Friends become lovers and spouses in Change of Heart by writers James Gleason, Samuel Hoffenstein and Sonya Levien; producer Winfield R. Sheehan; and director John G. Blystone. Hal Mohr; Margaret Clancey and James B. Morley; and Louis DeFrancesco handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Movietone City.
The 76-minute drama adapts Kathleen Norris’ (July 16, 1880 – January 18, 1966) 1934-published novel Manhattan Love Song. Its distributor was Fox Film Corporation. Its NYC-premiere and USA-release dates were May 10 and 18, 1934.
The movie begins with California college graduation speaker (Harry C. Bradley) and Mack McGowan’s (James Dunn) and Madge Rountree’s (Ginger Rogers) mothers (Jane Darwell, Mary Carr) congratulating them, Catherine Furness (Janet Gaynor), and Chris Thring (Charles Farrell). Mack’s father, T.P. (Fiske O’Hara), funds the quartet’s 15-hour TWA flight to NYC. Passengers include Shirley (Shirley Temple), whose beautiful charm and hair gets her a paper airplane.
Careers do not divide the friends. Catherine, Chris, Mack, and Madge respectively pursue writing, big-firm lawyering, Rudy Vallee-style (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) radio crooning, and acting. Romance round-robins into:
Big Apple life begins auspiciously with fellow alumna Phyllis Carmichael’s (Barbara Barondess) welcoming party. Optimism cannot last in $30/month boardinghouse rooms. It dissipates with unemployment.
Dr. Nathan Kurtzman’s (Gustav von Seyffertitz) ad for parents to orphaned infants gets red-headed Catherine’s attention. “Fiery” is an orphan. She suggests becoming a nanny for the first couple whom Nathan approves for adoption.
Nathan directs Catherine to Harriet Hawkins’ (Beryl Mercer) thrift shop. Rich people recycle their clothing through Harriet. Harriet tries to convince her benefactors to adopt orphans.
Becoming employed does not help friendship or romance. Phyllis offers professional and social contacts for Madge. Madge relocates to Phyllis’ uptown quarters.
Madge distances herself from Chris. Catherine falls out of touch with Chris and Madge. She keeps in touch with Mack despite rejecting his proposal. She and Mack manage to get wealthy Louise Mockby (Drue Leyton) to adopt (Mickey Kuhn).
Wealthy businessman Howard Jackson (Kenneth Thomson) becomes interested in Catherine. Catherine discourages the attentions. Howard transfers his affections to Madge.
Madge accepts Howard’s proposal. She anticipates life as wife to one of California’s successful producers. She rejects Chris’ love and proposal.
Catherine goes to Chris’ rooms. Chris is feverish and heart-broken. He marries his nurse, Catherine, and works for Catherine’s friend Louise’s husband Gerald (Theodore von Eltz).
The movie ends with Madge:
Breaking her engagement to Howard;
Coming to NYC as a wealthy heiress;
Giving up when Chris abandons her for a weekend with Catherine, Gerald and Louise;
Re-establishing contact with Mack.