Music in the Air (1934)

81 or 85 mins | Musical comedy | 7 December 1934

Director:

Joe May

Cinematographer:

Ernest Palmer

Production Designer:

William Darling

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

This film marked the screen debut of Al Shean, who had appeared in the Broadway cast of the operetta Music in the Air . The picture was the first Hollywood film of German director Joe May. It was also the first film Billy Wilder (who spelled his first name Billie at the time) worked on in the United States, although two earlier Hollywood films were based on German films that he had written. According to a HR news item, Columbia had intended to produce a screen version of the operetta in 1933. HR news items also reported that Fox borrowed Irene Dunne from RKO in late Jun 1934 for the lead opposite John Boles, and that the studio considered Nelson Eddy and Phillips Holmes for roles in the picture. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Fox originally intended to produce the film in English, French and German with Dr. Ludwig Berger as the director. According to an 8 Dec 1933 HR news item, Fox intended to make the picture in France. Producer Erich Pommer, who was in charge of European production for Fox, came to Hollywood when the project was relocated there, and it was his first picture in the United States since 1927. For more information about Pommer, please see above entry for Liliom . The legal records also note that Walter Reisch was contracted to provide an adaptation and continuity of Music in the Air , but his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed.
       According to the legal records, ... More Less

This film marked the screen debut of Al Shean, who had appeared in the Broadway cast of the operetta Music in the Air . The picture was the first Hollywood film of German director Joe May. It was also the first film Billy Wilder (who spelled his first name Billie at the time) worked on in the United States, although two earlier Hollywood films were based on German films that he had written. According to a HR news item, Columbia had intended to produce a screen version of the operetta in 1933. HR news items also reported that Fox borrowed Irene Dunne from RKO in late Jun 1934 for the lead opposite John Boles, and that the studio considered Nelson Eddy and Phillips Holmes for roles in the picture. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Fox originally intended to produce the film in English, French and German with Dr. Ludwig Berger as the director. According to an 8 Dec 1933 HR news item, Fox intended to make the picture in France. Producer Erich Pommer, who was in charge of European production for Fox, came to Hollywood when the project was relocated there, and it was his first picture in the United States since 1927. For more information about Pommer, please see above entry for Liliom . The legal records also note that Walter Reisch was contracted to provide an adaptation and continuity of Music in the Air , but his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed.
       According to the legal records, Twentieth Century-Fox considered remaking the picture in 1943 as a starring vehicle for Sonia Henie, and again in 1959 with Elvis Presley as the star. Neither of these films were made, however. According to Swanson's autobiography, Fox built a Bavarian village and reproductions of the Munich zoological garden and opera house on their lot. She also states that Fox hired Dr. Marifiotti, Enrico Caruso's voice coach, to help her prepare for the film. Swanson did not make another picture until the 1941 RKO production Father Takes a Wife , which co-starred Adolphe Menjou. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29-Dec-34
---
Daily Variety
24 Jul 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
22 Oct 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Dec 34
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 33
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 34
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Dec 34
p. 35.
New York Times
14 Dec 34
p. 29.
Variety
18 Dec 34
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Erich Pommer Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Dir
WRITERS
Contr to trmt and dial
Contr to trmt and dial
Contr to dial
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus adpt
DANCE
Dances
STAND INS
Voice double for Douglass Montgomery
Voice double for June Lang
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the operetta Music in the Air , music by Jerome Kern, lyrics and libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II (New York, 8 Nov 1932).
SONGS
"I've Told Ev'ry Little Star," "I Am So Eager," "There's a Hill Beyond a Hill," "One More Dance" and "We Belong Together," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 December 1934
Production Date:
24 July--15 September 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 November 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5145
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81 or 85
Length(in feet):
7,474
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
419
SYNOPSIS

In the Bavarian mountains, schoolteacher Karl Roder is in love with pretty Sieglinde and writes songs with her father, Dr. Walter Lessing. At a town festival, Karl and Walter introduce their new song, which goes over so well with the townsfolk that they give Walter the village funds with which to go to Munich. They hope that Walter will be able to reunite with his old friend, Ernst Weber, now a famous agent and music publisher, and interest Ernst in publishing the song. Karl also goes to Munich with his mountain climbing group, and when he arrives, he goes to Ernst's office, where he meets Frieda Hotzfelt, an opera prima donna, and Bruno Mahler, a libretto writer. Frieda and Bruno enjoy a jealous, volatile relationship, and when Karl arrives, they have just had a fight about whether Frieda will sing in Bruno's new opera. Frieda is taken with handsome Karl, as Bruno is with Sieglinde when she and her father arrive. Ernst agrees to put Walter and Karl's song in the new show, and that afternoon, Bruno and Frieda woo their respective naïve victims. After Bruno and Frieda fight again, Freida refuses to sing in the show then tries to convince Karl to run away with her to Venice. Tired of Frieda's confusing sophistication, Karl sneaks out of her hotel room to find Sieglinde, who tells him that Bruno has arranged for her to take Frieda's place as the opera's prima donna. Karl tries to convince her that Munich is no place for simple folk like them, but Sieglinde assumes that he is disparaging her talent and refuses to leave with him. Weeks ... +


In the Bavarian mountains, schoolteacher Karl Roder is in love with pretty Sieglinde and writes songs with her father, Dr. Walter Lessing. At a town festival, Karl and Walter introduce their new song, which goes over so well with the townsfolk that they give Walter the village funds with which to go to Munich. They hope that Walter will be able to reunite with his old friend, Ernst Weber, now a famous agent and music publisher, and interest Ernst in publishing the song. Karl also goes to Munich with his mountain climbing group, and when he arrives, he goes to Ernst's office, where he meets Frieda Hotzfelt, an opera prima donna, and Bruno Mahler, a libretto writer. Frieda and Bruno enjoy a jealous, volatile relationship, and when Karl arrives, they have just had a fight about whether Frieda will sing in Bruno's new opera. Frieda is taken with handsome Karl, as Bruno is with Sieglinde when she and her father arrive. Ernst agrees to put Walter and Karl's song in the new show, and that afternoon, Bruno and Frieda woo their respective naïve victims. After Bruno and Frieda fight again, Freida refuses to sing in the show then tries to convince Karl to run away with her to Venice. Tired of Frieda's confusing sophistication, Karl sneaks out of her hotel room to find Sieglinde, who tells him that Bruno has arranged for her to take Frieda's place as the opera's prima donna. Karl tries to convince her that Munich is no place for simple folk like them, but Sieglinde assumes that he is disparaging her talent and refuses to leave with him. Weeks later, at a dress rehearsal of the opera, Ernst, Bruno, the conductor, Hans Uppmann, and Kirschner, the director, agree that Sieglinde is simply awful in the role and must be replaced by Frieda, who has secretly been rehearsing with Hans. Karl, who has come back to Munich after missing Sieglinde to the point of distraction, overhears their decision and tries to warn her, but she refuses to believe him and tells him to leave. She is crushed when Hans tells her that she lacks the necessary experience and style, and Walter, too, is severely disappointed when Hans says that, even though Walter's song may remain in the opera, his orchestration will be replaced. They return to their village full of sorrow and shame, but later, when the opera's opening night is broadcast on the radio, the entire village celebrates when they hear Walter's song. Ernst confirms that the song is a big hit, and both couples happily reunite. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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