CREDITS
BACKGROUND
PLOT
COMMENTARY
REVIEWS
RECORDINGS
MUSIC IN THE FILM
TRIVIA – The Miracle of Sound 
MOVIE GOOFS


MGM
Released November 8, 1940.
Directed by W. S. Van Dyke II.
Produced by Victor Saville.
94 minutes.
Technicolor.

Italian and Portuguese title: Divino Tormento (Divine torment)
French title: Emporte Mon Coeur (Take my heart)

Based on the stage production by Noël Coward. Screenplay: Lesser Samuels. Music Director: Herbert Stothart. Camera: Oliver Marsh with Allen Davey. Art Director: Cedric Gibbons. Gibbons Associate: John S. Detlie. Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis. Recording Director: Douglas Shearer. Musical Pres­entation: Merrill Pye. Technicolor Director: Natalie Kalmus. Kalmus Associate: Henri Jaffa. Gowns: Adrian. Men’s Costumes: Gile Steele. Hairstyles for Miss MacDonald: Sydney Guilaroff. Makeup: Jack Dawn. Editor: Harold F. Kress. Dance Director: Ernst Matray. Assistant Director: Hugh Boswell. Techni­color Photography: Allen Davey. Miss MacDonald’s French Instructor: Ann Harriette Lee.

Noël Coward’s masterpiece opened in London at His Majesty’s Theatre on July 18, 1929. It starred George Metaxa (Swing Time) as “Carl” and American Peggy Wood as “Sari.” English Evelyn Laye (whom MGM later tried to lure to America as a backup for Jeanette) starred in the New York premiere, which opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on November 5, 1929, with Gerald Nodin as “Carl.” The 1933 British film, released in the United States through United Artists, was directed by Herbert Wilcox and starred Anna Neagle, Fernand Graavey, and Ivy St. Helier, who recreated the stage rôle of “Manon.”

Jeanette subsequently toured in a summer stock production of Bitter Sweet that played in Louisville, Pittsburgh, and St. Charles, Illinois in 1954, Dallas in 1955, and Warren, Ohio and Detroit in 1959.

Jeanette MacDonald (Sarah Millick / “Sari”)
Nelson Eddy (Carl Linden)
Ian Hunter (Lord Shayne)
George Sanders (Captain von Tranisch)
Felix Bressart (Max)
Curt Bois (Ernst)
Edward Ashley (Harry Daventry)
Fay Holden (Mrs. Millick)
Diana Lewis (Jane)
Charles Judels (Herr Wyler)
Lynne Carver (Dolly)
Sig Rumann (Herr Schlick)
Janet Beecher (Lady Daventry)
Veda Ann Borg (Manon)
Herman Bing (Market keeper)
Greta Meyer (Mama Luden)
Philip Winter (Edgar)
Dalies Frantz (Roger)
Armand Kaliz (Headwaiter)
Alexander Pollard (Butler)
Colin Campbell (Sir Arthur Fenchurch)
Art Berry Sr (Cabby)
General Sam Savitsky (Bearded man in station)
Howard Lang (Pawnbroker)
Lester Scharff [Sharpe], Hans Joby, Jeff Corey (Men on Carl’s stairs)
Paul E. Burns (Lathered man)
Hans Conreid, John Hendrick (Men at Mama Luden’s) *
Ruth Tobey (Market keeper’s child)
Warren Rock (Wyler’s secretary)
William Tannen (Secretary at employment agency)
Davison Clark (Attendant)
Pamela Randall, Muriel Goodspeed (Singers at Schlick’s) *
Erno “Ernst” Verebes (Orderly)
Earl Wallace (Wine waiter)
Louis Natheaux (Officer)
Margaret Bert (Woman on stairs)
Julius Tannen (Schlick’s companion)
Armand Cortes (Second croupier)
Irene Colman, June Wilkins (Women in casino)
Jack Chefe, Gino Corrado (Waiters)
Max Barwyn (Bartender)
Eugene Beday (Civilian)
Paul Oman (Gypsy violinist, “Ziegeuner”)
Kay Williams (Entertainer extra)
Major Sam Harris (Dining officer extra)
Jean De Briac (Croupier)
Rosemarie Brancato, Jack Powell, Mauricette Melbourne, Katharine Harns, Neal Kennedy, Andrew Grieve (Stage performers)
J. Delos Jewkes (Bass singer at Mama Luden’s)
Leni Lynn (Singer)
Charles Prescott, Tim Stark (Bits)
Music Hall Rockettes, Corps de Ballet, and Glee Club
Ann Harriette Lee (“Tokay” singing double for MacDonald)**
Lorraine Bridges (MacDonald’s vocal stand-in)**
Earl Covert (Eddy’s vocal stand-in)**

* Although these characters have no names in the film, they are listed in the American Film Institute index as “Rudolph” (Conried), “Fritz” (Hendrick), “Hansi” (Randall), and “Freda” (Goodspeed).

