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In order to avoid an arranged marriage with a man she doesn't love, Sarah Millick runs off to Vienna with her music teacher, Carl Linden, whom she does love. They are married. In Vienna, they struggle to make a living by making music. Carl writes an operetta and tries to get it produced. They are helped along by Viennese Baron, but his intentions are not honorable. He kills Carl in a sword fight. A big producer does put on the operetta, with Sari in the lead -- but without her husband, it is a bittersweet victory. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As starving artists living in a Viennese garret, MacDonald and Eddy certainly seem perfectly capable of singing their full-bodied songs with as much spirit as anyone would on a healthy diet of food. So much of the plot line of BITTER SWEET sounds like a recap of MAYTIME that it's unnerving to think that even with all of the opulent Technicolor on display here, they couldn't come up with a film that at least compared favorably to that B&W classic.
Once again, Jeanette has to lose her lover (this time in a duel, which must be one of the briefest duels ever fought over a lady), and then, still pining for him, she manages to get one of his operas produced in time to conclude the movie with "I'll See You Again" while the disembodied voice of Eddy joins her in song. Ah, sweet mystery of life! Noel Coward, who wrote the original BITTER SWEET on which this is based, fumed and fussed when he saw what MGM had done to his stage work. He swore that from then on he would never let Hollywood touch one of his works.
Well, I suppose he was justified. JEANETTE MacDONALD and NELSON EDDY are in their prime and sing beautifully, but none of it really comes to life. She's bubbling over with enthusiasm and he looks mighty uncomfortable most of the time, particularly in that brief duel with GEORGE SANDERS (as a wicked Baron) that lasts no more than five seconds.
Fans of the singing duo will probably enjoy the lavish sets for the big production number and it's all filmed in gorgeous Technicolor--but that's about it. Take it or leave it.
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