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That Midnight Kiss (1949)

Approved | | Musical, Romance | 20 January 1950 (Australia)
In Philadelphia, the soprano Prudence Budell returns from Europe after a period of five years training in the best Europeans music schools. Her millionaire grandmother Abigail Trent Budell ... See full summary »



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Director: Edward A. Blatt
Stars: Jean Sullivan, Philip Dorn, Irene Manning


Cast overview, first billed only:
José Iturbi (as Jose Iturbi)
Abigail Trent Budell
Johnny Donnetti
Artie Geoffrey Glenson
Papa Donnetti
Michael Pemberton
Guido Russino Betelli
Mamma Donnetti
Amparo Iturbi ...
Amparo Iturbi
Bridget Carr ...
Donna Donnetti
Amparo Ballester ...
Rosina Donnetti
Mme. Bouget


In Philadelphia, the soprano Prudence Budell returns from Europe after a period of five years training in the best Europeans music schools. Her millionaire grandmother Abigail Trent Budell sponsors an opera company under the command of the famous maestro Jose Iturbi to give a chance to Prudence to lead an opera. They hire the also famous tenor Guido Russino Betelli, but Prudence does not feel comfortable with him on the stage. When Prudence accidentally sees the American-Italian truck driver Johnny Donnetti singing opera, she convinces Jose Iturbi to give a chance to Johnny. They fall in love for each other, but when Prudence visits his work to tell that he will be hired, she meets Mary and she believes Johnny is in love of his colleague. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The biggest kiss in movie history!


Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 January 1950 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

El beso de medianoche  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although this was officially Mario Lanza's film debut, he had previously appeared as an uncredited chorus member in Winged Victory (1944). Like the character he plays in the movie, Lanza was an opera singer from an Italian-American family in Philadelphia. See more »


Abigail Trent Budell: Every opera singer should fall in love with her tenor, or composer, or baritone, or conductor. I'm glad it's a tenor. We could use one.
See more »


References In the Good Old Summertime (1949) See more »


Revolutionary Etude
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Performed by José Iturbi
See more »

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User Reviews

A singing truck driver makes an operatic splash
4 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Mario Lanza made his film debut in "That Midnight Kiss" costarring Kathryn Grayson, Ethel Barrymore, Jose Iturbi, Keenan Wynn, Thomas Gomez, Marjorie Reynolds, and Jules Munshin. The script was tailor-made for Lanza, set in his home town of Philadelphia. It was this film that nearly ruined my own singing aspirations. My mother always thought that if I were really good, someone would discover me - I guess hauling a piano - the way that Lanza was in this film. Nevertheless, I put all that aside when I watched it.

Johnny is a truck driver discovered testing out the piano he delivers to Abigail Budell (Barrymore), patron of the arts. She's just founded an opera company for the benefit of her daughter Prudence (Grayson). When the current tenor (Gomez) quits in a huff, Johnny steps in. He and Prudence are in love, but before either one of them can really act on it, Prudence is told by another woman (Marjorie Reynolds) that she wants to marry Johnny. How to get these two songbirds back together?

"That Midnight Kiss" is a big budget, glossy MGM musical extravaganza and as such, it's delicious to watch and makes for joyful listening. Lanza, attractive and a natural before the cameras, really commercialized opera in the U.S. with his clarion tenor. His IMDb bios were obviously written by fans. Though he certainly had a fantastic voice, he was evidently hard to work with, especially for his female costars. Alcohol and crash dieting eventually made his heart give out while he was still in his thirties. Also, he had his own sound; in recordings, Caruso sounds much more baritone-y, though Lanza's IMDb bio claims the voices match. It's hard to know what Lanza's voice sounded like on the opera stage. People who heard him in person claim the voice was not very large. Nevertheless, it was perfect for film.

Pretty and petite, Kathryn Grayson does a lovely job both in her acting and singing. Both singers shine in the more lyrical pieces sung outside Prudence's window and show their versatility. A side note - it's a little questionable what opera the company is doing - Grayson and Gomez sing a duet from "Lucia" in rehearsals, but the final product was in English and definitely NOT Donizetti!

The rest of the cast is superb - Keenan Wynn has impeccable comic timing, and Jules Munshin is given some great bits throughout. Thomas Gomez is hilarious as the bombastic tenor Betelli. Ethel Barrymore is stately and classy as Prudence's grandmother. Iturbi, playing himself, is delightful and plays some beautiful piano. Celeste Aida and the Lucia duet were conducted at pretty swift tempi, as was the "Caro Nome" that Grayson starts to sing at the piano.

Highly entertaining and recommended if you're a lover of classical music.

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