6.7/10
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The Great Caruso (1951)

Loosely traces the life of tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). He loves Musetta, in his home town of Naples, and then Dorothy, the daughter of one of the Metropolitan Opera's patrons. Caruso ... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Dorothy Benjamin
Dorothy Kirsten ...
Jarmila Novotna ...
Maria Selka
Richard Hageman ...
Carlo Santi
...
Park Benjamin
...
Giulio Gatti-Casazza
...
Alfredo Brazzi
...
Jean de Reszke
...
Antonio Scotti (as Paul Javor)
Carl Milletaire ...
Gino
Shepard Menken ...
Fucito
Vincent Renno ...
Tullio
...
Egisto Barretto
Peter Price ...
Caruso (as boy) (as Peter Edward Price)
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Storyline

Loosely traces the life of tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). He loves Musetta, in his home town of Naples, and then Dorothy, the daughter of one of the Metropolitan Opera's patrons. Caruso is unacceptable to both women's fathers: to one, because he sings; to Dorothy's, because he is a peasant. To New York patricians, Caruso is short, barrel chested, loud, emotional, unrefined. Their appreciation comes slowly. The film depicts Caruso's lament that "the man does not have the voice, the voice has the man": he cannot be places he wants to be, because he must be elsewhere singing, including the day his mother dies. Throughout, Mario Lanza and stars from the Met sing. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mario Lanza! New Idol! Hottest singer in a decade! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 August 1951 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

El gran Caruso  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Conductor Richard Hageman, who played Carlo Santi in the film, actually knew Enrico Caruso and led several performances with him at the Metropolitan Opera, including the 1918 War Relief Benefit re-created in the film. See more »

Goofs

When Caruso first arrives at the Metropolitan Opera, a worker is seen replacing a photo of "Jean de Reseke" with that of Caruso. Jean de Reszke was in fact a real person and a star tenor of the era, but his last name is misspelled here. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: The events, characters and firms depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual firms is purely coincidental. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
(uncredited)
Performed by Mario Lanza
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach and Charles Gounod
See more »

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User Reviews

Magnificent Mario at his best!
23 September 1999 | by (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Let me just say this, and then feel free to comment: I truly don't think that the late, great Mario Lanza ever had a better cinematic vehicle for his talents than "The Great Caruso." His larger than life personality and magnificent voice were never better served than here.

Like Caruso before him, and long before the Three Tenors and Andrea Bocelli, Lanza became THE tenor superstar of his generation. If there is anyone who wants to know why, just listen to him sing some of the magnificent arias in this film. "Cielo e Mar," "E Lucevan le stelle," and especially his matchless "Vesti la Giubba," are evidence enough that Lanza could, indeed, have become bigger than Caruso, had not his excesses caught up with him at such a young age.

I have just a couple of negative comments to insert here. First, the plot, while it makes for a good story, actually has very little to do with Caruso's life (Read Enrico Caruso Jr.'s "Caruso: My Father and My Family" for a good, readable biography. He even compliments Lanza and his performance!). For one thing, Caruso didn't die on stage, but several months after that last performance at the Metropolitan. Second, the "Italian" mannerisms in this movie are straight out of the Henry Armetta/"Life with Luigi" school, stereotyped to the hilt.

But, given the overall scheme of things, these are relatively minor complaints. As to the rest, I say that, for those of you who've never heard Lanza and wonder why he was so great, this film will give you ample proof. For those of you who were there when Lanza was in his prime, here's a chance to live it all over again. A great film, and a matchless tribute to TWO of the legendary voices of our time.


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