Bitter-Sweet Aka Bitter Sweet For Text Search… 1929

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    Film record of a performance of the Noel Coward play "Bitter-Sweet". Unedited material, no soundtrack. Shot from a stationary camera position showing the whole stage set.

    Reel 2. L/S of stage set which represents a large room in a country house or possibly some kind of dancing venue. A man plays a piano and there is a drum kit beside him. A woman in an evening dress stands centre stage and sings. A man in evening dress sits on a sofa and listens. The woman walks to the side of the stage and lights a cigarette. The couple have an argument and the man leaves. The woman looks distressed and sits on the sofa.

    Same set, this time filled with the chorus who sit on the floor listening to an older woman who makes a speech. The pianist is persuaded to play and the chorus stand up and begin to dance. They join hands, dancing in a circle and eventually dance out of the room. Man closes the door on the older woman and young woman in evening dress. The older woman appears to be making a dramatic speech. She leaves the stage.

    Same set with different furnishings - the chorus seem to be dressed in the style of an earlier time. Couples chat then slowly leave the room. A group of women remain and they parade around with their fans, presumably singing a song or making speeches.

    A very elaborately dressed woman enters the room and is greeted by the room's occupants. A discussion ensues then the occupants leave the room. Jump cut to short discussion scene between the elaborately dressed woman and a suitor.

    Different set - probably representing a a cafe in Vienna. Dancing and cabaret performers including a woman in a sequined outfit who dances and sings. Couples dance around the set. Suddenly a couple are forced apart by a smartly dressed young man. He challenges a man in military uniform. The women pull him away. A duel ensues - they fence. The smartly dressed young man appears to have been killed.

    Different set - couples stand at the front of the stage dressed in old fashioned costumes. They do a dainty swaying dance then a swirling polka style dance. The men leave the stage and the women pull up chairs and sit down.

    Back to the cafe in Vienna. Chorus dressed in aprons clean up the cafe, a woman in the foreground cleans the floor on her knees. The cleaners leave the stage. A group of women who have been sitting at a table in the corner move to the front of the stage and sing a song - they dance a little bit too.

    Another scene in the Viennese cafe. A group of men in military uniform perform a song in the centre of the stage, women in evening dress watch. A group of dancers entertain the clientele of the cafe with a jaunty dance. Cabaret performer in sequined frock performs a little song centre stage.

    Closer view of the stage. It is a drawing room set, man plays the piano and a woman sings. She wears an old fashioned dress with a train, presumably this part of the action is set earlier than the 1920s - probably Edwardian. The pianist and the singer flirt a little. They have a conversation and then possibly a disagreement. The man kisses the woman's hand. Suddenly the door opens and another woman enters. The couple quickly separate. A man enters the room and there is wringing of hands and a dramatic exit by the pianist. The singer throws herself onto the sofa, crying.

    Different set - a ballroom. Couples dance. Conversational scene follows. A man plays the violin as a couple argue with each other. Man storms off leaving the woman at the front of the stage singing a song. The chorus enters. She continues with her song.

    Drawing room set. Men in evening dress enter. They look rather fey, posing with hands on hips. They walk to the front of the stage and sing a song. They move around to the music in a mildly camp manner. Ends.

    Note: Play also referred to as Bitter Sweet (without the hyphen) for text search purposes.

    This version of the play starred Evelyn Laye and Ivy St Helier, both of whom are seen in the footage.

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    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:26:27:00 / 01:50:25:00
    Sort Number:
  • Appears in...

    Fashion & Music Entertainment & Humour
    Noel Coward Fencing Stories Prince George, Duke of Kent
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