** These credits appear in The American Film Institute Catalog: Feature Films, 1931-1940, p. 170. A footnote states: “Some of the lyrics in the ‘Tokay’ number were dubbed for JMacD by Ann Harriette Lee, who also instructed MacDonald in French accents and pronunciation for the number.” This highly unlikely information comes from misunder­standing payroll records. Jeanette does not sing “Tokay”! Nor does any song require Jeanette to sing in French, something she had already done in several films. (She made complete French-language versions of at least two films, The Merry Widow and One Hour with You.) Vocal doubles were used for orchestra rehearsals only.

Oscar nomination for Color Cinematography – Oliver T. Marsh and Allen Davey
Oscar nomination for Color Interior Decoration – Cedric Gibbons and John S. Detlie

Bitter Sweet was presented on the Railroad Hour (radio), 1/17/49, with Jeanette and Gordon MacRae.


Background

Nöel Coward’s romantic masterpiece, Bitter Sweet, had burst on the London and New York stages in 1929. The twenty-nine-year-old Coward was already a noted playwright, actor, and songwriter when he set out to be a twentieth-century Renaissance man, creating the book, lyrics, and music for an operetta.

A costume piece that covered fifty years of love’s suffering, Bitter Sweet avoided the cloying trivialities of operetta, especially English operetta, with a story of razor-sharp irony. Using the operetta form, Coward created characters with definite character flaws and turned them loose in a milieu that might have inspired Brecht. It was a “realism” that would not be repeated until Pal Joey eleven years later. The story was indeed “bittersweet.”

When Jeanette went to England in 1932, one of the plums held out by producer Herbert Wilcox was Bitter Sweet. However, she returned to Paramount, and Bitter Sweet reached the screen in 1933 with Anna Neagle and Fernand Graavey (spelling changed to Gravet for American audiences) in the leads and Ivy St. Helier recreating her stage rôle of “Manon.” MGM later used the skeleton of Coward’s story and many of his unforgettable songs to fashion a vehicle for MacDonald and Eddy.

Even the most devout Cowardite might have forgiven the liberties taken with the source materials if a new entity had emerged, but this didn’t quite happen. The audiences were uncritical if not wildly enthusiastic, but the critics were harsh and Coward himself wept when he saw the MGM film.

This was perhaps overreaction, for Bitter Sweet is not an unpleasant film if one forgets the exquisitely subtle source material. The MGM Bitter Sweet is not subtle. It attempts to recapture the hearty jocularity and good fellowship of Sweethearts and frequently succeeds, but the efforts of its stars show too clearly.

The stage Bitter Sweet concerned a stiff, repressed little English girl who runs off to Vienna with her dashing music teacher. There she discovers “life” in all its beauty and ugliness. A major character is Manon, the hero’s discarded mistress, who sings the “Vissi d’Arte” of the musical comedy world, “If Love Were All.” In Vienna, the girl arouses the interest of a lecherous officer who casually kills her husband. She then spends the rest of her years and the operetta seeking security and remembering love.

Our film heroine is not followed much past the loss of her husband, so we know nothing of her later activities. (It is a curious phenomenon that, barring simultaneous expiration, the heroine invariably dies in opera—(La Bohème, La Traviata, Carmenwhile in operetta or musical comedy it is always the hero who succumbs—Bitter Sweet, Carousel, The King and I, West Side Story.) Our film hero is also relieved of his former mistress, which makes the film much more wholesome and much less touching.

The best musical numbers from the stage version were understandably divided up between the two principals, which gave Eddy a chance to sing the robust “Tokay” and let Miss Mac­Donald frolic through the naughty “Ladies of the Town.” Two Coward characters were combined into one villain rôle for George Sanders, and the stage format of an old woman advising a young girl through a flashback to her own youth, though filmed, was wisely abandoned, since it had already been borrowed for use in Maytime.

