Bright Eyes (1934 film)

Bright Eyes is a 1934 American comedy drama film directed by David Butler. The screenplay by William Conselman is based on a story by David Butler and Edwin J. Burke.

Bright Eyes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Butler
Produced bySol M. Wurtzel
Written byDavid Butler
Edwin J. Burke
Screenplay byWilliam Conselman
Henry Johnson
StarringShirley Temple
James Dunn
Music byRichard A. Whiting
Samuel Kaylin
CinematographyArthur Miller
Distributed byFox Film
Release date
  • December 28, 1934 (1934-12-28)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States


6 year-old Shirley Blake (Shirley Temple) and her mother, Mary (Lois Wilson), a maid, live in the home of her employers, the rich and mean-spirited Smythe family, Anita (Dorothy Christy), J. Wellington (Theodore von Eltz), and Joy (Jane Withers). After Christmas morning she hitches a ride to the airport. The aviators bring her aboard an airplane and taxi her around the runways, where she serenades them with her rendition of On the Good Ship Lollipop

Mary is killed in a traffic accident. When Loop, one of the pilots and Shirley's Godfather, hears about this he takes Shirley up in an airplane, explains that she is in Heaven, and that her mother is also there. When the Smythes learn of Mary's death they make plans to send Shirley to an orphanage. In order to raise attorney fees, Loop reluctantly accepts a lucrative contract to deliver an item by plane, cross-country to New York during a dangerous storm. Unbeknown to him, little Shirley had left the Smythes' home, found his airplane at the airport, and stowed away inside. When their plane loses control in the storm in the wilderness, they parachute to ground together and are eventually rescued safely. The impasse over custody is resolved when Loop, his former fiancée, Adele (Judith Allen), Uncle Ned, and Shirley all decide to live together.


  • Shirley Temple as Shirley Blake, a 6-year-old girl who is a daughter of Mary Blake
  • James Dunn as James "Loop" Merritt, a 33-year-old man who is a bachelor pilot and Shirley's godfather
  • Lois Wilson as Mary Blake, a 40-year-old woman who is a widow, Shirley's mother, and a maid in the Smythe family's home
  • Judith Allen as Adele Martin, a socialite, Loop's estranged fiancée
  • Charles Sellon as Uncle Ned Smith, the Smythes' cranky patriarch
  • Theodor von Eltz as J. Wellington Smythe, a 41-year-old man who is a haughty nouveau-riche
  • Dorothy Christy as Anita Smythe, a 28-year-old woman who is Smythe's wife
  • Jane Withers as Joy Smythe, a 8-year-old girl who is J. Wellington and Anita's spoiled and obnoxious seven-year-old daughter
  • Brandon Hurst as Higgins, the Smythes' butler
  • Jane Darwell as Elizabeth Higgins, the Smythes' cook
  • Walter Johnson as Thomas, the Smythes' chauffeur
  • George Irving as Judge Thompson
  • Terry (dog) as Rags, Loop's dog


James Dunn and Temple in a publicity photo for Bright Eyes

American Airlines and the Douglas Aircraft Company, recognizing the potential of the film in advertising air travel, cooperated in the production and distribution. They provided a DC-2, designated "A-74", aircraft for the exterior shots while a true to scale mock up was provided for the interior scenes. A 12-passenger Curtiss T-32 Condor II transport biplane, designated "Condor 151", in early American Airlines (and Air Mail) livery also features in prominent scenes. In the famous Good Ship Lollipop scene, members of the University of Southern California football team served as extras. In the second flying scene where Temple's character sneaks aboard the plane and they were forced to bail out of it, both Temple and Dunn were strapped into a harness hoisted up into the studio rafters. They were supposed to drift down with the aid of a wind machine. In the first take, someone inadvertently opened an airproof door just as they landed, creating a vacuum that sucked out the parachute and dragged them both across the studio floor. Marilyn Granas served as a stand-in for Temple as she had for her previous movies. She would later be replaced by Mary Lou Isleib who would remain as Temple's stand-in for the rest of her tenure at 20th Century Fox.[2]


Press photo of Dunn and Judith Allen

Awards and honorsEdit

Temple received a miniature Oscar on February 27, 1935 for her contributions to film entertainment in 1934, chiefly for Little Miss Marker and Bright Eyes. She was the first child actor to receive an Academy Award.[3][4]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Windeler 1992, p. 26
  2. ^ Black, Shirley Temple (October 1, 1988). Child Star: An Autobiography. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 66-71. ISBN 978-0-0700-5532-2.
  3. ^ Edwards 1988, p. 80
  4. ^ Windeler 1992, p. 27
  5. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
Works cited

External linksEdit