6.4/10
354
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 »
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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
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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:

Filled with Noel Coward's songs and harmonies of "America's Sweethearts." See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was first telecast in Philadelphia Friday 12 July 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed by Los Angeles Friday 19 July 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), and by New York City Friday 13 September 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2); in San Francisco it was first aired 12 October 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). At this time, color broadcasting was in its infancy, limited to only a small number of high rated programs, primarily on NBC and NBC affiliated stations, so these film showings were all still in B&W. Viewers were not offered the opportunity to see these films in their original Technicolor until several years later. 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

Remake of Bitter Sweet (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

What Is Love
(1929) (uncredited)
Written by Noël Coward
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
Reprised at Schlick's
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not one of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy's best, but still with much to enjoy
28 August 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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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