4.3/10
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9 user 1 critic

Bittersweet Love (1976)

PG | | Drama, Romance | October 1976 (USA)
Young married couple expecting a baby suddenly discover they are half-brother and sister.

Director:

David Miller
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lana Turner ... Claire Peterson
Robert Lansing ... Howard Lewis
Celeste Holm ... Marian Lewis
Robert Alda ... Ben Peterson
Scott Hylands ... Michael Lewis
Meredith Baxter ... Patricia Peterson (as Meredith Baxter Birney)
Gail Strickland ... Roz
Richard Masur ... Alex
Denise DeMirjian Denise DeMirjian ... Nurse Morrison
John Friedrich ... Josh Lewis
Amanda Gavin Amanda Gavin ... Judy
Jerome Guardino ... Psychiatrist
Jack Jozefson Jack Jozefson ... Mr. Schoste (as Jac Jozefson Jr.)
Vincent Milana Vincent Milana ... Dr. Green (as Vince Milana)
Erik L. Nelson ... Minister (as Erik Nelson)
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Storyline

Los Angeles based architect Michael Lewis and Russian language instructor Patricia Peterson - "Pete" to her friends - meet and quickly fall in love. Although Michael asked her before the news, they decide to get married after Pete announces that she's pregnant with his child. All these events happen before each has had a chance to meet the other's family. As Pete's La Jolla based parents, Ben and Claire Peterson, are traveling the world and will not be back in time for the wedding, Michael and Pete decide to hold the ceremony in Vancouver, where Michael grew up and where his parents, Howard and Marian Lewis, still live. Of the four parents, the one person who is seemingly not happy with what is transpiring in their children's lives is Claire, her uneasiness strengthened when she finally meets Michael for the first time far along into Pete's pregnancy, and views the wedding photographs. Her uneasiness is due to a long held secret she's been keeping, that secret which is now tearing her... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A forbidden love between brother and sister and the nightmare had only begun. At last...a love story that Hollywood had never dared to make. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Birthmark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gig Young was replaced by Robert Lansing after only a few days of shooting, reportedly because he could not remember his lines. See more »

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User Reviews

More bitter than sweet
9 May 2003 | by Poseidon-3See all my reviews

Resembling a TV-movie in story, script, direction, cinematography and music, this late-career entry of Turner's is pretty hapless. Though top-billed, her role is relatively insignificant and she has little to say or do in the film except to face blame for a long ago deed. Single teacher Birney meets architect Hylands (very improbably) as he is fishing in a fountain for his date's car keys. When the date runs off, he and Birney strike up a relationship and, over the course of some "gum commercial"-esque scenes, proceed to live together, get pregnant and plan to wed. Hylands takes Birney to Canada where his parents (Lansing and Holm) live for the wedding. Her parents (Alda and Turner) are on an extended cruise and can't (or won't) be there. At the wedding, Hylands' brother Friedrich snaps endless Polaroids (!) of the backs of the couple's heads, but for a later boat trip, he is shown with a 35mm camera! He takes a picture of Birney with her new father-in-law. Later, when the newlyweds finally meet HER parents, Turner sees the photograph and is aghast. It turns out that she had had a one night stand thirty years ago with Lansing and that Birney is actually his daughter, thus making the happy couple half-siblings who have committed incest and are about to produce a child! The rest of the film involves the decision to have the baby or not and to proceed with the relationship or not. Unfortunately, what could be scintillating, even, for some, titillating drama never gets anywhere because most of the revelations are done offscreen, thus robbing the audience of some good reactions. Also, the true meat of the subject is only skirted around. The feelings and issues of the situation are never fleshed out properly. Birney just always needs time to think. But what about?? Toothy Birney and wiry Hylands manage a few decent moments as a couple and have a degree of chemistry, though neither one has the charisma to carry a feature film. Lansing does pretty well in an understated performance (certainly better off here than he would be in two years on the debacle "Empire of the Ants"!) Holm tries to inject some warmth and class into it, but is wasted. She is improbably matched with Lansing and, at times, looks like his mother. Alda, with some terrible get-ups and a serious comb-over, is also not given much to do with his part. Strickland, appearing briefly at the beginning and later at a party, adds a touch of humor and wit. The film could have used her later on. Someone forgot to tell Turner that it was 1976 and not 1958. She gets about 11 seconds where she can relax and from then on, her character is in a constant state of fret and sorrow. For her, every scene is about what billowing or beaded or tailored concoction she can wear. She even drags out her signature fur coat and head scarf look which was fine in its day, but seems overly melodramatic here. She was 56 years old playing a 51 year-old and looking like a 71 year-old. The cinematographer did her no favors in this movie (nor to Holm or even Birney.) Though top-billed, her appearances are pretty brief and, like everyone else except the couple, she is wasted! The two sets of parents never get any decent confrontation scenes or scenes of discussion or understanding. It's hard to believe that this is the same director who delivered the deliriously campy "Back Street" and "Midnight Lace". The film is so dull and halfhearted. Also, depending on how important the subject of bloodline is to the viewer, it can seem pretty icky. Ultimately, it's so drab and uninvolving that it ceases to matter.


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