Eddy has his two now-mandatory sidekicks played by veteran Felix Bressart and by little Curt Bois, who could convey more with a look than many actors with a page of dialogue. Herman Bing provides a pleasant comedy sequence. However, all the hair bows in the world can’t convince us that Jeanette is eighteen or English or repressed, and Eddy makes no attempt at depicting a romantic Viennese rake. They are simply Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy singing the exquisite Coward songs and not presuming to anything else. If we wonder at the sight of them starving in a garret when just one of Miss MacDonald’s many Adrian gowns would bring enough at a pawnshop to keep them for a month, it is not their fault. The music is just too beautiful and the stars too earnest for us to quibble.


Plot

We first see Sarah Millick (Jeanette) at her singing lesson with her Viennese teacher, Carl Linden (Nelson). It is spring in London, but Carl is homesick. He tells Sarah of the spring festivals in his country, where everything is so much gayer. He has enjoyed teaching her, singing with her, but now that she is getting married, he is going away. This is the last time he will see her, except in the crowd at the party tonight. He leads her in her scales which evolve into the haunting “I’ll See You Again.”

Sarah’s mother (Fay Holden, perhaps best remembered as Andy Hardy’s mother) and Sarah’s stodgy fiancé, Harry Daventry (Edward Ashley) interrupt them. Harry’s icy snobbery is laid on with a musical comedy trowel, somewhat blunting the subtlety of his insults to this “foreigner.” There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to Sarah’s course.

At the party that night, Sarah’s high spirits disconcert Harry and her future mother-in-law (Janet Beecher). Sweet little baby-talking Jane (Diana Lewis) twines herself around Harry’s arm, sympathizing with his distress. Sarah’s friend, Dolly (Lynne Carver of Maytime), matches Sarah’s mood and cheers when Sarah dumps claret on an elderly gentleman who has been too free in patting the girls.

Carl is present as a paid entertainer. He sings “If You Could Only Come with Me,” and it is obvious it is meant for one person. Sarah can no longer mask her feelings with vivacity. Fighting tears, she ridicules his song in front of everyone and orders him to play something gay. He launches into the exciting, off-beat waltz “What is Love?” and she takes up the song, circling the dance floor alone.

Harry is horrified at this exhibition, but Sarah is oblivious. She follows Carl into the garden, and he tells her of Vienna. Everything is so warm and haphazard there. Even her name would be different. She would be called “Sari” (pronounced “Shari”). Of course, she could never go there with him. He has nothing to offer her. Her wedding is all arranged. He can’t support her. Her new house is waiting for her. How long will it take her to pack?

They recruit the excited Dolly to get Sarah’s trunks ready and send them to the station. Sarah returns to the party, kisses her bewildered mother, and slips off to join Carl in a cab. “Where to?” asks the driver. “Vienna,” Carl sighs happily.

Sarah, now “Sari,” gets her first glimpse of St. Stephen’s Cathedral from the train window. The sight of Vienna’s traditional sign of good luck is cut short by a cinder in her eye. Oh, well, Carl tells her, she’ll see plenty of it in the future. She will also see plenty of the Imperial Hussars, especially one Captain von Tranisch (George Sanders), who attempts a conquest while Sari waits for Carl to collect their luggage. Von Tranisch returns her handkerchief amidst clicking heels and compliments, much to Carl’s amusement.

In the crowded station, Sari is startled by a little man who leaps out at them uttering wild whoops. It is Carl’s friend, Ernst (Curt Bois). A tall, long-legged man with a drooping moustache comes galloping toward them like a drunken gazelle and takes Sari in his arms. It is Carl’s friend, Max (Felix Bressart). A third man with enormous chin whiskers strides toward her, beaming, and Sari offers her cheek expectantly. He is a perfect stranger.

Carl and Sari are anxious to get home, but first Max and Ernst insist they all dine together. At dinner, the newlyweds learn that their apartment is not quite as Carl left it. Their wedding has been so popular with Carl’s friends, that, piece by piece, all his furniture has been pawned to pay for refreshments. Carl sends Max and Ernst to retrieve his possessions, and Sari comments that it would have been very romantic to be carried over the threshold of a pawnshop. Carl carries his bride over his own threshold and up the endless stairs, resorting to the fireman’s carry for the last flight. His apartment is empty except for Max and Ernst’s wedding present: a gilt-framed portrait of Max and Ernst.

