DVDless Dvorak Films, Part 6: Bright Lights

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 24

So, I am on a road trip with the family the week which is why the posts have been kind of one note lately. It’s easier for me to make sure I stick to my post-a-day commitment when I don’t have to think too hard to be clever. I hope you have been enjoying, or a least tolerating these DVDless posts, because there are going to be a few more until I get home next week!

Today’s DVDless title is the 1935 romantic comedy Bright Lights starring Joe E. Brown and directed by Busby Berkeley. When Ann was on her whirl wind honeymoon in 1932/33, she missed out on the potential opportunity to appear in one of the many popular musicals featuring over-the-top Berkeley choreographed numbers that were a big hit with Depression-era audiences. With Bright Lights, she didn’t get to float in water with a neon violin while the camera travels through her legs, but at least she got to work with Busby Berkeley who had actually choreographed her dance moves in Sky Devils.

Bright Lights also gave Ann also the opportunity to play straight woman to Joe E. Brown in this light film about a husband/wife vaudeville team whose marital bliss is threatened by his success on Broadway and a saucy runaway heiress (Patricia Ellis). I think Brown’s schtick can wear thin at times and the movie is most watchable when he and Dvorak are onscreen. Their scenes together seem effortless and they make a more believable couple than most of Dvorak’s onscreen pairings. Bright Lights may be a slight film, but it’s fun and I have always had a soft spot for it.

Likelihood of an official DVD release: It’s a 1935 Warner Bros. title, so it’s as likely a release as Dr. Socrates is from the Warner Archive if the rights are there.


  1. artman2112 January 24, 2013

    i’m a big fan of bright lights! its my fave Joe E Brown film tho i agree he can wear thin at times. i find him much more enjoyable in this than when he does what i call his “Arrogant Okey” schtick like in his baseball trilogy films. i must disagree with you tho, i think the film is most watchable when patricia ellis puts on that black dress 😀

    (which she is wearing in my blog header btw)

    incidentally the only Ann Dvorak item i have in this house right now is a still of her and Joe from this film 🙁

  2. DickP January 24, 2013

    This is a movie that I enjoyed – I guess that shows you where my mental status fits in.. It’s Joe E. Brown at his best (as wild as that is!); and Ann plays right along with him. The somewhat sad scene near the end of the film (letter reading) I think Ann does this part very, very well. In any event, it’s a nice, watchable flick..If you get a chance to see it I think you’ll enjoy it!

  3. admin January 24, 2013

    The scene where Brown tells the little mouse story is really hard to get through, but luckily that type of schtick is minimal in this one!

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