Sweethearts (1938)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Romance, Operetta  |   Release Date - Dec 22, 1938 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Sweethearts is one of the most enjoyable of the Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy series of operettas. While it lacks both the iconic stature and the inclusion of "classic" MacDonald-Eddy duets associated with some of their more revered outings, Sweethearts is possessed of something much more rare: a genuinely amusing screenplay. In most of the pair's outings, the script ranges from middling to poor, with the films saved by the musical moments. Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell's screenplay for Sweethearts, totally dispending with the story of the original stage production, is a delight. It starts with amusing and workable (if admittedly far-fetched) premise and builds upon this foundation with dialogue that is often very witty. MacDonald, an excellent comedienne, gets a chance to flex her underused comic muscles, and even Eddy comes alive here: he's no farceur, but he is livelier and more engaging in his dialogue scenes than one expects. And, of course, the duo is in great voice, handling some gorgeous Victor Herbert melodies, clothed in elaborate costumes and photographed lovingly in Technicolor. Throw in a marvelous dance near the beginning from Ray Bolger and the always dependable Frank Morgan and the result is a winner.