5.6/10
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Bright Lights (1930)

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

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Humphrey Pearson (screen version & dialogue), Henry McCarty (screen version & dialogue)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Mackaill ... Louanne
Frank Fay ... Wally Dean
Noah Beery ... Miguel Parada
Daphne Pollard ... Mame Avery
James Murray ... Connie Lamont
Tom Dugan ... Tom Avery
Inez Courtney ... Peggy North
Frank McHugh ... A. Hamilton Fish, a reporter
Edmund Breese ... Harris
Edward J. Nugent ... 'Windy' Jones (as Eddie Nugent)
Philip Strange Philip Strange ... Emerson Fairchild
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Storyline

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 frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adventures in Africa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Apparatus) (Vitaphone)

Color:

Black and White (TV prints)| Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Soundtracks

I'm Sittin' Pretty
(uncredited)
Sung by Daphne Pollard in the show
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More than meets the eye....
23 January 2015 | by humbugmswSee all my reviews

I watched "Bright Lights" (1930) for the first time on TCM last night and felt that it would've been better if we could see it like it originally was presented.

First of all, I wish the film could be reconstructed. It seems disjointed in places because the movie was truncated between the time it was filmed and the time it was released. It's obvious that a few songs are missing. The part played by James Murray seems to have suffered the most. He was wonderful in King Vidor's "The Crowd" (1928). I knew of his tragic early death, but wondered if he truly showed promise, or was a one-time flash-in-the pan. His acting ability in this talkie was pretty good. His potential in sound movies can only be conjectured.

The screenplay was strong for the time, with witty lines and novel dramatic situations. There were unexplained holes in the plot, seemingly because of the cuts, not the screenplay. The dialog and gags delivered by Daphne Pollard and Tom Dugan were unexpected. Frank Fay's performance is likely the best he ever did on the screen. His delivery of the song, "Nobody Cares" is excellent. However, Dorothy Mackaill's singing and dancing are weak, to say the least.

The film stands out from other films of the time because of director Michael Curtiz and cinematographer Lee Garmes. Some shots are set up creatively. The visual pacing is above average for the time. There obviously was care and preparation used in making this film.

Now to the point of Technicolor. I think to film would make a much stronger impression on us if we could see it in the original color. The seemingly harsh make-up would have been more palatable in color. The costumes and musical numbers were obviously designed with color in mind. As we see it now, in mere black-and-white, the numbers pass in a blur of overblown activity. They are unquestionably over-done, probably to take the focus off Dorothy Mackaill's limited singing and dancing, but would be more impressive if we could see them in color.

It is unfair to judge "Bright Lights" as it exists today. We can only dream of what it originally was like. Only then it would seem better than we had originally thought!


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