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The Great Victor Herbert

The Great Victor Herbert(1939)

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The working titles of this film were The Gay Days of Victor Herbert, The Life of Victor Herbert, Victor Herbert and The Life and Melodies of Victor Herbert. Before the credits begin to role, the film opens with a sequence of Victor Herbert entering a concert hall and picking up his baton to conduct the orchestra. According to a news item in Daily Variety, the film was originally to have been produced Paramount in 1936 as The Life and Melodies of Victor Herbert. Edward Arnold was to have played the composer and Melvyn Douglas, Fred MacMurray and Clark Gable were considered for the male lead and Irene Dunne for the female lead. Although the 1936 screenplay, written by Gilbert Gabriel, focused on the composer's middle years, producer Howard Estabrook ordered the script rewritten to include Herbert's early years. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that the revived project was shelved in late 1938 because of story conflicts. This was Broadway musical comedy star Mary Martin's first major role in a motion picture. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Music (Scoring) and Sound Recording categories.