Bitter Sweet


Gift from Sharon K.


Bitter Sweet (MGM, 1940). Directed by W.S. Van Dyke II, based on the Noel Coward play. Filmed in Technicolor. Songs: "Ziguener," "If You Could Only Come With Me," "Kiss Me," "I'll See You Again, "Dear Little Cafe," "What is Love," "Ladies of the Town," "Tokay," "Love in Any Language." Cast: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, George Sanders, Ian Hunter, Herman Bing.


Bitter Sweet (1940) Staring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in their 7th film:

(USA 8 November 1940 Sweden 4 August 1941 Finland 6 September 1942 Denmark 7 August 1950)


In the style of the great "Maytime", director W.S.Van Dyke adapted the original operetta by Noel Coward. The movie is a glamorous, romantic piece, with a magnificent photography, wonderful songs and a pair of unforgettable stars, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Music, tragedy, love, all the elements are present in this beautiful picture, a joy for the moviegoer. Nelson and Jeanette sang with passion and his magic is beyond the scenes, his magic truly touched our hearts. In the seventh screen pairing of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy are the ingredients for movie magic.

Carl is Sarah's singing teacher who is also pining for her with his hidden affection. This is their last lesson as Sarah, even with her secret love for Carl, will marry the snobbish uptight Harry Daventry. Finally performing "What is Love" for a group of Guests at a party given on the eve of her wedding, Carl reveals to Sarah that he is leaving to return to his home of Vienna and will not be able to attend her wedding. With this knowledge, Sarah decides she must reveal her true affection and Carl responds by stealing her away from the wedding date to wed him. They travel to Vienna where Carl works hard on writing his operetta. Finally finished he works on getting his operetta noticed while he and his wife work at a café. Noticed by a Baron who is never discouraged, Sarah, now fearful that her reputation will be ruined and her relationship with her husband destroyed, she decides to quit working as a dancer/singer/companion at the café but when told that Herr Wyler, a luck-stricken impresario, will appear at the café for that night to hear Carl's songs, she decides to work that last night and sing the songs Carl has written in his operetta. Arriving there, she performs for the famous impresario and while she prances with the beat of the song she is caught in dance by her spiteful baron who holds her too close and forces a kiss. Seeing this, Carl runs to her side and punches the Baron who threatens revenge with his sword. With one sloppy swing, Carl is struck and dies on the dance floor. Herr Wyler produces the operetta and Sarah performs the main character and hears her husbands voice singing with her -- but without her husband, it is a bittersweet victory.


Songs included:

"Ziguener" (Sung by Jeanette) "If you could only come with me" (Sung by Nelson) - "Dear Little Café" (Sung by Jeanette and Nelson) "What is Love" (Sung by Jeanette) "I'll See you again" (Sung by Jeanette and Nelson) "Ladie of the Town" (Sung by Jeanette) "Tokay" (Sung by Nelson and Chorus) "Love in any Language" (Sung by Jeanette)


Run Time: 94 min.

Category: Musicals

Produced: Victor Saville

Director: W.S. Van Dyke

Writing credits: Noel Coward (play) Lesser Samuels

Original music by Noel Coward

Musical director: Herbert Stothart ....

Recording director: Douglas Shearer ....

Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons

Costumes Designs: Adrian (gowns) and Gile Steele (men's costumes)

Makeup Department: Jack Dawn (I) makeup designer; Sydney Guilaroffhair stylist: Miss MacDonald

Production Dates July - September 1940 (Copyright Holder Loew's, Inc.,Nov. 14, 1940 * LP10114)


Cast: Jeanette MacDonald … Sarah Millick, Nelson Eddy … Carl Linden,

George Sanders .... Baron Von Tranisch, Ian Hunter (I) .... Lord Shayne, Felix Bressart .... Max, Edward Ashley .... Harry Daventry, Lynne Carver .... Dolly, Diana Lewis (I) .... Jane, Curt Bois .... Ernst, Fay Holden .... Mrs. Millick, Sig Ruman .... Herr Schlick (as Sig Rumann), Janet Beecher .... Lady Daventry, Charles Judels .... Herr Wyler, Veda Ann Borg .... Manon, Herman Bing .... Market Keeper, Greta Meyer .... Mama Luden, Max Barwyn .... Bartender, (uncredited), Art Berry Sr. .... Cabbie (uncredited), Margaret Bert .... Woman on Stairs (uncredited), Paul E. Burns .... Lathered Man (uncredited), Colin Campbell (I) .... Sir Arthur Feuchurch (uncredited), Jack Chefe .... Waiter (uncredited), Davison Clark .... Casino Attendant (uncredited), Hans Conried .... Rudolph, Man at Mama Luden's (uncredited), Jeff Corey .... Second Man on Stairs (uncredited), Gino Corrado .... Waiter (uncredited), Jean De Briac .... Croupier (uncredited), John Hendrick .... Fritz, at Mama Luden's (uncredited), Hans Joby .... Third Man on Stairs (uncredited), Armand Kaliz .... Headwaiter (uncredited), Louis Natheaux .... Officer Catching Von Tranisch (uncredited), Paul Oman .... Violinist (uncredited), Sam Savitsky .... Bearded Man (uncredited), Lester Sharpe .... First man on stairs (as Lester Scharff), Julius Tannen .... Schlick's Companion (uncredited), Ruth Tobey .... Market Keeper's Daughter (uncredited), Philip Winter .... Edgar, Sarah's Dancing Partner (uncredited).


Academy Award®


Best Cinematography (Color), Best Interior Decoration (Color)

Allen M. Davey (I) Oliver T. Marsh

Best Art Direction, Color John S. Detlie Cedric Gibbons

Trivia and Tidbits:

Taglines for Bitter Sweet (1940)

A musical triumph!

Filled with Noel Coward's songs and harmonies of "America's Sweethearts."

Nelson Eddy, an expert fencer, had to learn how to lose in a dual, saying, "Losing is tougher than winning."


Jeanette MacDonald, protecting her face from the sun, got her back tanned, thus having to have the Hungarian costume she wears in the finale designed with a high neck. She made it a point to keep her face towards the camera as much as possible.



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