The Cat and the Fiddle (film)

The Cat and the Fiddle is a 1934 American pre-Code romantic musical film directed by William K. Howard based on the hit 1931 Broadway musical of the same name by Jerome Kern and Otto A. Harbach, about a romance between a struggling composer and an American singer. The film stars Ramon Novarro and Jeanette MacDonald in her MGM debut.

The Cat and the Fiddle
Original sheet music
Directed byWilliam K. Howard
Sam Wood (uncredited)
Produced byBernard H. Hyman
Written byOtto A. Harbach (book)
Bella Spewack (screenplay)
StarringRamon Novarro
Jeanette MacDonald
CinematographyCharles G. Clarke
Ray Rennahan
Harold Rosson
Edited byFrank Hull
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • February 16, 1934 (1934-02-16)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$455,000 (Domestic earnings)[1]
$644,000 (Foreign earnings)[1]


In this film based on the Broadway musical, Victor Florescu (Ramon Novarro) is a composer desperately trying to get his operetta to opening night. First his leading lady (Vivienne Segal) leaves, taking the bulk of their budget with her. Then the male lead splits, leaving Victor to fill his role. Next he calls upon an old love, songstress Shirley Sheridan (Jeanette MacDonald) to be his ingénue, but she insists that she is leaving the theater to marry her affluent but unfaithful fiancé (Frank Morgan).


Box office

The film grossed a total (domestic and foreign) of $1,099,000: $455,000 from the US and Canada and $644,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $142,000. The film was a box office disappointment for MGM.[2]

Technicolor sequences

The final reel was filmed in the then newly perfected three-strip Technicolor process, previously used only in Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies cartoons.

Television View

This film received its initial television showings in Chicago Thursday 9 May 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), followed by Philadelphia Monday 13 May 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); it first aired in New York City 24 June 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Seattle 24 August 1957 on KING (Channel 5), in Los Angeles 12 September 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), in Honolulu 29 September 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13), and in Norfolk VA 9 December 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3); in Portland OR it was first aired 28 April 1958 on KGW (Channel 8), and in San Francisco it was finally telecast 5 August 1959 on KGO (Channel 7). The finale in 3-strip Technicolor was not restored back into its original hues until the film was shown by Turner Classic Movies on TNT in the late 1980s.


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