Bright Lights


1h 23m 1935
Bright Lights

Brief Synopsis

Husband-and-wife vaudeville stars separate when success goes to his head.

Film Details

Also Known As
Broadway Joe
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Aug 31, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Joe and Fay Wilson, a husband and wife burlesque team, are the stars of Oscar Schlemmer's revue as it tours the provinces. In Ithaca, where the troupe is performing, Oscar takes pity on Claire Whitmore, who claims she is broke, and gives her a job in the chorus. Dan Wheeler, a press agent, recognizes Claire as a runaway heiress and offers her a job on Broadway with J. C. Anderson's Frolics, figuring it will be great publicity. He also hires Joe and Fay. When Anderson wants to replace Fay with Claire, Joe at first refuses to perform without her, but Fay convinces him that she has always wanted to stay home and just be a wife. She soon regrets her decision, however, when she finds Joe's time monopolized by Claire. When Joe fails to come home after the opening of the show because he is celebrating with the rest of the troupe, Fay decides to return to her job with Oscar. Soon Joe and Claire are seen everywhere around town together. The gossip columns link their names and Joe starts to believe that he has fallen in love with Claire. He writes a letter to Fay, telling her about his feelings, then learns that Claire and Dan are in love and Claire's attentions to him have only been a publicity stunt. He races after the letter, trying to retrieve it from the post office, and when he learns it has been sent airmail, he takes the next plane to Ohio, hoping to get to Fay before the letter. He is not quite fast enough, though. Fay gets the letter and reads it. Heartbroken, she goes on to do her number. Joe arrives while she is on stage and cannot resist joining her in their old routine. Afterward, Fay pretends that she didn't have time to read the letter and Joe reads it out loud, changing the words to declare his love for her.

Film Details

Also Known As
Broadway Joe
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Aug 31, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Bright Lights (1935) - Bright Lights


Originally titled What New York Wants, this atypical Busby Berkeley musical could have been called What Joe E. Brown Wants. The famous funnyman with the gargantuan grin had been bugging Warner Bros. for years to do a movie where he could perform all the stage buffoonery that had made him famous on Broadway in the 1920s. Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, the writing team who also worked on Duck Soup (1933), came up with a story that could do just that: Joe and Fay (Ann Dvorak) are married vaudeville performers who get mixed up in shenanigans involving a madcap heiress (Patricia Ellis), mistaken affections, and lots of clowning around. This is an unusual Berkeley movie in that there's no big musical numbers, just Brown showing the physical comedy and acrobatics he does best, a skill set that's not so surprising when reflecting on how the athletically gifted comedian had briefly played semi-pro baseball. Brown is most well known to modern audiences for putting the cherry on top of Some Like It Hot (1959) with his famous last line "Nobody's perfect", but this movie reminds audiences what a marvelous, charismatic multi-talent he was before then.

By Violet LeVoit
Bright Lights (1935) - Bright Lights

Bright Lights (1935) - Bright Lights

Originally titled What New York Wants, this atypical Busby Berkeley musical could have been called What Joe E. Brown Wants. The famous funnyman with the gargantuan grin had been bugging Warner Bros. for years to do a movie where he could perform all the stage buffoonery that had made him famous on Broadway in the 1920s. Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, the writing team who also worked on Duck Soup (1933), came up with a story that could do just that: Joe and Fay (Ann Dvorak) are married vaudeville performers who get mixed up in shenanigans involving a madcap heiress (Patricia Ellis), mistaken affections, and lots of clowning around. This is an unusual Berkeley movie in that there's no big musical numbers, just Brown showing the physical comedy and acrobatics he does best, a skill set that's not so surprising when reflecting on how the athletically gifted comedian had briefly played semi-pro baseball. Brown is most well known to modern audiences for putting the cherry on top of Some Like It Hot (1959) with his famous last line "Nobody's perfect", but this movie reminds audiences what a marvelous, charismatic multi-talent he was before then. By Violet LeVoit

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's working title was Broadway Joe.