Based on a play by Noel Coward, BITTER SWEET is a story about a young girl (Anna Neagle) who falls in love with a young music teacher (Fernand Gravey). They run off to Vienna where he struggles to make a living. They are offered jobs in a cafe where he will lead the orchestra and she will sing. They save their money and plan to open a cafe of their own. But she catches the attention of an arrogant army captain who pursues her. She fends him off and tells him she's married but he doesn't care. After he insults her on the dance floor, the husband sees what's going on and in a fit of anger challenges the soldier. He is quickly killed by the soldier.
The framework of the old lady telling young lovers her story doesn't really add anything except for Neagle to dress up old. Still there is a bitter sweet moment when the old lady starts to sing "I'll See You Again," a song from her youth. The young lovers and orchestra (they're at a party) pick up the tune and start to swing it, ruining the memory.
Anna Neagle is quite good as the young woman and sings nicely. Fernand Gravey is good as the dreamer of a husband. A standout here is Ivy St. Helier as Manon, the cabaret star, who sings "If Love Were All." Co-stars include Miles Mander as the captain, Esme Percy as Hugh, Clifford Heatherley as Schlick, and Michael Wilding among the extras.
MGM filmed this story in Technicolor in 1940, starring Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, and George Sanders. The MGM version is a lavish musical.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?