After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
The scene is a parlor out West, with Ray Mayer sitting at the piano in is cowboy duds - hat, scarf, and chaps. He plays a little barrel-house music and then introduces Edith Evans, who ... See full summary »
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
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 »
Fascinating and amusingly bad, Lights of New York is the first all talkie feature and one that almost never saw the light of day.
Two naive barbers (Eddie and Gene) from out of town get involved with bootleggers and end up fronting a speak. When a cop is shot by one of the bootleggers the police start to close in, and the Hawk (who shot the officer) decides to pin the murder on Eddie instructing his henchman to "take him for a ride". But it's the Hawk himself who takes the bullet in a twist that will surprise few.
Shot in one week at a cost of $23,000, "Lights" was originally meant as a two reeler but Foy took advantage of Jack Warner's absence to extend it to six. When Warner discovered this he ordered Foy to cut it back to the original short. Only when an independent exhibitor offered $25k for the film, did Warners actually look at the film, which went on to make a staggering $1.3 million.
Seen now this is an extremely hokey piece, with acting that ranges from the passable (Eugene Pallette) to trance like (Eddie's Granny in a particularly risible scene) and much of the playing is at the level of vaudeville. Since it's an early talkie (4 part-talkies preceded it) that's about all the characters do, and very slowly at that. The script feels improvised, visual style is non existent (apart from the shooting scene done in silhouette) and scenes grind on interminably. Title cards are intercut which redundantly announce characters and locales.
Despite all this "Lights" is a compelling experience, as we watch actors and crew struggling with the alien technology, and changing cinema for ever.
Catch it if you can
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