6.3/10
356
12 user 5 critic

Bitter Sweet (1940)

Passed | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 8 November 1940 (USA)
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, ... See full summary »

Director:

(as W.S. Van Dyke II)

Writers:

(original play) (as Noel Coward), (screen play)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sweethearts (1938)
Certificate: Passed Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Morgan
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In order to avoid a prearranged marriage, a rebellious French princess sheds her identity and escapes to colonial New Orleans, where she finds an unlikely true love.

Directors: Robert Z. Leonard, W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Morgan
Rose-Marie (1936)
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Opera singer (Marie de Flor) seeks out fugitive brother in the Canadian wilderness. During her trek, she meets a Canadian mountie (Sgt. Bruce) who is also searching for her brother. Romance... See full summary »

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Reginald Owen
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.

Directors: King Vidor, Jack Conway, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan
New Moon (1940)
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Marianne de Beaumaniour is on her way to New Orleans from Paris to inspect the plantation she inherited from her uncle. On the ship with her are bondsmen, that are to be sold for slavery. ... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Z. Leonard, W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Mary Boland
Maytime (1937)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An elderly Miss Morrison recounts her life as the once young and beautiful opera singer Marcia Morney-then the toast of Napoleon III's Paris. One evening, she encounters an American voice ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, John Barrymore
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two soldiers on sick leave spend three nights at the Hollywood Canteen before going back to active duty. With a little friendly help from John Garfield, Slim gets to kiss Joan Leslie, whom ... See full summary »

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Bette Davis, John Garfield, The Andrews Sisters
Comrade X (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An American reporter smuggling news out of Soviet Moscow is blackmailed into helping a beautiful Communist leave the country.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr, Oskar Homolka
Certificate: Passed Fantasy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Anna Zador is a secretary who's been working for 6 years at Count Willie Palaffi's bank. Every day, she rides to work on her bike and places flowers on Willie's desk, but Willie (the ... See full summary »

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Edward Everett Horton
Certificate: Passed Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Lucille Ball accepts a cadet's invitation to a military academy's senior prom in order to boost her career.

Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: Lucille Ball, William Gaxton, Virginia Weidler
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Eric Wainwright (Van Johnson), a busy impresario, is besieged by hordes of wannabe concert stars, eager for their big break. One of them is Cynthia Potter (June Allyson), a talented pianist... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: June Allyson, Van Johnson, Gig Young
Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Snooty opera singer meets a rough-and-tumble fisherman in the Louisiana bayous, but this fisherman can sing! Her agent lures him away to New Orleans to teach him to sing opera, but comes to... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Kathryn Grayson, Mario Lanza, David Niven
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Max
Edward Ashley ...
...
Dolly
Diana Lewis ...
Jane
...
Ernst
...
Mrs. Millick
...
Herr Schlick (as Sig Rumann)
...
...
Herr Wyler
...
Manon
...
Market Keeper
Edit

Storyline

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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A musical triumph! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bittersweet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Noël Coward's wistful reflection in song, "If Love Were All," sung by Jeanette MacDonald, was deleted from the movie. In the 1933 British-made film production, Anna Neagle had sung the classic ballad. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Millick, later Sari Linden: [over a very sparse dinner] Oh well, maybe it's all for the best. I hear more people die from overeating than from any other cause.
Carl Linden: I bet we'll be immortal, then. I hate Herr Weiller.
Sarah Millick, later Sari Linden: I hate the market keeper.
Carl Linden: I hate the landlord.
Sarah Millick, later Sari Linden: That's not fair, *I* was going to hate the landlord. *You* hate Herr Weiller again.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Arena: The Orson Welles Story (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Ladies Of The Town
(1929) (uncredited)
Written by Noël Coward and Gus Kahn
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald and 2 uncredited female singers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Tokay
28 March 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

No wonder Noel Coward had such low esteem of what Hollywood could do to his plays. Judging by what comes out on "Bitter Sweet", Mr. Coward had a case. The problem seems to be in the adaptation of the material. Lesser Samuels took too many liberties with the musical, and in a lot of ways, it seems this is a rework of "Maytime", as other contributors to this forum have expressed.

The film had all the right elements going for it, but somehow, this typically English musical is anything but English. W. S. Van Dyke, a director who worked extensively in the genre doesn't appear to have been inspired by the material. MGM gave this film its usual lavish production, yet, this Technicolor film lacks some of the magnificent look the studio gave "Maytime", a black and white movie.

Jeanette MacDonald has a bigger role than her co-star. She also has a more passable British accent, whereas Mr. Eddy, who is supposed to be Austrian, doesn't sound credible. George Sanders is seen as the Baron Von Tranisch, a cad who has an eye for spotting good looking women. Ian Hunter, Sig Rumann, and others are seen in supporting roles.

"Bitter Sweet", while enjoyable, is not one the best films the singing stars duo did for MGM.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?