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Lights of New York (1928)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Music | 18 July 1928 (USA)
Two men are conned into bootlegging business.


Bryan Foy




Complete credited cast:
Helene Costello ... Kitty Lewis
Cullen Landis ... Eddie Morgan
Mary Carr ... Mrs. Morgan
Wheeler Oakman ... 'Hawk' Miller
Gladys Brockwell ... Molly Thompson
Robert Elliott ... Detective Crosby
Eugene Pallette ... Gene
Tom Dugan ... Sam
Tom McGuire ... Collins
Walter Percival Walter Percival ... Jake Jackson
Guy D'Ennery ... Tommy (as Guy Dennery)
Jere Delaney Jere Delaney ... Dan Dickson


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 (Costello), a cop-killing gangster boss (Oakman) and his downtrodden ex-girlfriend (Brockwell). Written by rocknrollunderdawg

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Crime | Drama | Music | Romance



Did You Know?


Eddie is told to stay away from "the roaring forties", meaning the Times Square (42nd St.) area of NYC, then and for many later years known as an entertainment district and for its wild night life. The free spirited decade of the 1920s can be described in the same vein, as "roaring". See more »


In Central Park, one of Kitty's lines is repeated. See more »


Hawk Miller: I want you guys to make him disappear.
Sam: Oh. You mean...
Hawk Miller: Take him for a ride.
See more »


At Dawning
(1906) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Wakefield Cadman
Lyrics by Nelle Richmond Eberhart
Sung by Harry Downing
See more »

User Reviews

The Roaring Twenties LIVE - with motion AND sound!
18 February 2014 | by binapiraeusSee all my reviews

When talking about the first 'soundie', almost everybody automatically thinks of "The Jazz Singer" - wrong; it was only a part-talkie. The first ALL-talkie is a now almost forgotten little gangster drama called "Lights of New York" - and whoever's lucky enough to get the chance to watch it, won't even believe that it was made in 1928, when all the other movies were still silent or at the most contained some experimental sound sequences. The sound quality is so good, and the music numbers so lively, that you may think that this is one of the 30s' gangster movies that tried to recreate the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties (and not one of the better ones, because the actors were still somewhat stiff and clumsy - no wonder, for they were for the first time acting in front of a camera AND talking!) - but this is the REAL thing: an immeasurable treasure of a time document made up as a movie drama...

The story is simple and not very inventive: a young small town boy wants to hit the big city to make something out of himself - and unwittingly becomes the stooge for a couple of bootleggers whose boss runs a speakeasy where the lad's girlfriend works as a dancer; and so, instead of getting somewhere the decent way (which seems impossible in New York in the 1920s), he ends up with a load of 'hot' illegal booze on his hands and the gangster's men on his heels...

Yes, it DOES sound like an old B movie (and unfortunately, that's what most people, i.e. the ones that at least KNOW it, seem to mistake it for today) - BUT in 1928, it was a sensation: for the FIRST time, the audience could hear the actors speaking and the music playing throughout the WHOLE movie! No need to mention, of course, that it was an enormous financial success back then...

And for us today, it's BETTER than any documentary on the "Roaring Twenties": here, in this little melodrama, you can catch LIVE the atmosphere of the days of Prohibition, the speakeasies, the flappers with their bobs and fluffy dresses, the dance and music numbers of the time - for almost an hour, "Lights of New York" REALLY turns on the time machine for you and takes you back into the 20s. After witnessing THIS, any classic gangster movie of the 30s, as magnificent as it may be, looks just like a mere recreation of the REAL thing, no matter how 'amateurishly' directed and played it may seem to us today...

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Release Date:

18 July 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Svetla Njujorka See more »


Box Office


$75,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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