6.2/10
387
12 user 6 critic

Bitter Sweet (1940)

A woman runs away with her music teacher in order to escape an arranged marriage, but they struggle to make ends meet.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke (as W.S. Van Dyke II)

Writers:

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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Musical | Romance | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

On a Louisiana-bound ship, a nobleman planning a campaign for liberty encounters an heiress.

Directors: Robert Z. Leonard, W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Mary Boland
Certificate: AL Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An aging opera singer looks back on her long life, including her relationships with her vocal teacher and a student.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, John Barrymore
Sweethearts (1938)
Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The team behind a successful Broadway production tries to stop the married stars from transitioning to Hollywood.

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Morgan
Fantasy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A count who ignores an infatuated secretary thinks he has met his match when an angel from Heaven shows up.

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

A bandit disguises himself as an officer in an attempt to woo a saloon singer.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Walter Pidgeon
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Rick Belrow Livingston, in love with Broadway star Lisa, is sentenced to 30 days in jail for speeding through a small town. He persuades the judge's daughter Cindy to let him leave for one ... See full summary »

Director: László Kardos
Stars: Jane Powell, Farley Granger, Ann Miller
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
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After being released from his bottle by Harold Ventimore, the genie Fakrash commits himself to improving his new master's life. The only problem is that instead of helping Harold, Fakrash ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Keller
Stars: Tony Randall, Burl Ives, Barbara Eden
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In order to cover up his philandering ways, a married Broadway producer sets one of his dancers up on a date with a chorus girl for whom he had bought a gift, but the two dancers fall in love for real.

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
Spring Parade (1940)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In this light and lovely romantic musical, a Hungarian woman(Deanna Durbin) attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller. It says that she will meet someone important... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Robert Cummings, Mischa Auer
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

George and Catherine Apley of Boston lead a proper life in the proper social circle, as did the Apleys before them. When grown daughter Eleanor falls in love with Howard (from New York!), ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Ronald Colman, Vanessa Brown, Richard Haydn
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The late, great impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. looks down from Heaven and ordains a new revue in his grand old style.

Directors: Lemuel Ayers, Roy Del Ruth, and 5 more credits »
Stars: William Powell, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanette MacDonald ... Sarah Millick
Nelson Eddy ... Carl Linden
George Sanders ... Baron von Tranisch
Ian Hunter ... Lord Shayne
Felix Bressart ... Max
Edward Ashley ... Harry Daventry
Lynne Carver ... Dolly
Diana Lewis ... Jane
Curt Bois ... Ernst
Fay Holden ... Mrs. Millick
Sig Ruman ... Herr Schlick (as Sig Rumann)
Janet Beecher ... Lady Daventry
Charles Judels ... Herr Wyler
Veda Ann Borg ... Manon
Herman Bing ... 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:

Technicolor's Greatest Spectacle! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amarga dulzura See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Except for a few shots where she was doubled by Audrey Scott, Jeanette MacDonald did most of her own horseback riding. 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 »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on a sewing sampler. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Miracle of Sound (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Zigeuner (The Gypsy)
(1929) (uncredited)
Written by Noël Coward
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald in the operetta finale
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Tokay
28 March 2006 | by jotix100See 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 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 12 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed