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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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