At Mama Luden’s café, Sari is introduced to Carl’s friends. Mama Luden (Greta Meyer) brings out a barrel of tokay that she has been saving, and Carl sings the exuberant hymn to wine, “Tokay.” Sari, in turn, is asked for a sample of her singing prowess and responds with a lively cabaret song, “Love in Any Language,” sung in a heavy French accent, a charming number but certainly an unusual “introduction.”

In their garret, Carl is working on his operetta, repeating one refrain over and over in a major key. Suddenly he switches to a minor key, and we recognize “Zigeuner.” Sari has sung it “wrong” and given him the idea. The operetta is now finished: Zigeuner by Carl Linden.

He goes off to sell his masterpiece to Herr Wyler, the great impresario, and Sari goes off to shop for dinner. Max and Ernst are coming for Chicken Paprika. (She walks down “Quality Street,” a set built for the Marion Davies film of that name in 1927.) She is examining a scrawny chicken far beyond her means when a terrible sound greets her ears. Upstairs in the grocer’s apartment, a young girl (Ruth Tobey) is mutilating Rosina’s aria, “Una Voce Poco Fa,” from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

Quickly, Sari persuades the grocer (Herman Bing) that his child’s voice is in danger. Now, if he were to hire a professional singing teacher!

A few minutes later, Carl also passes the grocery and hears the yowling. When he learns that the grocer has traded a chicken for a singing lesson, he sees his duty. He convinces the now thoroughly confused little man that the hideous noises issuing from upstairs mean that the new teacher is ruining his daughter’s voice. The grocer mounts the stairs in a rage, followed by Carl. He throws open the door, and Sari and Carl confront each other. A plot, the grocer decides. Sari and Carl unite to convince him of their skill. Singing at the top of their lungs, they are slowly forced out the door by the shrieking grocer. The door slams. The grocer sighs. The door bursts open and the pair sings the last high note full blast, as the little man quivers.

Back home chickenless, Sari and Carl sing of their hopes and plans to own a “Dear Little Café.” What will they tell Max and Ernst? Carl wonders. “As the evening wears on, they’re sure to find out.” Max and Ernst arrive bearing enormous baskets of food. Carl and Sari look suspiciously around the apartment. The sofa is gone.

Max has a plan to alleviate their mutual poverty. They will all go to Baden and sing for the millionaires who take the baths. Degrading, Carl replies. Not at all, says Max. If you can sing in your own bath, why not sing in someone else’s?

Above the plop-plop of the mud springs and swish of steam, we hear their voices drifting into the luxurious spa from the street. Their singing also carries to the nearby gambling casino where our old friend, Captain von Tranisch, is playing banco with the English Lord Shayne (Ian Hunter). Suddenly, Lord Shayne realizes that the music has stopped, and so has his luck. He sends a waiter with a five-hundred-gulden note and a request to continue. The song resumes. Von Tranisch loses.

Perhaps the lady at the Captain’s elbow is causing his misfortune. She is Manon (Veda Ann Borg, just recovered from facial surgery following an auto accident), a cabaret singer at the Captain’s favorite café.

Von Tranisch stalks to the window and recognizes the street singer as the lady he met on the train. He sends an anonymous note out to her. If she and her friends prefer singing indoors, they are to go to Herr Schlick’s café.

The little troupe happily accept employment at Schlick’s Café, thinking that Lord Shayne is their benefactor. Actually, Herr Schlick (Sig Rumann) is only interested in keeping von Tranisch happy and the Imperial Hussars as customers. Von Tranisch’s happiness depends on ready access to Sari, but unfortunately he is called away on maneuvers. Sari is baffled at being kept on salary with nothing to do. After two weeks she confronts Herr Schlick, who leeringly tells her that at last she will have something to do. The Imperial Hussars have returned.

It is a gala night at the café, whose decor resembles a Victorian Versailles. Sari encoun­ters both von Tranisch and Lord Shayne. Lord Shayne tells her that it isn’t often a lady sings under a gentleman’s window. It gives him all sorts of chivalrous ideas, he says sharply, glaring at von Tranisch. Sari is at last called on to sing. She joins two of the other girls (Pamela Randall, Muriel Goodspeed) in the lively “Ladies of the Town.” Sari’s duties also include dancing with the customers, and von Tranisch claims a waltz. He claims a number of other things too, and Sari laughs until she realizes that she and Carl owe their livelihood to him. Her dismay is doubled when her former fiancé, Harry, and lisping little Jane find her in von Tranisch’s arms. Harry, who so detests foreigners, has been sent to Vienna by the Foreign Office with his new bride. He is appalled to find Sarah in this condition of degradation and tells Carl so.

