The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)

78 or 88 mins | Comedy-drama, Musical | 16 February 1934

Producer:

Bernard H. Hyman

Cinematographers:

Charles G. Clarke, Harold Rosson

Editor:

Frank E. Hull

Production Designer:

Alexander Toluboff

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The final musical sequence of this film was shot in three-strip Technicolor. For more information on this process, see above entry for Becky Sharp . According to a 21 Aug 1933 HR news item, James K. McGuinness was hired to write the screenplay for the film. A 1 Sep 1933 HR news item announced that Anita Loos was hired to rewrite the script because studio executives and Jeanette MacDonald became dissatisfied with the original script after a few days of shooting. By mid-Sep 1933, Zelda Sears and Eve Greene were brought in to work on the script, according to HR . The exact nature of these writers' contributions to the final film is not known. According to a 18 Nov 1933 DV news item, retakes, which were directed by Howard, were ordered to give the picture a new ending. Six weeks later, additional retakes of the ending were shot and were directed by Sam Wood and supervised by Bernard Hyman, according to DV .
       An early Jan 1934 HR news item states that Ramon Novarro and Jeanette MacDonald were to film a "special musical number" in French to accompany the dubbed French release print. M. Farrell is credited in M-G-M music files as instructing the chorus in the singing of the French lyrics. DV reported that M-G-M had budgeted $135,000 for retakes and the filming of the French version. The second round of retakes were completed by mid-Jan 1934. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" announced that Vivienne Segal was to sing "If You're ... More Less

The final musical sequence of this film was shot in three-strip Technicolor. For more information on this process, see above entry for Becky Sharp . According to a 21 Aug 1933 HR news item, James K. McGuinness was hired to write the screenplay for the film. A 1 Sep 1933 HR news item announced that Anita Loos was hired to rewrite the script because studio executives and Jeanette MacDonald became dissatisfied with the original script after a few days of shooting. By mid-Sep 1933, Zelda Sears and Eve Greene were brought in to work on the script, according to HR . The exact nature of these writers' contributions to the final film is not known. According to a 18 Nov 1933 DV news item, retakes, which were directed by Howard, were ordered to give the picture a new ending. Six weeks later, additional retakes of the ending were shot and were directed by Sam Wood and supervised by Bernard Hyman, according to DV .
       An early Jan 1934 HR news item states that Ramon Novarro and Jeanette MacDonald were to film a "special musical number" in French to accompany the dubbed French release print. M. Farrell is credited in M-G-M music files as instructing the chorus in the singing of the French lyrics. DV reported that M-G-M had budgeted $135,000 for retakes and the filming of the French version. The second round of retakes were completed by mid-Jan 1934. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" announced that Vivienne Segal was to sing "If You're for Me" as her "big single number," but this song was not included in the viewed print. All of the songs from the stage musical were included in the film, although in some cases only part of the song is heard, or in the case of "Poor Pierrot" and "One Moment Alone," the lyrics were re-written. Jerome Kern re-used "Don't Ask Me Not to Sing" in his 1933 stage musical Roberta . Modern sources claim that, prior to casting her in The Cat and the Fiddle , Louis B. Mayer wanted I Married an Angel as the first film of MacDonald's new contract with M-G-M. Because of strong disapproval from the Hays Office, however, the project was abandoned until 1942, when it became the last film that MacDonald and Nelson Eddy appeared in together. According to files in the MPPA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, The Cat and the Fiddle was rejected for re-issue certification by the Hays Office in 1937 because the "two sympathetic leads" engage in an "illicit sex relationship without compensating moral values." According to modern sources, MacDonald's costume in the finale was designed for and used by Joan Crawford in the "Let's Go Bavarian" number in M-G-M's 1933 film Dancing Lady . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Nov 33
p. 3.
Daily Variety
4 Jan 34
p. 16.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Feb 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Jan 34
p. 4.
Film Daily
14 Feb 34
p. 7.
HF
2 Sep 33
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 34
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 34
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
15 Feb 34
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Feb 34
p. 38.
New York Times
17 Feb 34
p. 20.
Variety
20 Feb 34
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A William K. Howard Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir of retakes
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Technicolor photog
ART DIRECTORS
Technicolor art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec dir
Mixer
STAND INS
Stand-in for Jeanette MacDonald
Stand-in for Ramon Novarro
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical The Cat and the Fiddle , music by Jerome Kern, book and lyrics by Otto Harbach (New York, 15 Oct 1931).
SONGS
"The Night Was Made for Love," "She Didn't Say Yes," "Don't Ask Me Not to Sing," "Poor Pierrot," "The Breeze Kissed Your Hair," "Hh! Cha! Cha!" "Try to Forget," "One Moment Alone," "A New Love Is Old" and "I Watched the Love Parade," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Otto Harbach.
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 February 1934
Production Date:
late August 1933--mid November 1933
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 February 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4508
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black & white with color sequences
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
78 or 88
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Chased by a Brussels cafe owner for an unpaid food bill, composer and pianist Victor Florescu jumps into a passing taxicab and meets pretty Shirley Sheridan, a visiting New Yorker. Upon arriving at Shirley's pension, which is next door to his own, penniless Victor insists on paying the taxi fare and gives the driver the score to his latest operetta in lieu of money. Victor then learns from his mentor, Professor Bertier, that Jules Daudet, a wealthy arts patron, wants to audition his operetta that evening at the Conservatory of Music. As he struggles to recall his score in his pension room, Victor is disturbed by the piano playing of a neighbor, who turns out to be Shirley. Forgetting his anger and his own practice, Victor demonstrates on Shirley's piano alternative arrangements for a song she has been composing, "The Night Was Made for Love." Grateful for Victor's musical insight, Shirley succumbs momentarily to his romantic overtures, but is perplexed when he suddenly rushes off for his appointment. After a desperate search through the city, Victor locates the taxi driver and, with a loan from Charles, an eccentric passerby, retrieves his score. Irritated by Victor's lateness, Daudet refuses to listen to his music, but changes his mind when the composer proclaims that his newfound love is more important than the audition. During the audition, Shirley shows up at the conservatory and is startled to see Victor there. While only mildly impressed by Victor's compositions, Daudet gushes at Shirley's song and immediately offers to publish it for her. When Daudet then makes a pass at her, however, Shirley rejects his offer and ... +


