Music in the Air (film)

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Music in the Air
Music in the Air FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Joe May
Written by Jerome Kern (play)
Oscar Hammerstein II (play)
Howard Irving Young
Billy Wilder
Produced by Erich Pommer
Starring Gloria Swanson
John Boles
Douglass Montgomery
Cinematography Ernest Palmer
Music byJerome Kern
Distributed by Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • December 13, 1934 (1934-12-13)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States

Music in the Air is a 1934 American romantic comedy musical film based on Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Broadway musical of the same name. It was part of the popular subgenre of operetta films made during the era. The film was a commercial failure on its release, losing $389,000. This was the worst performing release by Fox Film that year. [1]


The Broadway musical Music in the Air opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City on November 8, 1932, and ran for 342 performances.


Aspiring songwriter Karl Roder (Douglass Montgomery) travels to the big city, along with a girl he is in love with, Sieglinde Lessing (June Lang), and her Father Walter Lessing (Al Shean) who has just written a new song that he thinks will take the world by storm (with lyrics by Karl).

They stumble into the stormy relationship of Opera star Frieda Hotzfelt (Gloria Swanson), and librettist Bruno Mahler (John Boles) who constantly bicker and make up. When the composer for their new show suddenly leaves town, they decide to use Walters song, partially out of convienince, and party due to the fact that Bruno has fallen in love with Sieglinde, and Frieda has fallen in love with Karl, though he does not reciprocate.

Karl, realizing the city is no place for him, decides to go back to the village, but Bruno convinces Sieglinde that she is destined for the stage, and she stays behind to replace Frieda as the Prima Donna in the opera. However, as the opening night approaches, the cast and crew all determine that Sieglinde can not act, and they ask Frieda to come back and star in the show.

Walter calls them all cruel for breaking his daughters heart, but they tell him that the audience is crueler, and they are being spared the worst of it. At the end of the day, the feelings of two amateurs are not more important than the livelihood of the crew who deserve to put on a good show.

Sieglinde and Walter return to their town, and Sieglinde goes to apologize to Karl with her tail between her legs for not listening to him, but Walter can still be proud that his music is featured in a real show, and the whole town listens to it together on the radio. Meanwhile, Frieda and Bruno are together again, and also fighting. . [2]


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  1. Solomon
  2. Green, Stanley (1999) Hollywood Musicals Year by Year (2nd ed.), pub. Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN   0-634-00765-3 page 39