Sari tells Carl nothing, but refuses ever to go back to the café. Von Tranisch arrives the next night at Herr Schlick’s for his rendezvous. Schlick is frantic when he learns that Sari has quit. He tries to explain to von Tranisch that she is married and English, but von Tranisch will not make allowances. It is clear that the Hussars will take their business elsewhere if Sari does not appear. (At this point we hear Manon’s wistful “If Love Were All” used as a bouncy dance tune.)

Desperate conditions require desperate measures. Schlick tells Max and Ernst, now dishwashers, that the great impresario, Herr Wyler, is expected that night. What a shame that Sari couldn’t sing Carl’s operetta for him. Sari arrives within minutes, dressed in an exquisite apricot brocade gown.

Carl smells a rat and demands to know where Herr Wyler is. Schlick splutters and starts making excuses. (Actor Sig Rumann was a master interpreter of Germanic slyness and bombast and had been the Marx Brothers’ principal target in A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races.) A passing waiter informs the astonished Schlick that Wyler is indeed there, accompanied by Lord Shayne. With Carl at the piano, Sari waltzes around the room, singing “What Is Love?”

Von Tranisch watches her throughout the number, obviously drunk. As she dances past his table, he seizes her. “You look lonely, dancing by yourself.” Carl starts toward them as von Tranisch kisses her. Without thinking, Carl knocks him to the floor.

The crowd stands frozen. The honor of the Hussars is at stake. Carl is handed a sword to defend himself. Sari is frantic with fear, but Carl thrusts her aside toward Lord Shayne. “Will you take care of my wife, please?” It is sheer bravado on Carl’s part, for he has never dueled. Von Tranisch finishes him with one thrust, and Sari sinks weeping beside him. Fade out.

Harry and Jane mount the stairs to Sari’s flat to offer condolences. It’s outrageous, says Jane, that the neighbors should be playing music under such circumstances. The music is coming from behind the Linden door, and they find Sari standing beside the piano, singing Carl’s songs for Herr Wyler and Lord Shayne. Sari won’t go back to England with Harry and Jane, she says. This is her home now, here with everything Carl loved. Herr Wyler is going to produce Carl’s operetta. Sari begins singing “Zigeuner” for him, but can’t get through it. Sobbing, she puts her head against Carl’s picture, as Harry and Jane smirkingly take their leave.

The “Zigeuner” music is taken up by a full orchestra. It is opening night, and Lord Shayne wishes Sari well. (In the original version, he is Sari’s second husband.) On stage, we are treated to a stunning visual treatment of the “Zigeuner” ballet, the sets and costumes all in sepia and white. Sari, as the gypsy princess is presented with a single rose by her hand­maidens. She hears the strains of a gypsy (“zigeuner”) violin and follows it. The rest of the ballet is a superb “gypsy” dance, interrupted midwayby Carl’s voice singing “I’ll See You Again.”

Especially charming is the performance of Paul Oman as the Zigeuner of the title. Though he hasn’t a line, he draws the eye whenever he is on camera. The lush perfection of this number makes the deficiencies of the rest of the film all the more regrettable.

Still in her stage costume, Sari runs up the stairs to her apartment, the audience’s ovations ringing in her ears. She stands at the window looking out over moonlit Vienna. “Carl…they heard your music tonight. The things we dreamed came true.”

She begins singing “I’ll See You Again” very slowly. Carl’s face appears in the clouds and joins her. The effect is just a bit too startling for genuine pathos. For all but the most innocent heart, the film ends with a synthetic tug at the heartstrings.


Commentary

Coward himself vowed that no more of his works would ever be done in Hollywood, and he kept that promise. (The rights to We Were Dancing had already been acquired, and it was filmed after Bitter Sweet.) His plays were thereafter filmed in England where, he felt, his integrity as the creating artist was preserved.

A word should be said about “corn.” There is nothing so basic to satisfying film-or theatre-going as total emotional response to a situation. It doesn’t matter how much of a cliché the situation is if it works. Whether it’s Love Story or Lassie, Come Home, the most sophisticated audience loves to be moved. This very willingness to be “taken” has an equal and opposite reaction: anger and derision when the given stimuli—the pink-nosed puppy or the dying child—is handled clumsily and does not produce the desired effect. Much of Bitter Sweet is overwritten and overplayed. We would gladly forgive this if it worked. It doesn’t.


