performances were no more revealing or suggestive than any of the many musical films from the mid-1930s onward.

"Bright Lights" is what might be called a formulaic film of early musicals. The musicals most of us remember and enjoy from the past are those that have considerable plots. They tell the stories with musical and/or dance numbers at intervals. But, the earliest of the sound era musicals were mostly revues. They had scripts with very thin plots, if any, and were mostly staged music and dance numbers, sometimes with comedy stuck in, as in the vaudeville days.

Besides this example, the technical and production aspects of "Bright Lights" are examples of the early transitions in film. For instance, the heavy use of makeup in this film is most obvious with Frank Fay. The acting at times seems stuck in place – probably because this was filmed with fixed microphone locations. And, the acting itself still has some twinges of melodrama – a carryover from the silent film days.

There are no memorable songs from this film, and the choreography of the big numbers is rudimentary compared to later accomplished musicals. The film has a thin plot, but there are no exceptional performances. It has some historical value for a look at a handful of early actors who bowed out of films within a few short years. And, it has some value in showing the state of the film craft in its early years of transition to sound and other major advances.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Color print? gnok2002
The funniest part BlitheringTwit
Discuss Bright Lights (1930) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: