18 user 5 critic

Sweethearts (1938)

Passed | | Musical | 30 December 1938 (USA)
The team behind a successful Broadway production tries to stop the married stars from transitioning to Hollywood.


W.S. Van Dyke (as W.S. Van Dyke II), Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)


Fred De Gresac (book) (as Fred de Gresac), Harry B. Smith (book) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanette MacDonald ... Gwen Marlowe
Nelson Eddy ... Ernest Lane
Frank Morgan ... Felix Lehman
Ray Bolger ... Hans
Florence Rice ... Kay Jordan
Mischa Auer ... Leo Kronk
Herman Bing ... Oscar Engel
George Barbier ... Benjamin Silver
Reginald Gardiner ... Norman Trumpett
Fay Holden ... Hannah
Allyn Joslyn ... Dink
Lucile Watson ... Mrs. Marlowe
Gene Lockhart ... Augustus
Kathleen Lockhart ... Aunt Amelia
Berton Churchill ... Sheridan


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Exquisite music . . . sparkling romance for the King and Queen of song ! See more »




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 December 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Enamorados See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of the Times Square marquees is advertising Idiot's Delight (1939) starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne which MGM had just purchased the film rights for. See more »

Crazy Credits

The second of two credit titles for Victor Herbert reads "Immortal Melodies by Victor Herbert". See more »


Featured in Nelson and Jeanette (1992) See more »


(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Victor Herbert (1913)
Lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
Performed by Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
Reprised by them for a radio broadcast with chorus
Later sung by MacDonald with Douglas McPhail and Eddy with Betty Jaynes
See more »

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User Reviews

"All others end the way we start, forever we'll be Sweethearts."
17 March 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Sweethearts is the first of two of the Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy films to be done in technicolor, the second at last being Bittersweet. It is also the first MGM film done in modern technicolor, though in Jeanette's The Cat and the Fiddle, the last 10 minutes were in color. And it is the only one of their films besides Bittersweet where they start off as man and wife.

The original operetta by Victor Herbert was done in 1913 and it was in fact a story set in Holland as the numbers do show. But this film is like the later one Nelson did with Rise Stevens, The Chocolate Soldier, in that he and Stevens are husband and wife appearing in The Chocolate Soldier while the plot of that is taken from Ferenc Molnar's The Guardsman.

Sweethearts has an original script by Dorothy Parker and it involves two happily married singing co-stars of a long running operetta, named Sweethearts. They've been appearing on Broadway for seven years in the same show.

In fact a whole cottage industry has grown up around Sweethearts. Producer Frank Morgan, songwriter Herman Bing, librettist Mischa Auer have had it real good for seven years. They've been quite content to live off the box office of Sweethearts as long as MacDonald and Eddy keep appearing. Also the extended families of both Eddy and MacDonald live off of them as well.

When Reginald Gardiner woos them on behalf of Hollywood producer George Barbier, panic ensues among the ranks of the cottage industry. These people might actually have to go to work.

Knowing Dorothy Parker wrote 50% of the script, you can imagine it is a witty one. Jeanette and Nelson are in good voice and the musical calls for a large number of duets. They sing the title song, For Every Lover Meets His Fate, and an interpolated non Victor Herbert song, Our Little Grey Home in the West in anticipation of their California excursion. In addition Jeanette sings A Summer Serenade which was originally an instrumental Victor Herbert composition entitled Badinage. Robert Wright and Chet Forrest gave it some lyrics for the film. Nelson has a good typical Nelson marching song in On Parade.

After appearing with Nelson Eddy in Rosalie as a sidekick Ray Bolger didn't have as many scenes, but got to show his dancing talent a lot more in the Wooden Shoes number. Jeanette personally interceded with Louis B. Mayer and got Douglas MacPhail and Betty Jaynes cast as their understudies.

MacPhail and Jaynes married later on, but divorced after MacPhail's career took a nosedive in the early Forties. He was a good singer who you might remember appeared with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in Babes in Arms and later introduced the Cole Porter classic, I Concentrate on You in Broadway Melody of 1940. Tragically he took his own life after the divorce for God only knows what reasons.

For Jeanette and Nelson fans and for those who like to see Ray Bolger in something else besides The Wizard of Oz, Sweethearts in highly recommended.

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