AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Broadway Serenade
Director: Robert Z. Leonard (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Apr 1939
Production Date:   Late Nov 1938--9 Feb 1939
Duration (in mins):   114
Duration (in reels):   12
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Jeanette MacDonald (Mary Hale)  
    Lew Ayres (James Geoffrey Seymour)  
    Ian Hunter (Larry Bryant)  
    Frank Morgan (Cornelius Collier, Jr.)  
    Wally Vernon (Joey the Jinx)  
    Rita Johnson (Judy Tyrrell)  
    Virginia Grey (Pearl)  
    William Gargan (Bill)  
    Katharine Alexander (Harriet Ingalls)  
    Al Shean (Herman)  
    Esther Dale (Mrs. Olsen)  
    Franklin Pangborn (Gene)  
    E. Allyn Warren (Everett)  
    Paul Hurst (Reynolds)  
    Frank Orth (Mr. Fellowes)  
    Esther Howard (Mrs. Fellowes)  
    Leon Belasco ('Squeaker')  
    Kitty McHugh (Kitty, the maid)  
    Kenneth Stevens (Singer)  
    Ray Mayer (Mr. Woods)  
    Edward Hearn (Frank)  
    Ray Walker (Madison)  
    Lawrence Wheat (Accountant)  
    William E. Lawrence (Burke)  
    William Tannen (Assistant stage manager)  
    Morgan Wallace (Parks)  
    Arthur "Pop" Byron (Pat)  
    Arthur Housman (Jonathan)  
    Ted Oliver (Spike)  
    Al Hill (Chuck)  
    Barbara Bedford (Secretary)  
    Hobart Cavanaugh (Mr. Ingalls)  
    Jack Carlton (Cameraman)  
    Mary Beth Hughes (Girl at party)  
    Tom Hanlon (Announcer)  
    Hans Joby (Hans)  
    Bernard Siegel (Otto)  
    Estelle Etterre (Girl with Bryant)  
    Patricia West (Girl with Bryant)  
    Lionel Royce (Mr. Bachspiegal)  
    Bert Moorhouse (Reporter)  
    Don Brodie (Reporter)  
    Jack Luden (Reporter)  
    Charles Sherlock (Reporter)  
    Allen Fox (Reporter)  
    Ernie Alexander (Photographer)  
    Jack Hutchinson (Bryant's chauffeur)  
    Olaf Hytten (Hotel manager)  
    Mary MacLaren (Costumer)  
    Claude King (Mr. Gato)  
    Norman Willis (Process server)  
    Jack Raymond (Joey's companion)  
    Bruce Mitchell (Pullman conductor)  
    Paul Newlan (Big man)  
    Sidney Jarvis (Santa Claus)  
    Jane Barnes (Salesgirl 5 & 10)  
    Gertrude Short (Salesgirl 5 & 10)  
    Marjorie Kane (Salesgirl 5 & 10)  
    Jill Dennett (Salesgirl 5 & 10)  
    Mary Gordon (Annie)  
    Arthur O'Bryan (Process server)  
    J. D. Jewkes (Music maker)  
    Warren Lewis (Baritone)  
    Ken Darby's Octet (Singers "High Flyin'" number)  
    Six Hits and a Miss (Singers "High Flyin'" number)  
    Mary Kent (Contralto "High Flyin" number)  
    Kenneth Stevens (Baritone "No Time to Argue" number)  
    Helen Seamon (Jitterbug specialty)  
    Roy Lester (Jitterbug specialty)  

