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HISTORY

The 23 Oct 1929 Var announced Bright Lights as a forthcoming “all-talker” release from First National Pictures, Inc., starring Dorothy Mackaill and Frank Fay. At that time, Lloyd Bacon was named as the director, and Loretta Young, Nora Lane, William Austin, and Anthony Bushell were listed in the cast. However, except for Mackaill and Fay, none of these persons remained with the project. Music and lyrics for the musical were credited to Humphrey Pearson and Herman Ruby. Pearson would later be given story writing credits, while Ruby did not continue with the production. The 13 Nov 1929 Var stated that Grant Clarke and Harry Akst were hired to write the score, and the 27 Nov 1929 issue named Michael Curtiz as the director.
       According to the 9 Dec 1929 FD, Sidney Hickox was set to serve as a cameraman on the picture, with production set to begin soon at First National Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The 18 Dec 1929 Var reported that Mackaill had been “elevated from feature to star” and Fay would now be billed as a supporting player, instead of as her co-star.
       On 23 Dec 1929, FD announced that the musical was going to be filmed in all color using Technicolor. Conflicting news items in FD and Exhibitors Herald-World listed the start date as somewhere between mid-Dec 1929 and early Jan 1930.
       An item in the 7 Jan 1930 FD reported that Larry Ceballos had been hired to direct dance numbers in the film. The 13 Jan 1930 issue and the 15 Jan 1930 Var added ... More Less

The 23 Oct 1929 Var announced Bright Lights as a forthcoming “all-talker” release from First National Pictures, Inc., starring Dorothy Mackaill and Frank Fay. At that time, Lloyd Bacon was named as the director, and Loretta Young, Nora Lane, William Austin, and Anthony Bushell were listed in the cast. However, except for Mackaill and Fay, none of these persons remained with the project. Music and lyrics for the musical were credited to Humphrey Pearson and Herman Ruby. Pearson would later be given story writing credits, while Ruby did not continue with the production. The 13 Nov 1929 Var stated that Grant Clarke and Harry Akst were hired to write the score, and the 27 Nov 1929 issue named Michael Curtiz as the director.
       According to the 9 Dec 1929 FD, Sidney Hickox was set to serve as a cameraman on the picture, with production set to begin soon at First National Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The 18 Dec 1929 Var reported that Mackaill had been “elevated from feature to star” and Fay would now be billed as a supporting player, instead of as her co-star.
       On 23 Dec 1929, FD announced that the musical was going to be filmed in all color using Technicolor. Conflicting news items in FD and Exhibitors Herald-World listed the start date as somewhere between mid-Dec 1929 and early Jan 1930.
       An item in the 7 Jan 1930 FD reported that Larry Ceballos had been hired to direct dance numbers in the film. The 13 Jan 1930 issue and the 15 Jan 1930 Var added Kewpie Love, Peter C. Richmond, and William Irving to the cast. C. Edgar Schoenbaum performed Technicolor photography on Bright Lights, as stated in the 26 Jan 1930 FD.
       The 12 Feb 1930 FD announced that Frank Fay had completed work on the feature. Ten days later, the 22 Feb 1930 Motion Picture News indicated that Mackaill had recently finished principal photography as well.
       According to the 25 Jan 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World, Mackaill was slated to sing three songs in the picture including: “Every Little Girl He Sees,” “On A Rubberneck Wagon,” and “The Play Must Still Go On.” The 9 Aug 1930 issue praised the film’s theme song, “Nobody Cares If I’m Blue,” and credited the number to Clarke and Akst.
       On 25 Jun 1930, Var reported that First National planned to release Bright Lights as a road show. The 2 Jul 1930 Var announced a 4 Jul 1930 premiere at the Warner Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Soon after, the picture continued opening at several theaters in Los Angeles and in select cities nationally. The New York City opening did not occur until early Feb 1931 at the Warner Theatre, according to the 28 Jan 1931 Var.
       The 5 Jul 1930 Motion Picture News review deemed Bright Lights “a fine piece of program entertainment,” despite a familiar “backstage” story, and the cast was praised as “high caliber.”
       The 27 Aug 1930 Var reported that writer Margaret Drennen had filed a $25,000 copyright infringement lawsuit against Bright Lights filmmakers, claiming that her original story was the basis for the film. The outcome was undetermined. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald-World
28 Dec 1929
p. 44, 45.
Exhibitors Herald-World
25 Jan 1930
p. 57.
Exhibitors Herald-World
9 Aug 1930
p. 53.
Film Daily
9 Dec 1929
p. 12.
Film Daily
10 Dec 1929
p. 9.
Film Daily
23 Dec 1929
p. 4.
Film Daily
7 Jan 1930
p. 8.
Film Daily
13 Jan 1930
p. 7.
Film Daily
26 Jan 1930
p. 11.
Film Daily
12 Feb 1930
p. 11.
Film Daily
15 Feb 1931
p. 10.
Motion Picture News
22 Feb 1930
p. 27.
Motion Picture News
12 Jul 1930
p. 26.
Motion Picture News
5 Jul 1930
p. 42.
New York Times
10 Feb 1931
p. 24.
Reading Eagle
21 Sep 1930
p. 18.
Variety
23 Oct 1929
p. 14.
Variety
13 Nov 1929
p. 72.
Variety
27 Nov 1929
p. 28.
Variety
18 Dec 1929
p. 6.
Variety
15 Jan 1930
p. 32.
Variety
25 Jun 1930
p. 18.
Variety
2 Jul 1930
p. 39.
Variety
27 Aug 1930
p. 79.
Variety
28 Jan 1931
p. 21.
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1930
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 4 July 1930
New York opening: early February 1931
Production Date:
began December 1929 or early January 1930
ended mid February 1930
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 September 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1575
Physical Properties:
Sound
Vitaphone
Color
Technicolor
Length(in feet):
6,416
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Louanne, star of a Broadway revue, announces her engagement to Emerson Fairchild, a group of reporters come to interview her on the last night of the show. She tells of her childhood on an English farm and how she became a cafe hula dancer in the Kohinoor in Africa, where Wally Dean became her friend and protector, saving her from the attack of Miguel Parada, a Portuguese smuggler. She recalls that while touring with a small-time carnival, Wally protected her from the rubes as he still does. Miguel, recognizing Louanne, comes backstage, and Wally asks his friend Connie Lamont to keep him in the dressing room, where, in a struggle for a gun, Lamont shoots Miguel. The police chief finds Wally and Louanne innocent, and while trying to convince him that Miguel committed suicide to save Connie, Wally admits his love for her. A drunken reporter confirms his story, and no charge is filed. Louanne breaks her engagement to Emerson and is united with ... +


When Louanne, star of a Broadway revue, announces her engagement to Emerson Fairchild, a group of reporters come to interview her on the last night of the show. She tells of her childhood on an English farm and how she became a cafe hula dancer in the Kohinoor in Africa, where Wally Dean became her friend and protector, saving her from the attack of Miguel Parada, a Portuguese smuggler. She recalls that while touring with a small-time carnival, Wally protected her from the rubes as he still does. Miguel, recognizing Louanne, comes backstage, and Wally asks his friend Connie Lamont to keep him in the dressing room, where, in a struggle for a gun, Lamont shoots Miguel. The police chief finds Wally and Louanne innocent, and while trying to convince him that Miguel committed suicide to save Connie, Wally admits his love for her. A drunken reporter confirms his story, and no charge is filed. Louanne breaks her engagement to Emerson and is united with Wally. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.