(cut for spoilers for 'Pennies From Heaven', though I don't know if you can spoiler a movie that came out 72 years ago. Is there some sort of statute of limitations?)
I can just picture the screenwriter coming up with this story.
"Alright, so they'll be this guy. In prison. And he'll have a lute! And my happy movie will start out with the electrocution of a murderer! And he'll give this letter to the prison guy, because the prision guy has a lute and he sings. And no one is more trustworthy than a guy who sings.
"And then the guy will get out of prison and go off to deliver the letter. Which will be addressed to the grandfather of this little girl who has a sailor hat and is being chased by the Child Welfare lady who wants to put her in an orphanage. And the little girl will merrily invite the guy with the lute home for lunch, because that's a perfectly safe thing to do.
"And then the Child Welfare lady and the lute guy will banter and no one will suspect that later they will fall in love.
"And they're be all kinds of schemes to help keep the girl out of the orphanage. And the girl will claim to be in love with lute guy and he'll sing songs to her and it'll all seem rather creepy 72 years from now. And he'll need to make money, so he'll be a daredevil in a carnival! That's brilliant!
"And then the girl will be taken to the orphanage and he'll bring the whole circus to perform for the five billion children who live there, all as a cover to sneak her out. In a drum! We'll put her in the marching band's drum! Only it won't work, but he won't notice because he has to go to New York to find Child Welfare lady. And he'll go through all of New York, singing the same song until he finds her! And they'll be in love and everyone will be shocked because it was so unexpected!
"And then the police will find them and bring them back because the girl is attempting to burn down the orphanage and threatening to throw herself out a window unless they let her go. Because that's not vaguely disturbing. And then, of course, Child Welfare Lady and Lute Guy will adopt her and they'll go to Venice.
"And somewhere I'll stick in all these songs I'm trying to write the story around. And it'll be great!"
And it was.