Sweethearts (1938)

110 or 114 mins | Musical | 30 December 1938

Director:

W. S. Van Dyke

Producer:

Hunt Stromberg

Cinematographer:

Oliver T. Marsh

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The opening credits read: "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in Victor Herbert's Sweethearts photographed in Technicolor." The film incorporates many musical numbers from Victor Herbert's operetta Sweethearts , but the present-day setting for the main story was original to the screen. A written epilog to the film states: "In our screenplay certain dramatic liberties have been taken with the operetta Sweethearts ; we depict the scenes from the operetta as though it was a recent production currently presented by a wholly ficticious producer Felix Lehman and as composed and written by two wholly imaginary persons Oscar Engel and Felix Lehman whereas the stage operetta Sweethearts was actually written and produced on the stage about 1913; Victor Herbert composing the music and Fred de Gresac, Robert B. Smith and Harry B. Smith writing the book and lyrics."
       Sweethearts was M-G-M's first three-strip Technicolor feature film, and the first color film for either Jeanette MacDonald or Nelson Eddy. According to contemporary news items and production charts, filming began on 17 Jun 1938 in black-and-white. After two days, however, the production was interrupted, all of the black-and-white footage was scrapped and filming began again in Technicolor. HR news items note that M-G-M decided to make Sweethearts its first Technicolor film because of delays involved in preparations for Northwest Passage , which was originally intended as M-G-M's first Technicolor production. Other news items note that retakes of some earlier scenes, and at least one of the musical numbers, were directed by Robert Z. Leonard beginning in mid-Aug 1938 when ... More Less

The opening credits read: "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in Victor Herbert's Sweethearts photographed in Technicolor." The film incorporates many musical numbers from Victor Herbert's operetta Sweethearts , but the present-day setting for the main story was original to the screen. A written epilog to the film states: "In our screenplay certain dramatic liberties have been taken with the operetta Sweethearts ; we depict the scenes from the operetta as though it was a recent production currently presented by a wholly ficticious producer Felix Lehman and as composed and written by two wholly imaginary persons Oscar Engel and Felix Lehman whereas the stage operetta Sweethearts was actually written and produced on the stage about 1913; Victor Herbert composing the music and Fred de Gresac, Robert B. Smith and Harry B. Smith writing the book and lyrics."
       Sweethearts was M-G-M's first three-strip Technicolor feature film, and the first color film for either Jeanette MacDonald or Nelson Eddy. According to contemporary news items and production charts, filming began on 17 Jun 1938 in black-and-white. After two days, however, the production was interrupted, all of the black-and-white footage was scrapped and filming began again in Technicolor. HR news items note that M-G-M decided to make Sweethearts its first Technicolor film because of delays involved in preparations for Northwest Passage , which was originally intended as M-G-M's first Technicolor production. Other news items note that retakes of some earlier scenes, and at least one of the musical numbers, were directed by Robert Z. Leonard beginning in mid-Aug 1938 when W. S. Van Dyke II was otherwise engaged on preparations for Northwest Passage (see above). According to a HR news item on 13 Jul 1938, noted conductor-pianist José Iturbi was to make his acting debut in Sweethearts . He was not in the released film, however, and it is unclear if his role was cut or never filmed. Iturbi, who did not make his screen debut until 1944, appeared in several M-G-M films of the decade. Sweethearts was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Sound and one for Herbert Stothart for Best Score. In addition, Oliver Marsh and Allen Davey won a special Oscar for color cinematography. Reviews pointed out the effectiveness of the color in the picture, especially in capturing the brilliant golden red color of MacDonald's hair. MacDonald and Eddy recreated their roles for a 1946 Screen Guild radio broadcast. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Dec 38
p. 3
Film Daily
19 Dec 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 38
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 38
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Dec 38
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Jul 38
p. 42.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Dec 38
p. 37.
New York Times
23 Dec 38
p. 16.
Variety
21 Dec 38
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Olin Howland
Lulu May Bohrman
Arthur "Pop" Byron
Lucille Brown
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Technicolor photog
Technicolor cam crew
Technicolor cam crew
Cam tech
1st cam
Cam crew
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus adpt
Mus presentations
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont eff
Mont eff
DANCE
Dances and ensembles
STAND INS
Vocal stand-in for Miss MacDonald
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dir
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the operetta Sweethearts , book and lyrics by Fred de Gresac, Harry B. Smith and Robert B. Smith, music by Victor Herbert. (New York, 8 Sep 1913).
SONGS
"Sweethearts," "Pretty as a Picture," "Dutch Boy Song," "Badinage," "Ev'ry Lover Must Meet His Fate," "Mademoiselle," "On Parade," "Wooden Shoes," "The Game of Love," "Happy Day" and "Waiting for the Bride," music by Victor Herbert, lyrics by Fred de Gresac, Harry B. Smith and Robert B. Smith, special lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
"Little Grey Home in the West," music by Herman Lohr, lyrics by D. Eardley-Wilmot
"Home, Sweet, Home," music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, lyrics by John Howard Payne
+
SONGS
"Sweethearts," "Pretty as a Picture," "Dutch Boy Song," "Badinage," "Ev'ry Lover Must Meet His Fate," "Mademoiselle," "On Parade," "Wooden Shoes," "The Game of Love," "Happy Day" and "Waiting for the Bride," music by Victor Herbert, lyrics by Fred de Gresac, Harry B. Smith and Robert B. Smith, special lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
"Little Grey Home in the West," music by Herman Lohr, lyrics by D. Eardley-Wilmot
"Home, Sweet, Home," music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, lyrics by John Howard Payne
additional music and lyrics by Herbert Stothart, Bob Wright and Chet Forrest.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Victor Herbert's Sweethearts
Release Date:
30 December 1938
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 December 1938
Production Date:
16 June--13 September 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 December 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8475
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
110 or 114
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4619
SYNOPSIS

