Second Fiddle (1939)

87 mins | Musical | 14 July 1939

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HISTORY

In the opening credits, the film is called "Irving Berlin's Second Fiddle ." The working titles of this film were Cupid Goes to Press , Heart Interest , Love Is Tops and When Winter Comes . According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Library, George Bradshaw's original unpublished story on which the film was based was titled "Heart Interest." After reading a revised treatment of the story by Harry Tugend, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck decided to make the story into a Sonja Henie film, and later decided to build the part of Jimmy for Tyrone Power. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also at UCLA, Irving Berlin's contract called for him to receive $75,000 plus 10% of the gross receipts and proceeds over and above $1,125,000. According to a pre-production news item in HR , Don Ameche was originally slated to play the role of "Jimmy Sutton," but his previous commitment to The Story of Alexander Graham Bell prevented his appearance. Another pre-production news item in HR adds that Sidney Lanfield replaced William Seiter as director when Seiter replaced Walter Lang on Susannah of the Mounties . During production, photographer George Barnes took over for Leon Shamroy when Shamroy was hospitalized for an appendectomy, according to a news item in HR . Additional scenes were filmed by Bert Glennon. Other items in HR add that this was the first film in which Sonja Henie had a skating partner. According to the legal records, exterior locations ... More Less

In the opening credits, the film is called "Irving Berlin's Second Fiddle ." The working titles of this film were Cupid Goes to Press , Heart Interest , Love Is Tops and When Winter Comes . According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Library, George Bradshaw's original unpublished story on which the film was based was titled "Heart Interest." After reading a revised treatment of the story by Harry Tugend, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck decided to make the story into a Sonja Henie film, and later decided to build the part of Jimmy for Tyrone Power. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also at UCLA, Irving Berlin's contract called for him to receive $75,000 plus 10% of the gross receipts and proceeds over and above $1,125,000. According to a pre-production news item in HR , Don Ameche was originally slated to play the role of "Jimmy Sutton," but his previous commitment to The Story of Alexander Graham Bell prevented his appearance. Another pre-production news item in HR adds that Sidney Lanfield replaced William Seiter as director when Seiter replaced Walter Lang on Susannah of the Mounties . During production, photographer George Barnes took over for Leon Shamroy when Shamroy was hospitalized for an appendectomy, according to a news item in HR . Additional scenes were filmed by Bert Glennon. Other items in HR add that this was the first film in which Sonja Henie had a skating partner. According to the legal records, exterior locations were shot at the Earl Carroll Theater in Hollywood, while the inside of the theater was reproduced at the studio. Berlin's song "I Poured My Heart into a Song" was nominated for an Academy Award. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Jun 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jul 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 39
pp. 3, 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
30 Jun 39
p. 1, 18
Motion Picture Herald
10 Jun 39
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
8 Jul 39
p. 35.
New York Times
1 Jul 39
p. 11.
Variety
5 Jul 39
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Gene Berg
Mary Stewart
Jack Dawson
Buddy Lawler
Dan Fritz Wyler
Alexander Novinsky
Sam Rice Sr.
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Photog
Photog
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
Ward man
Ward woman
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus instructor
SOUND
Asst sd
Boom man
Cableman
DANCE
Asst dance and skating instructor
MAKEUP
Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Scr clerk
Unit mgr skating unit
Asst mgr skating unit
Follow-up man
Unit casting dir
Unit casting dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"Back to Back," "I Poured My Heart Out into a Song," "An Old Fashioned Tune," "When Winter Came," "The Song of the Metronome" and "I'm Sorry for Myself," words and music by Irving Berlin.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Cupid Goes to Press
Heart Interest
Love Is Tops
When Winter Comes
Irving Berlin's Second Fiddle
Release Date:
14 July 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 5 July 1939
Production Date:
mid March--1 May 1939
additional scenes mid May 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 July 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9184
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,804
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
5217
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Consolidated Pictures' purchase of the best-selling novel, Girl of the North , initiates a two-year search for a leading lady that extends to all corners of the country, and ends when studio publicist Jimmy Sutton journeys to Bergen, Minnesota to escort schoolteacher Trudi Hovland back to Hollywood for a screen test. At first reluctant, Trudi is persuaded by Jimmy to return with him, and her performance so impresses the studio production chief that she is awarded the part. To build Trudi up, Jimmy concocts a romance between her and leading man Roger Maxwell, thus infuriating Roger's girl friend, Jean Varick. To appease Jean, Jimmy suggests that Roger need only be seen with Trudi while he, Jimmy, will send love notes and flowers in Roger's name. Jimmy's scheme backfires when he falls in love with Trudi himself, while Trudi falls in love with Roger's notes. Trudi's romance is shattered when a jealous Jean announces that it has all been a publicity stunt, after which she flies back to Minnesota. When Trudi's film is a great success at its premiere, Jimmy's boss tricks him into following her to Minnesota to bring her back. Upon his arrival, Jimmy learns that Trudi has eloped with her old beau, Willie Hogger, and after confessing to Trudi's aunt Phoebe that he really loves her niece, Phoebe and Jimmy race to stop the wedding. They arrive just in time, and true love wins out when Jimmy convinces Trudi that he really loves her and is promoted from second to first ... +


Consolidated Pictures' purchase of the best-selling novel, Girl of the North , initiates a two-year search for a leading lady that extends to all corners of the country, and ends when studio publicist Jimmy Sutton journeys to Bergen, Minnesota to escort schoolteacher Trudi Hovland back to Hollywood for a screen test. At first reluctant, Trudi is persuaded by Jimmy to return with him, and her performance so impresses the studio production chief that she is awarded the part. To build Trudi up, Jimmy concocts a romance between her and leading man Roger Maxwell, thus infuriating Roger's girl friend, Jean Varick. To appease Jean, Jimmy suggests that Roger need only be seen with Trudi while he, Jimmy, will send love notes and flowers in Roger's name. Jimmy's scheme backfires when he falls in love with Trudi himself, while Trudi falls in love with Roger's notes. Trudi's romance is shattered when a jealous Jean announces that it has all been a publicity stunt, after which she flies back to Minnesota. When Trudi's film is a great success at its premiere, Jimmy's boss tricks him into following her to Minnesota to bring her back. Upon his arrival, Jimmy learns that Trudi has eloped with her old beau, Willie Hogger, and after confessing to Trudi's aunt Phoebe that he really loves her niece, Phoebe and Jimmy race to stop the wedding. They arrive just in time, and true love wins out when Jimmy convinces Trudi that he really loves her and is promoted from second to first fiddle. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.