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Sweethearts Reviews

Some spice along with the sugar, and most welcome. MGM chose an old chestnut, the 1913 Victor Herbert operetta "Sweethearts," for their first three-color Technicolor movie. Audiences in 1938 were unlikely to accept the original's story about an orphan raised by a laundry operator only to find out that she was a princess by birth, however, so the studio took that plot and turned it into a show-within-the-movie, thereby retaining much of Herbert's score. MGM hired Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell to write an entirely new backstage story, adding witty dialogue and a plot that made logical sense to the operetta's silliness. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy play Gwen Marlowe and Ernest Lane, Broadway stars who have been both happily married and performing in the same hit show, "Sweethearts", for six years. The pair are tempted by the thought of taking a break from the arduous life of the stage and going to Hollywood, a threat to their Broadway producer, Felix Lehman (Frank Morgan), and the various other people who bank on Gwen and Ernest's talents. Lehman manipulates Gwen's jealousy to keep the show going, which eventually causes the couple to split and go on separate tours with different costars. Both come to their senses at the same time, however, and they reunite to walk into Lehman's office with movie contracts in hand, telling him they're leaving. He sobs and pleads with them to stay, whereupon Gwen and Ernest break out in smiles and sign for another six years--since what could be more fun than starring in a Broadway show with the one you love? The Parker-Campbell script is witty, wise, and gently satirical; the songs, primarily by Herbert, have new lyrics by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright. A large budget, lavish and numerous production numbers, and a great sense of fun make SWEETHEARTS a most enjoyable movie.