Summary: Composer James Geoffrey Seymour is a strong supporter of his wife Mary Hale's singing career and appears with her on the vaudeville circuit. Consequently, when wealthy backer Larry Bryant persuades Broadway producer Cornelius Collier Jr. to put Mary in his show, Seymour and Hale split up as Mary reluctantly travels to Atlantic City with the show and Jimmy remains behind in New York. As Mary soars to stardom, Jimmy struggles with his musical compositions until one day, he reads a gossip column that claims that his wife is having an affair with Bryant. A drunken Jimmy confronts Mary with the accusation, and in the ugly argument that ensues, Mary asks for a divorce. On Christmas Eve, Jimmy is served with divorce papers and bitterly throws his compositions into the fire. When his friend Herman burns his hands while trying to rescue Jimmy's work, Jimmy realizes that the only respite from his misery lies in his composition and throws himself into his work until he finally sells an operetta. Throughout it all, Mary has never stopped loving Jimmy, but when he fails to contest the divorce, she agrees to marry Bryant. On the day that Mary is to sail to England to wed Bryant, Jimmy comes to her to renew their love, but she tells him that he is too late. However, when Collier refuses to produce Jimmy's show unless Mary will star in it, Mary agrees to remain in New York. On opening night, Bryant realizes that Mary still loves Jimmy and breaks their engagement, freeing Mary to return to Jimmy, her true love. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's, Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Robert Z. Leonard (Dir)
  Marvin Stuart (Asst dir)
  Busby Berkeley (Finale number created and dir by)
Producer: Robert Z. Leonard (Prod)
Writer: Charles Lederer (Scr)
  Lew Lipton (Orig story)
  John Taintor Foote (Orig story)
  Hans Kraly (Orig story)
Photography: Oliver T. Marsh (Photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Joseph Wright (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Harold F. Kress (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
Costumes: Adrian (Gowns)
  Valles (Men's cost)
Music: Herbert Stothart (Mus dir)
  Herbert Stothart (Mus score)
  Edward Ward (Mus score)
  Leo Arnaud (Vocal and orch collaboration)
  Leonid Raab (Vocal and orch collaboration)
  Merrill Pye (Mus presentation)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
Special Effects: John Hoffman (Montage)
Dance: Seymour Felix ("Flying High" and "Madame Butterfly" numbers staged by)
  (Dance dir)
  (Dance dir)
  (Dance dir)
  (Dance dir)
  (Dance dir)
  (Dance dir)
Make Up: Jack Dawn (Makeup)
Stand In: Zaruhi Elmassian (Vocal stand-in for Jeanette MacDonald)
  Dorothy Ward (Dancer stand-in for Jeanette MacDonald)
Country: United States

Songs: "Time Changes Everything," music by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Gus Kahn; "High Flyin" and "One Look at You," music by Herbert Stothart and Edward Ward, lyrics by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright; "For Every Lonely Heart," "Rhapsody" and "Broadway Serenade," music by Edward Ward and Herbert Stothart, lyrics by Gus Kahn; "No Time to Argue," music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Gus Kahn; "Ridin' on a Rainbow," music and lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest.
Composer: Walter Donaldson
  Chet Forrest
  Gus Kahn
  Sigmund Romberg
  Herbert Stothart
  Edward Ward
  Bob Wright

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Loew's Inc. 28/3/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8751

PCA NO: 5105
Physical Properties: b&w: sepia
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Musical
Subjects (Major): Composers
Subjects (Minor): Christmas Eve
  New York City--Broadway
  Romantic rivalry
  Theatrical backers
  Theatrical producers

Note: A news item in HR notes that Walter Pidgeon and George Murphy were also considered for the male lead in this picture, and that Lew Ayres was eliminated from the cast and then later re-instated. This was Robert Z. Leonard's initial assignment as a producer-director for Metro. According to modern sources, this film marked Busby Berkeley's return to M-G-M. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   30 Mar 39   p. 3.
Film Daily   4 Apr 39   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Nov 38   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Nov 38   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Mar 39   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   5 Apr 39   p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald   31 Dec 38   p. 41.
Motion Picture Herald   8 Apr 39   p. 61, 64
New York Times   7 Apr 39   p. 25.
Variety   5 Apr 39   p. 15.

Display Movie Summary
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.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.