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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 <email@example.com>
Not one of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy's best, but still with much to enjoy
Bitter Sweet is not up there with New Moon and especially Maytime(out of their collaborations), but it is not their worst, that would be- though from a personal perspective it wasn't as bad as heard- I Married An Angel. Bitter Sweet does have things wrong, the story is silly, at times draggy and also a little choppy, the Baron's wife is an annoying character and is played even worse and Nelson Eddy's acting is rather stiff, he also has as much conviction as an Austrian as John Wayne did as Genghis Kahn in The Conqueror. It's not as if his acting is like that in all his films, it was great in The Chocolate Soldier for instance where he does show some gift for comedy. Bitter Sweet looks incredible though, out of Eddy-MacDonald's outings it is one of their best-looking. The costumes and sets are very sumptuous, the set for Zigeuner stands out. The Technicolor photography is the very meaning of exquisite. Fabulous also are the songs, Noel Coward's first score and one of his greatest too, I'll See You Again and Zigeuner are the best of the bunch. The dialogue is snappy and sweet, with some appropriate seediness for the baron, the choreography does have energy and W.S. Wise's direction while not landmark-standard is perfect for the type of film Bitter Sweet is, charming and solid with a light touch. There is a good supporting cast, George Sanders is wonderfully smarmy and lecherous in another one of his caddish roles, Hermann Bing is very funny and Ian Hunter shines at being distinguished. Jeanette MacDonald is as beautiful and charming as ever, and her performance carries Bitter Sweet very nicely, she was always better in the acting stakes than Eddy. Though Eddy was the better singer, it is difficult to ever find fault in Eddy's rich, warm baritone singing and while personally it isn't a problem MacDonald's somewhat thin-toned at times, trilly soprano is an acquired taste. Both she and Eddy sing absolutely beautifully throughout, together and individually, and their chemistry is convincing. All in all, still much to enjoy but not one of their best. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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