Chased by a Brussels cafe owner for an unpaid food bill, composer and pianist Victor Florescu jumps into a passing taxicab and meets pretty Shirley Sheridan, a visiting New Yorker. Upon arriving at Shirley's pension, which is next door to his own, penniless Victor insists on paying the taxi fare and gives the driver the score to his latest operetta in lieu of money. Victor then learns from his mentor, Professor Bertier, that Jules Daudet, a wealthy arts patron, wants to audition his operetta that evening at the Conservatory of Music. As he struggles to recall his score in his pension room, Victor is disturbed by the piano playing of a neighbor, who turns out to be Shirley. Forgetting his anger and his own practice, Victor demonstrates on Shirley's piano alternative arrangements for a song she has been composing, "The Night Was Made for Love." Grateful for Victor's musical insight, Shirley succumbs momentarily to his romantic overtures, but is perplexed when he suddenly rushes off for his appointment. After a desperate search through the city, Victor locates the taxi driver and, with a loan from Charles, an eccentric passerby, retrieves his score. Irritated by Victor's lateness, Daudet refuses to listen to his music, but changes his mind when the composer proclaims that his newfound love is more important than the audition. During the audition, Shirley shows up at the conservatory and is startled to see Victor there. While only mildly impressed by Victor's compositions, Daudet gushes at Shirley's song and immediately offers to publish it for her. When Daudet then makes a pass at her, however, Shirley rejects his offer and leaves the school in a huff. That night, Victor pledges his love to Shirley, and she confesses to a heartsick Daudet that she is in love with Victor. Determined to win Shirley, Daudet informs Victor that, if he wants his money for the operetta, he must leave immediately for Paris. To Daudet's surprise, Victor refuses to abandon Shirley, and thus forfeits his chance for instant success. Sometime later, Shirley, whose song has been published successfully by Daudet and who now lives in Paris with Victor, encourages the composer to pursue Odette Brieux, a wealthy operetta singer, as a possible star for his show. Depressed by his inability to compose in the shadow of Shirley's success, Victor instead declares his desire to return to Brussels, and the devoted Shirley prepares to go with him. However, when Daudet tells him that Shirley's career will be ruined if she leaves Paris, Victor pretends that he is no longer in love with her and returns to Brussels alone. There Victor mounts his operetta, The Cat and the Fiddle , with backing from Odette's husband Rudy. Shortly before opening night, however, Rudy catches Odette kissing a reluctant Victor and pulls both her and his money from the show. After the production loses its leading man, Charles, who plays harp in the show, goes to Shirley and begs her to join the cast. Engaged to Daudet, Shirley refuses to help Victor, who now faces arrest for writing a bad production check. As the curtain rises, however, Charles and Victor hear Shirley on stage singing the opening song. After accepting Victor's declarations of love, Shirley performs a romantic duet with him, and the operetta proves to be a huge success. +

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

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