Bright Eyes (1934)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Family  |  28 December 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,419 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 12 critic

An orphaned girl is taken in by a snobbish family at the insistence of their rich, crotchety uncle, even as her devoted aviator godfather fights for custody.



(screen play) (as William Conselman) , (story), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
James Dunn ...
Adele Martin
Mary Blake
Charles Sellon ...
Uncle Ned Smith
Walter Johnson ...
Joy Smythe
Theodore von Eltz ...
J. Wellington Smythe (as Theodor von Eltz)
Dorothy Christy ...
Anita Smythe
Brandon Hurst ...
Judge Thompson


When a maid is accidentally hit by a car and killed, her young orphaned daughter is forced to live with the snooty couple she used to work for. A custody battle soon ensues between an aviator who adores the little girl and the couple's crotchety Uncle Ned. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 December 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shirley aviatrice  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director David Butler auditioned over thirty girls for the role of snobby Joy Smythe. When he heard Jane Withers's imitation of a machine gun, he signed her on the spot and sent the rest of the girls home. See more »


When Joy offers to give Shirley's doll an operation, Shirley picks her up and calls her doll Mary Lou. This is the name Shirley gave to the doll her mother gave her for Christmas, but the doll she has now is the one the aviators gave her, named Loopy. You can tell because this doll is larger and is wearing an aviator hat. See more »


Uncle Ned Smith: Hey, where's your little girl?
Mary Blake: She's gone to a Christmas party.
Uncle Ned Smith: I don't believe in Christmas.
Mary Blake: You don't?
Uncle Ned Smith: It's all a lot of nonsense.
Mary Blake: Well, I don't feel that way about it.
Uncle Ned Smith: Here.
[handing her some money]
Uncle Ned Smith: Buy a Christmas present for Shirley from me. Christmas.
See more »


Referenced in Myra Breckinridge (1970) See more »


The Man on the Flying Trapeze
(1867) (uncredited)
Music by Gaston Lyle
Lyrics by George Leybourne
Sung a cappella by Charles Sellon
See more »

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User Reviews

Even the cynic in me couldn't resist this one...
15 April 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Up until recently, I never watched Shirley Temple movies and deliberately avoided them. I assumed the were cloying and I hate child actors. However, I ran into a problem on Netflix--I'd seen just about everything and ALL of the classic films. So, reluctantly, I decided to try a couple. To my surprise, the films are, for the most part, delightful--much of it because Temple was a simply amazing child actress. No matter how much I knew the studio was manipulating the audience, I just couldn't help but adore the child. Despite being almost like the product of some unholy breeding experiment because she was SO perfect, I just couldn't resist her charm.

Of all the Shirley Temple movies I've seen (and by now I've seen most), I would have to say that "Bright Eyes" is the best. It is sweet but it also has a nice balance of nastiness that really helps the film along. Let me explain...while Shirley is wonderful, counter-balancing it with the Smythe family, and especially their bratty child (Jane Withers). I loved Withers in the film--she played the most bratty and nasty little girl--and it took a lot of talent to make her character THIS awful! So, we have two of the greatest child actresses of all-time in one film! The plot is, in some ways, a bit like Cinderella...just a bit. It begins with Shirley and her widowed mother living and working at the home of the rich but horrid Smythe family. Aside from their uncle (played WONDERFULLY by Charles Sellon), the entire brood are worthless people--and they couldn't care less about sweet Shirley or her mother. However, when Shirley's mother is killed, the uncle INSISTS the child be treated like a member of the family and move out of the servants' quarters. The Smythes can't stand her--but they want the uncle's money and they agree. But what about her guardian, Luke (James Dunn)? He adores the child and can't think of living without her. So what will become of all this? See this nice film and see.

A wonderful blend of sentiment and comedy, I can't help but recommend this film. In addition, you'll get to hear Shirley's terrific rendition of "Good Ship Lollipop"--an amazingly toe-tapping tune. With all the wonderful acting (Dunne, Sellon, Withers and Temple especially), this is the Twentieth Century-Fox formula at its very best. Unless you are even more cynical than me, you will find you can't help but love this film.

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