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Second Fiddle (1939)

Passed | | Comedy, Music | 30 June 1939 (USA)
A studio publicist discovers a Minnesota skating teacher and takes her to Hollywood. She goes back to Minnesota but he follows her.


Sidney Lanfield


Harry Tugend (screenplay), George Bradshaw (story)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Sonja Henie ... Trudi Hovland
Tyrone Power ... Jimmy Sutton
Rudy Vallee ... Roger Maxwell
Edna May Oliver ... Aunt Phoebe
Mary Healy ... Jean Varick
Lyle Talbot ... Willie Hogger
Alan Dinehart ... George 'Whit' Whitney
Minna Gombell ... Jenny
Stewart Reburn Stewart Reburn ... Trudi's Skating Partner
Spencer Charters ... Joe Clayton
Charles Brokaw ... Assistant Director
The Brian Sisters The Brian Sisters ... Schoolroom Vocal Trio
John Hiestand John Hiestand ... Radio Announcer
George Chandler ... Taxi Driver
Irving Bacon ... Justice of the Peace Harvey Vaughan


Jimmy Sutton, tricky publicist for Consolidated Pictures, fetches teacher Trudi Hovland from snowy Minnesota to sunny Hollywood to test for the film of the best-seller "Girl of the North" - having come 436th in a competition several years earlier she is now next choice as leading lady. She gets the part, but despite his own growing attraction for her Jimmy deviously manufactures a romance between her and Roger Maxwell, a new star who desperately needs to pep-up his image. Written by J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The show that licked the World's Fair! See more »


Comedy | Music


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The plot of this movie, in which a Hollywood studio searches for an actress to play the lead role in the movie version of a best-selling novel, was inspired by the famous "Search for Scarlett O'Hara." From 1937-39, over 1400 actresses were interviewed by MGM, and production was delayed for two years, before Vivien Leigh was cast in the lead role in Gone with the Wind (1939). See more »


Jimmy Sutton: What are you making, Phoebe?
Aunt Phoebe: Don't know yet... started making a doily, and it got away from me!
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Steps Out (1941) See more »


An Old Fashioned Tune Is Always New
Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Rudy Vallee and ensemble
See more »

User Reviews

Second Fiddle marked the second teaming of Sonja Henie and Tyrone Power
18 September 2018 | by tavmSee all my reviews

Previous Sonja Henie pictures tended to have some songs meant to possibly be on the Hit Parade, some comedians doing their shtick, with a ridiculous story meant to emphasize the over-the-top-ness of it all. This one has a score by Irving Berlin of which one of his songs mentions not caring if it's a hit or not, humor coming from characterization, with a satiric story that believably turns a bit dramatic. Based on the publicity surrounding the search for the leading lady of Gone with the Wind, Tyrone Power plays a studio executive who finds Ms. Henie in Minnesota and whisks her off to Hollywood for her film debut. Along for the ride is Edna May Oliver as Ms. Henie's aunt. She's quite a hoot here. There's also Rudy Vallee as the studio's musical star who's given a publicity stunt of dating Sonja to the consternation of Mary Healy. I'll stop there and just say that I quite enjoyed this second teaming of Henie and Power and the Irving Berlin songs provided. Also enjoyed, as usual, Ms. Henie's skating numbers. So that's a recommendation of Second Fiddle. P.S. Since I like to cite when someone from my favorite movie-It's a Wonderful Life-is in something else, here it's Charles Lane-that guy in IAWL who told Mr. Potter that he may someday work for George Bailey-using only his voice as the studio head. And it was a nice surprise to find out that Mary Healy was from New Orleans which is only a two-hour drive from my current residence in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Release Date:

30 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Second Fiddle See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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