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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 »

Director:

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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
Carl Benton Reid ...
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:

The Intimate Story of a Man with a Voice as Great as His Heart! 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

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 Skirts Ahoy! (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Vesti la Giubba
(uncredited)
Performed by Mario Lanza
from PAGLIACCI
Written by Ruggero Leoncavallo
See more »

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User Reviews

Lanza's greatest role...highly fictionalized biography...
17 May 2001 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

I suppose it would be too much to expect a studio like MGM to produce a realistic biography of the legendary tenor in 1951--a year when the studio's reputation for glossy technicolor musicals was at an all-time high. They overproduced many a musical with strong star drawing power to fill the Radio City Music Hall with their products--and were certainly aiming to target the widest possible audience for this Caruso story with their new discovery--Mario Lanza.

Lanza's rich lyrical tenor is given a showcase in which to perform both Neapolitan songs and operatic arias and he doesn't disappoint. Casting him as Caruso was a shrewd and clever decision--but the letdown comes in the fictionalized story that bears little resemblance to the true background of the singer. Artificial touches abound--including Ann Blythe as his wife. Nevertheless, since enjoyment of the film depends entirely on whether or not you enjoy the singing talent of Mario Lanza (and his limited acting abilities), you should find this biography a lightweight treatment of Caruso's life--although highly incomplete and sometimes even inaccurate. Perhaps some day there will be a true biography of the singer.

If nothing else, should compel some viewers to explore Caruso's life for the real story. Incidentally, there is a new song, "The Loveliest Night of the Year", which rates utmost respect. The soundtrack is great to listen to--Lanza was in the best of voice at the time of recordings.


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