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A musical comedy duo in their 6th year on Broadway receive an offer to perform in Hollywood making films. The change of lifestyle is inviting to the Sweethearts as the move will take them away from relatives and friends who want to engage them in countless performances. However, when it comes to signing their Hollywood contract they do not sign as Gwen has been perceived into believing her seetheart and husband is engaged in an affair with their personal assistant. The Sweethearts split up and carry on performing their musical production around America with their understudies as their co-stars. Eventually they are united in a Broadway Show. Written by
Jenny Evans <J.Evans@uts.edu.au>
A written epilogue explains: "In our screen play, certain dramatic liberties have been taken with the operetta 'SWEETHEARTS'. We depict the scenes from the operetta as though it was a recent production presented by a wholly fictitious producer Felix Lehman and composed and written by two wholly imaginary persons Oscar Engel and Leo Kronk whereas the stage operetta 'SWEETHEARTS' was actually written and produced on the stage about 1913, Victor Herbert composing the music and Fred De Gresac (as Fred de Gresac), Robert B. Smith and Harry B. Smith writing the book and lyrics." See more »
Much has been made of Jeanette MacDonald's singing, but there is never much mention of her beauty. She was very beautiful, with a vibrant personality and good acting ability. All of this is shown to advantage in this big-budget MGM extravaganza, "Sweethearts," a huge 1938 hit in which MacDonald costarred during her successful partnership with Nelson Eddy.
This isn't really the operetta "Sweethearts" - rather, it's a modern story about a couple starring in a show called "Sweethearts" on Broadway. The script is by Alan Campbell and Dorothy Parker, and we meet our singing lovebirds, married in real life, in their sixth year run of the show. Hollywood is beckoning to them; the couple is exhausted by an endless round of shows, radio appearances, and parties they must attend. Hollywood - the free evenings, the time off between films, the sunshine - is starting to sound pretty good to them. The producers of the show are in a panic. They have to keep them from going to Hollywood; since Hollywood is interested in both of them as a team, perhaps if they were no longer a team...
I've read a good deal here about "glorious Technicolor" - it's beautiful but a little garish. The film is filled, naturally, with lots and lots of music. MacDonald's voice never did much for me - nice middle, not much of a top most of the time - probably due to the way singers were taught back then. Eddy is extremely handsome in Technicolor and his magnificent baritone is well-served by the music.
I was recently reading about the stories that have been going around for years that the couple was secretly in love, supposedly supported by MacDonald's sister. It's the subject of a new musical and book. MacDonald's husband Gene Raymond did indeed resemble Eddy, and her marriage to Raymond was a Louis B. Mayer special - arranged. I think there is probably truth to the stories, and it makes sense that one reason for not marrying was that Eddy wouldn't have wanted her to work.
I read a comment here that the script is dated, etc. - MacDonald and Eddy were of their time, and they need to be appreciated in that context. When that is done, they bring us back to a more innocent time, pre-World War II, and they're wonderful.
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