Victor Florescu is a talented, Brussels-based composer of serious music under the tutelage of respected Professor Bertier at the Music Conservatory. He is hoping to have his yet uncompleted operetta, "The Cat and the Fiddle", produced by famed impresario, Jules Daudet. Victor's focus in life changes when he meets Shirley Sheridan, a New Yorker just arrived in Brussels, she who moves into the pensione next to his own. He falls in love at first sight with her. She is also a composer - of the type of music more often heard in Tin Pan Alley - and is hoping to study with Professor Bertier. But it is Victor who helps her with her music. She also catches the attention of Daudet, who publishes her music although he is more interested in her as a woman. Regardless, she becomes rich and famous, and is required to move to Paris. In the short term, Victor, who moves to Paris with her, is more than willing to forgo his own musical aspirations to help her. But Victor is forced to choose between ... Written by
Ramon Novarro (as Victor) is a struggling musician, trying to make ends meet, in Brussels. After delighting diners with a new composition, Mr. Novarro refuses to pay the owner for some wine, and runs away. He loses pursuers by hopping into a car, which is occupied by another poor musician, singer Jeanette MacDonald (as Shirley). Novarro is smitten with Ms. MacDonald, and woos her from his neighboring apartment. The two are drawn to each other, both romantically and professionally. On the verge of becoming a successful team, Novarro's producer Frank Morgan (as Daudet) becomes a romantic rival for MacDonald's affections.
Operetta films featuring soprano MacDonald aren't exactly my favorite of movie genres; but, this one is better than most. Stars Novarro and MacDonald are very engaging; Novarro has a couple of great, unexpected, dramatic scenes. Look for some entertaining supporting performances, too; Charles Butterworth is especially good as the "Harp Player". The film eventually becomes a total operetta, with Novarro and MacDonald singing until the end of "The Cat and the Fiddle". The last song is shown in color. The better song was "The Night Was Made for Love".
****** The Cat and the Fiddle (2/16/34) William K. Howard ~ Ramon Novarro, Jeanette MacDonald, Frank Morgan, Charles Butterworth
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