AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Melody Man
Director: R. William Neill (Dir)
Release Date:   15 Jan 1930
Duration (in mins):   68
Duration (in feet):   6,386
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   William Collier Jr. (Al Tyler)  
    Alice Day (Elsa)  
    John St. Polis (Von Kemper)  
    Johnny Walker (Joe Yates)  
    Mildred Harris (Martha)  
    Albert Conti (Prince Friedrich)  
    Tenen Holtz (Gustav)  
    Lee Kohlmar (Adolph)  
    Bertram Marburgh (Van Bader)  
    Anton Vaverka (Franz Josef)  
    Major Nichols (Bachman)  

Summary: Earl von Kemper, a famous Viennese composer, has scored a great success with his Dream Rhapsody at a concert for the emperor and empress, but when he finds the woman he loves entertaining Crown Prince Friedrich in her boudoir, he shoots and kills him and escapes to the United States with his daughter. Fifteen years later, in New York, the musician is earning his living by playing his violin, with Gustav and Adolph, at a small restaurant. Elsa, his talented daughter, becomes acquainted with Al Tyler, a young jazz musician, and secretly arranges scores for his band; when they replace Kemper's trio at the cafĂ©, he refuses to let his daughter associate with the jazz artists. Al happens to hear Dream Rhapsody, and Elsa arranges a jazz version that Al makes famous; but Baden, the Austrian Minister of Police, hears and recognizes it. Kemper, about to be apprehended, leaves the young lovers on the pretext of returning for a European engagement. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: R. William Neill (Dir)
  Sam Nelson (Asst dir)
  James Seymour (Dial dir)
Producer: Harry Cohn (Prod)
Writer: Howard J. Green (Cont and dial)
Photography: Ted Tetzlaff (Cam)
  Henry Freulich (Asst cam)
Art Direction: Harrison Wiley (Art dir)
Film Editor: Leonard Wheeler (Film ed)
Sound: John P. Livadary (Sd eng)
  G. R. Cooper (Sd mix eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Broken Dreams, " by Ballard MacDonald, Arthur Johnston and Dave Dreyer.
Composer: Dave Dreyer
  Arthur Johnston
  Ballard MacDonald
Source Text: Based on the play The Melody Man by Herbert Richard Lorenz[pseud. of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart] (New York, 13 May 1924).
Authors: Lorenz Hart
  Richard Rodgers
  Herbert Richard Lorenz

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 18/2/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1090

Physical Properties: Sd: Movietone
  Sd, also Si: Also si.
  b&w with col seq:

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Austrian Americans
  Family relationships
  Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, 1830-1916
  Jazz music
  New York City
  Vienna (Austria)

Note: According to the Var review, which listed the title as Melody Man , the film included a color sequence "at the opening" that ran for approximately twelve minutes. The play The Melody Man , written by composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart under the joint pseudonym of Herbert Richard Lorenz, starred Lew Fields in its short Broadway run. Fields also starred in a roadshow version of the play that was entitled Henky and was staged in Chicago and other cities in 1924. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   16 Feb 1930.   
Variety   26 Feb 1930   p. 29.

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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.
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