On the sixth anniversary of the enormously successful Broadway revival of Victor Herbert's operetta Sweethearts , the show's stars, Gwen Marlowe and Ernest Lane, are also celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary. Gwen and Ernest are still very much in love, but are tired of constantly working and yearn for a vacation away from Broadway and constant pressures put upon them by their respective families. Felix Lehman, their friend and producer, is worried that Gwen and Ernest are planning to leave the show to go to Hollywood and work for Norman Trumpett. Lehman has never had a written contract with the couple, and Trumpett has been intriguing them with stories of casual working conditions in Hollywood. During the show's intermission, Ernest sends Gwen a love note, something he has done during every performance, and suggests that they meet after the show in their "special place." Gwen excitedly prepares for their romantic rendezvous, but when Felix plays on their sympathies by saying that he has planned a huge anniversary party for them, they go to the party, then discover that the party is the setting for a radio broadcast. By the time Gwen and Ernest reach home and have to hear additional demands by their families, they are fed up and decide to take Trumpett up on his offer. The next day, while each goes shopping for travel clothes, Leon Kronk, Felix's librettist, comes up with an idea to split the couple and make Hollywood not want them. Leo inserts lines from Ernest's love letters, which he found in Gwen's dressing room, and reads them to Gwen as part of his new play. He ... +


On the sixth anniversary of the enormously successful Broadway revival of Victor Herbert's operetta Sweethearts , the show's stars, Gwen Marlowe and Ernest Lane, are also celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary. Gwen and Ernest are still very much in love, but are tired of constantly working and yearn for a vacation away from Broadway and constant pressures put upon them by their respective families. Felix Lehman, their friend and producer, is worried that Gwen and Ernest are planning to leave the show to go to Hollywood and work for Norman Trumpett. Lehman has never had a written contract with the couple, and Trumpett has been intriguing them with stories of casual working conditions in Hollywood. During the show's intermission, Ernest sends Gwen a love note, something he has done during every performance, and suggests that they meet after the show in their "special place." Gwen excitedly prepares for their romantic rendezvous, but when Felix plays on their sympathies by saying that he has planned a huge anniversary party for them, they go to the party, then discover that the party is the setting for a radio broadcast. By the time Gwen and Ernest reach home and have to hear additional demands by their families, they are fed up and decide to take Trumpett up on his offer. The next day, while each goes shopping for travel clothes, Leon Kronk, Felix's librettist, comes up with an idea to split the couple and make Hollywood not want them. Leo inserts lines from Ernest's love letters, which he found in Gwen's dressing room, and reads them to Gwen as part of his new play. He then tells Gwen that he has gotten the words from a married man who is in love with another woman. Gwen at first thinks there must be a mistake, but when she sees Ernest secretly slip a note under the bedroom door of Kay Jordan, her secretary, she is convinced of their affair, not knowing that Ernest is merely giving Kay an inscription for an engraved gift for Gwen. Gwen will not listen to reason about Ernest and the two split up. Neither goes to Hollywood; instead, each takes a separate company of Sweethearts on tour. Though they do not call or write, each keeps track of the other by reading stories in Variety . After months of being miserable separated from Ernest, Gwen finally realizes that she has been wrong when Leo's play open on Broadway. Gwen reads the plot in a terrible review in Variety and discovers that Leo has incorporated his trick on her and Ernest into the story. At almost the same moment, Ernest calls her to tell her what a fool he has been and the two decide to reconcile. Back in New York, Gwen and Ernest confront Felix, but find that he still can appeal to their sympathies. Finally, they open in another Broadway revival of Sweethearts , aided by the faithful Kay. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.