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Cat and the Fiddle
     

The Cat and the Fiddle

Director: William Howard, Ramon Novarro, Jeanette MacDonald, Frank Morgan

Cast: William Howard, Ramon Novarro, Jeanette MacDonald, Frank Morgan

 
Based on the stage musical by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, The Cat and the Fiddle stars Jeanette MacDonald as a music student and Ramon Novarro as a struggling composer. When the leading lady walks out of Victor's (Novarro) upcoming operetta, the star's husband pulls his financial support. The leading man ankles the production shortly thereafter, compelling

Overview

Based on the stage musical by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, The Cat and the Fiddle stars Jeanette MacDonald as a music student and Ramon Novarro as a struggling composer. When the leading lady walks out of Victor's (Novarro) upcoming operetta, the star's husband pulls his financial support. The leading man ankles the production shortly thereafter, compelling Victor to play the role himself. All this scenario needs is fair Shirley (MacDonald) as the last minute-replacement for the missing leading lady -- but Shirley has given up music to marry philandering (but wealthy) Daudet (Frank Morgan). The fact that the film's final scene was lensed in Technicolor should indicate whether or not Shirley comes to Victor's rescue. Only one song from the original stage production of The Cat and the Fiddle was used in the film version; the remaining (and forgettable) tunes were penned by Kern and Harbach exclusively for the film.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
An amiable operetta, The Cat and the Fiddle would probably have been better had it been filmed at Paramount under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch, whose style would have fit it perfectly. Instead, at MGM and under the guidance of William Howard, Cat became an enjoyable but not especially memorable musical, even with Jeanette MacDonald making her MGM starring debut. MacDonald is grand, in superb voice and fine acting fettle. She hasn't yet settled into her prima diva mode, and so there's a freshness and allure to her performance that is hard to resist. As her true love, Ramon Novarro gives an engaging performance, even if he can't compete with MacDonald in the vocal department. Novarro's voice is fine, much better than many other musical stars of the period, but his high notes are less than secure, and the strain particularly shows when dueting with MacDonald. There's also fine diva support from Vivienne Segal, an amusing comic turn from Charles Butterworth, and a very nice contribution from Frank Morgan, convincingly cast as Novarro's rival. The Jerome Kern music is pure gossamer, even if the Otto Harbach lyrics fitted to it are occasionally hard to take. The script, unfortunately, is more on the level of the lyrics than of the music, with a hackneyed plot that will cause hoots among younger viewers. At least it has some pre-Code naughtiness to enliven things. The Technicolor finale benefits from using three-strip rather than two-strip color, but it still gives the actors' skin tones an unearthly hue. Cat is so classic movie musical, but the cast and score make it worth catching, especially for students of the genre.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/28/2013
UPC:
0883316734469
Original Release:
1934
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
33,551

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ramon Novarro Victor
Jeanette MacDonald Shirley
Frank Morgan Daudet
Charles Butterworth Charles
Jean Hersholt Professor
Vivienne Segal Odette
Frank Conroy Theater Owner
Henry Armetta Taxi driver
Adrienne D'Ambricourt Concierge
Joseph Cawthorn Rudy

Technical Credits
William Howard Director,Producer
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles G. Clarke Cinematographer
Otto Harbach Songwriter
Frank E. Hull Editor
Bernard Hyman Producer
Jerome Kern Songwriter,Screenwriter
Ray Rennahan Cinematographer
Harold Hal Rosson Cinematographer
Bella Spewack Screenwriter
Samuel Spewack Screenwriter
Herbert Stothart Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Alexander Toluboff Art Director
Theodore Toluboff Art Director
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Cat and the Fiddle
1. Chapter 1 [1:29]
2. Chapter 2 [1:05]
3. Chapter 3 [5:55]
4. Chapter 4 [3:04]
5. Chapter 5 [2:42]
6. Chapter 6 [2:54]
7. Chapter 7 [3:05]
8. Chapter 8 [1:41]
9. Chapter 9 [1:57]
10. Chapter 10 [2:46]
11. Chapter 11 [2:57]
12. Chapter 12 [2:59]
13. Chapter 13 [1:51]
14. Chapter 14 [1:43]
15. Chapter 15 [3:03]
16. Chapter 16 [3:33]
17. Chapter 17 [3:49]
18. Chapter 18 [5:12]
19. Chapter 19 [3:12]
20. Chapter 20 [1:56]
21. Chapter 21 [5:06]
22. Chapter 22 [2:45]
23. Chapter 23 [1:52]
24. Chapter 24 [2:37]
25. Chapter 25 [4:13]
26. Chapter 26 [5:50]
27. Chapter 27 [1:43]
28. Chapter 28 [3:23]
29. Chapter 29 [3:48]
30. Chapter 30 [:20]

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