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Lights of Old Broadway is a 1925 American silent drama film directed by Monta Bell, produced by William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Productions, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film stars Marion Davies and Conrad Nagel, and is an adaptation of the play The Merry Wives of Gotham by Laurence Eyre (USA). The film has color sequences using tinting, Technicolor, and the Handschiegl color process.[1][2]

Lights of Old Broadway
Theatrical poster
Directed byMonta Bell
Written byCarey Wilson (adaptation & scenario)
Joseph Farnham (intertitles)
Based onThe Merry Wives of Gotham
by Laurence Eyre
Produced byCosmopolitan Productions
StarringMarion Davies
Conrad Nagel
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
Edited byBlanche Sewell
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 1925 (1925-11)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

The play was produced on Broadway at Henry Miller's Theatre from January 16, 1924 to April 1924. Davies' role was played on the stage by actress Mary Ellis.[3]


Lights of Old Broadway film still.
Lights of Old Broadway film still.
Advertisement from Motion Picture News, 1925
Advertisement from Motion Picture News, 1925

Marion Davies plays twins separated at birth: Anne becomes a society girl in New York and Fely becomes an Irish poor girl turning to the musical world. Dirk (Conrad Nagel), Anne's half brother, falls in love with the poor sister, with the added inconvenience that Anne's family owns the slum in which the Irish families live. A subplot involves the coming of electricity to New York City.



In her 21st film, Marion Davies starred as twins separated at birth. The dark-haired girl is brought up in a wealthy home, while the blonde is brought up in the tenement slums and becomes a musical-comedy star. This MGM production saw Davies in the first of three teamings with Conrad Nagel and was also the first Davies production in which Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg became involved. This was the first Davies film to use 2-strip Technicolor (which survives). The finale also includes the same hand-coloring technique (Handschiegl) that had been used in When Knighthood Was in Flower. The film was a big hit and resulted in a long-term contract with MGM.[4]


Prints of Lights of Old Broadway are preserved at the Library of Congress and UCLA Film and Television Archive.[5]

See also


  1. Layton, James; Pierce, David (February 24, 2015). The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935. Rochester, New York: George Eastman House. p. 127. ISBN 978-0935398281.
  2. Progressive Silent Film List: Lights of Old Broadway at
  3. Lights of Old Broadway as produced on Broadway at Henry Miller's Theatre January 16, 1924-April 1924;
  4. Lorusso, Edward (2017) The Silent Films of Marion Davies, CreateSpace, pp. 113-115. ISBN 978-1-5472-4795-0
  5. The Library of Congress / FIAF American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Lights of Old Broadway

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