Reviews

Reviewers were undecided whether it was the source material that was dated or the film itself. The New York Daily News gave it three stars but said, “[it] drips with Technicolor and sentimentality…Miss MacDonald and Mr. Eddy, both in fine voice, recall memories of another day.”

The New York Post used adjectives like “Technicolor,” “elaborate,” and “expensive,” but not in an entirely favorable sense. They rated the film only fair to good on their dial: “Miss MacDonald is a red-haired, blue-eyed perfect Technicolor subject. Her wardrobe is stunningly picturesque (ladies will adore it), her voice lovely. Mr. Eddy, who gives over the bulk of camera footage and song to his pretty partner, doesn’t get much of a break even when he’s under lens focus.”

The New York Times’s Bosley Crowther was most concerned about the original: “…Metro’s battered screen version…patched together out of Mr. Coward’s fragile and tender work. Miss MacDonald and Mr. Eddy play it all with such an embarrassing lack of ease—she with self-conscious high spirits and he with painful pomposity.”


Recordings

“Dear Little Café” (Eddy)
“If You Could Only Come with Me” (Eddy)
“I’ll See You Again” (recorded separately by both MacDonald and Eddy)
“Tokay” (Eddy)
“Zigeuner” (MacDonald)

Eddy also recorded “Call of Life” from the original score.


Music in the Film

All music by Noël Coward except where indicated. In listing performers after each title, “and” denotes a genuine duet, while commas between names indicate a sequence of singers. Overture:

“I’ll See You Again,” “Tokay,”
“I’ll See You Again” (MacDonald and Eddy)
Polka (orchestral) – credited to Coward, source uncertain
“If You Could Only Come with Me” (Eddy)
“What Is Love?” (Eddy, MacDonald)
“Tokay” (Eddy and male chorus)
“Love in Any Language” (MacDonald with Eddy, Curt Bois, Felix Bressart, male chorus)
– based on “Bonne Nuit, Merci!” from stage version, new lyrics by Gus Kahn
“Una Voce Poco Fa” from The Barber of Seville (Georgia Stark dubbing for Ruth Tobey)
– music by Gioacchino Rossini, libretto by Cesare Sterbini
“What Is Love?” reprise (MacDonald, Eddy)
“Dear Little Café” (MacDonald and Eddy) – with additional lyrics by Gus Kahn
“If You Could Only Come with Me” reprise (MacDonald and Eddy)
“Kiss Me” [“before you go away”] (MacDonald)
Rehearsal fragment: “Kiss Me” (MacDonald), “Ladies of the Town” (orchestral)
“The Last Dance” (orchestra at Schlick’s Café)
“Ladies of the Town” (Trio: MacDonald, Pamela Randall, and Muriel Goodspeed)
– new lyrics by Gus Kahn
“What Is Love?” reprise (MacDonald and Eddy)
“Dear Little Café” reprise (MacDonald)
“Zigeuner” (MacDonald sings, orchestral dance number) – containing fragments of
Bartok’s Rhapsody #1, Kodaly’s “Hary Janos Suite,” and Fritz Kriesler’s
“Caprice Viennois;” Eddy sings fragment of “I’ll See You Again”
“I’ll See You Again” reprise (Eddy and MacDonald)
Finale: “I’ll See You Again” (orchestral)

Songs from the stage production used in the film are “I’ll See You Again,” “If You Could Only Come with Me,” “What is Love?” “Tokay,” “Dear Little Café,” “Kiss Me,” “The Last Dance,” “Ladies of the Town” (with new lyrics), and “Zigeuner.” “Bonne Nuit, Merci!” became “Love in Any Language.” “Call of Life” and “If Love Were All” are background music.


Trivia

Behind-the-scenes footage is used in an 11-minute 1940 short, The Miracle of Sound. Directed and narrated by MGM’s sound genius Douglas Shearer, the “infomercial” ostensibly shows how sound is recorded, serving as a free plug for the forthcoming film in the guise of an entertainment short. Nelson and Jeanette, with director W.S. Van Dyke, can be seen shooting the “Dear Little Café” scene.


Movie Goofs

During the song “Tokay,” Carl picks up a glass of wine for Sari, but then hands her his own glass, which is almost completely empty! A moment later, however, it is completely full. Then Carl hands both their glasses to a friend to hold while they bounce exuberantly on the wooden table, but when they are handed their glasses back, apparently someone has been sipping from Sari’s glass for the wine level is significantly lower. (Minami Pennington)