A young composer marries a famous conductor but leaves him when he continues his womanizing, causing him to degenerate into alcoholism until she returns.
Music professor Thalma (Jean Hersholt) introduces his student Constance (Katharine Hepburn) to the conductor Franz Roberti (Charles Boyer). Hearing her playing, Franz visits Contance's apartment. She watches him rehearse his orchestra. Franz sees her and will get her a ticket. Franz tells Johnny Lawrence (John Beal) he has an appointment and takes Constance home to supper. Franz has had several loves and Constance none. He says they don't last, and he dislikes "wise women." She plays the piano, and he wants to see her again; he takes her home and kisses her. Constance says she loves him. After a month he asks her to marry. Thalma and Johnny help them celebrate the wedding. Franz and Constance travel in Europe and then return to New York.
Franz meets Sylvia (Helene Millard) and leaves Johnny to go with her. Johnny was to dine with them. Constance takes Johnny to the Ritz, where she overhears Sylvia talk about Franz. Constance sees Franz, and he lies he has already eaten. Constance leaves with Johnny. At home she packs her bags and tells Franz to be honest, because she is no longer his wife.
Johnny looks for Constance at a music publishing company; but they deny she works there. Constance calls Franz and learns he has sailed for Europe. She has to play a happy tune and cries. Johnny comes back, describes her, and finds her unconscious. Thalma tells Franz to ask Constance to come back. Franz tells Phyllis that his wife is great. Constance drinks to the new year with Johnny at a party. She meets Franz there, and he asks her to come back; but she says she is like him now, playing the gay game. Constance attends Franz's New Year's concert. Franz arrives late and drunk; Thalma warns him not to conduct. Franz falls off the podium and is carried off. Constance goes to him; but he offers his wife to men. Franz tells Thalma he is through with music, saying he threw away his one valuable thing in Constance. Constance gets a divorce in Reno, and on the train Johnny hopes to marry her for the laughs. Thalma tells Constance that Johnny is not a musician. Thalma asks Franz to see Constance. She finds Franz drinking and tells him he is a great musician. When she plays the piano, he looks up and then collapses. Constance tells Johnny that Franz needs her; they love each other. In the final scene Franz conducts and then kisses Constance.
After finding a great love, Franz has to learn to restrain his womanizing habit because the loss of the great love drives him to drink.