powered by AFI
Break of Hearts, which was originally titled The Music Man, was Theatre Guild director Philip Moeller's second and last film and was the second and last time he collaborated on directing with film editor Jane Loring. The film was also the third consecutive film that Katharine Hepburn made with writers Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman. According to an October 1933 Film Daily news item, John Cromwell was originally slated to direct Hepburn, Gregory Ratoff and John Barrymore in the picture. Charles Boyer replaced Francis Lederer, who was fired after a few days of filming because of "differences of opinion" with the director, according to Hollywood Reporter and RKO production files. Daily Variety claimed that Lederer felt that Hepburn was "getting all the breaks in camera angles" and that he was playing "second fiddle." Modern sources state that Lederer, who was recommended for the part by Heerman and Mason after they saw him play a musician in a stage production, infuriated Hepburn because he was "rude" and "slow" to learn his lines and then infuriated assistant director Eddie Killy when he refused to shoot a particular set-up because it showed his "bad" side. Killy and Hepburn took their complaints to studio head J. P. MacDonald, who then fired Lederer, according to modern sources. Lederer had completed only one scene, which was subsequently reshot with Boyer. RKO borrowed Boyer from Walter Wanger's production company.
According to Hollywood Reporter production charts, Inez Palange was a cast member, but her participation in the final film cannot be confirmed. A number of music hall interiors were shot on location at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, according to production files. Music numbers in the film included excerpts from Antonn Dvork's Ninth Symphony, From the New World, and Robert Schumann's piano piece "Trumerie" from Kinderscenen. According to Film Daily, Leopold Stokowski, then the conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, wrote music "especially" for the film. However, he is not credited on screen or in reviews. Modern sources also state that Hepburn interviewed musicians in preparation for her role. Modern sources list Jason Robards and Egon Brecher as cast members and credit Mel Berns with makeup.