Bitter Sweet

Overview

Previously filmed in 1933, Noel Coward's sentimental operetta Bitter Sweet was transformed by MGM seven years later into a Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy vehicle, complete with Technicolor. Set in late 19th century Vienna, the story focuses on the romance between music teacher Carl Linden Eddy and his prize pupil Sarah Milick MacDonald. Eloping with Sarah, Carl writes an operetta specially tailored for her talents, which earns her fame and fortune. Alas, poor Carl does not live long enough to see Sarah's triumph,...
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Overview

Previously filmed in 1933, Noel Coward's sentimental operetta Bitter Sweet was transformed by MGM seven years later into a Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy vehicle, complete with Technicolor. Set in late 19th century Vienna, the story focuses on the romance between music teacher Carl Linden Eddy and his prize pupil Sarah Milick MacDonald. Eloping with Sarah, Carl writes an operetta specially tailored for her talents, which earns her fame and fortune. Alas, poor Carl does not live long enough to see Sarah's triumph, but it is clear that she will never forget him. Chock full of memorable tunes and familiar character faces in the supporting cast best of all is Herman Bing as a Viennese shopkeeper, Bitter Sweet is musical moviemaking at its best.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Bitter Sweet is visually sumptuous and contains some wonderful music sung very well, but overall it's a disappointing and rather leaden operetta. A great deal of the blame goes with scenarist Lesser Samuels, who took far too many liberties in adapting Noel Coward's musical. Granted, the original source was not perfect, but it had more life and originality to it than does Samuels's version, which is about as filled with trite cliches as one could ever imagine. The result is a very dull screenplay, which means that it's up to the songs to save the day. The score, fortunately, is quite lovely, highlighted by the beautiful "I'll See You Again," "Tokay" and "If You Could Only Come With Me." Singing these and other numbers are Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, who are in truly glorious voice. When they are singing, Bitter Sweet comes to life and at times even soars. But when there's no music accompanying them, the actors fall several notches. Eddy is wooden, of course, as is famously expected of him. But MacDonald, who was capable of much better acting, comes across as fake and forced. There's good support from cad George Sanders and friends Felix Bressart and Curt Bois, but not enough to help matters. W.S. Van Dyke's direction is busy but without purpose. The film looks great, thanks to its sets, directions and photography, but underneath the gloss it has too little life.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/20/2011
  • UPC: 883316361382
  • Original Release: 1940
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 993

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeanette MacDonald Sarah Millick
Nelson Eddy Carl Linden
George Sanders Baron Von Tranisch
Ian Hunter Lord Shayne
Felix Bressart Max
Edward Ashley Harry Daventry
Lynne Carver Dolly
Diana Lewis Jane
Curt Bois Ernst
Fay Holden Mrs. Millick
Sig Rumann Herr Schlick
Janet Beecher Lady Daventry
Charles Judels Herr Wyler
Veda Ann Borg Manon
Herman Bing Market Keeper
Greta Meyer Mama Luden
Hans Conried Rudolph
Jeff Corey Border
Armand Kaliz Headwaiter
Philip Winter Edgar
Technical Credits
W.S. Van Dyke Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Noël Coward Score Composer, Songwriter
Allen M. Davey Cinematographer
John S. Detlie Production Designer
Cedric Gibbons Production Designer
Gus Kahn Songwriter
Harold Kress Editor
Oliver Marsh Cinematographer
Ernst Matray Choreography
Lesser Samuels Screenwriter
Victor Saville Producer
Gile Steele Costumes/Costume Designer
Herbert Stothart Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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