New York Nights

New York Nights is a 1929 American pre-Code crime film, directed by Lewis Milestone, and based on the 1928 play Tin Pan Alley by Hugh Stanislaus Stange.[2] The film is known for being leading actress Norma Talmadge's first sound film.

New York Nights
Theatrical poster
Directed byLewis Milestone
Produced byJoseph M. Schenck
Norma Talmadge
Written byPlay:
Hugh Stanislaus Stange
Jules Furthman
StarringNorma Talmadge
CinematographyRay June
Edited byHal C. Kern
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
December 28, 1929 (1929-12-28)
Running time
81 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States


Jill Deverne is a chorus girl married to alcoholic composer Fred. She wants to show Fred's latest song, A Year From Today, to racketeer Joe Prividi. Prividi is the producer of the musical show in which she is working, and agrees to use his song. Fred, however, refuses any favors and rejects Prividi's offer. When Prividi uses the song anyway, Fred and his friend Johnny Dolan become drunk and show up at a nightclub.

In a raid, the police discover Fred with chorus girl Ruthie. Jill is disgusted with his behavior and dumps him. She is soon courted by Prividi, who is very overprotective. At a private party, a gambler forces himself on her and is shot by Prividi. Prividi is arrested and sent to jail. Jill does not want to be left behind, and plans a future with Fred. Prividi becomes jealous and sends gunmen to shoot and kill Fred. He is eventually stopped and put in jail, while Jill and Fred ride off in a train to start a new life.


"A Year From Today", the song featured in the film, was composed by Al Jolson, Dave Dreyer, and Ballard McDonald. It was sung in four different styles in the movie.



The film was highly publicized as Talmadge's first talkie. The film, however, received generally negative reviews. Variety praised Talmadge's acting, but called the film a "stiff test" for her. Photoplay wrote that her fans would not be disappointed with her voice, but stated the story was "full of hokum".[3]


  1. Turner Classic Movies Original Print Information for New York Nights (1929)
  2. Turner Classic Movies Screenplay Info for New York Nights (1929)
  3. The Norma Talmadge Website Review from Variety and Photoplay

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