Castro Theatre Sat, May 4, 2019 10:00 AM
Film Info
Director:Monta Bell
Cast:Marion Davies
Conrad Nagel
Frank Currier
Total Run Time:73 min.


Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli
A showcase of the comedy talents of Marion Davies, her first film released under a new MGM contract has her playing twins separated at birth. Anne becomes a button-down lady in New York’s refined society, and Fely, raised in an Irish slum, takes to the stage in the rowdy music halls of the Lower East Side. A lighthearted look at the great divide between Episcopalian haves and the immigrant Irish have-nots, Lights of Old Broadway warmly recalls the city’s vaudeville days in lovely red-and-green Technicolor sequences at Tony Pastor’s on 14th Street and that night in 1880 when Charles F. Brush illuminated Broadway with his electric arc-light system. Other historical “cameos” include Thomas Edison, tap-dancing youngsters Weber and Fields, and a buck-toothed Teddy Roosevelt in short pants. Most reviewers at the time agreed the film was worth it just for the nostalgia trip: “Monta Bell stacks up another one to his credit,” wrote Film Daily about the director’s only outing with star Davies. “It can be depended upon to charm audiences wherever it is shown.”

Preserved by the Library of Congress


Introduction by Lara Gabrielle Fowler

Additional Information

Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli

Philip Carli brings both prodigious musical talent and a committed scholarly outlook to his lifelong passion for the music and culture of the turn of the last century. He discovered silent film at the age of five and began his accompaniment career at thirteen, with a performance for Lon Chaney’s 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While at college he programmed and accompanied an annual series of silent films, and also organized and conducted a 50-piece student orchestra using 19th-century performance practice. Since then, he has continued his studies of the film, music and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, earning a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. He has at the same time toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe, performing on keyboard and with orchestra at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Berlin International Film Festival. He is the staff accompanist for the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and performs annually at several film festivals in the United States as well as at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy.