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The Medium (1951)

6.8
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Madame Flora is terrified when she perceives a supernatural presence during one of her fraudulent séances. Menotti's first international success, "The Medium" is a tragedy in two acts for ... See full summary »

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(as Gian-Carlo Menotti)

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(libretto) (as Gian-Carlo Menotti)
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Title: The Medium (1951)

The Medium (1951) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Marie Powers ...
Madame Flora
Leopoldo Savona ...
Toby (as Leo Coleman)
Belva Kibler ...
Mrs. Nolan
Beverly Dame ...
Mrs. Gobineau
Donald Morgan ...
Mr. Gobineau
...
Monica
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Storyline

Madame Flora is terrified when she perceives a supernatural presence during one of her fraudulent séances. Menotti's first international success, "The Medium" is a tragedy in two acts for five singers, a dance-mime role, and a chamber opera for thirteen instruments and fourteen players: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, percussion, piano (4 hands), and string quintet. The music is dissonant, eerie, and morbid and includes melodies such as 'O, black swan.' Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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For the first time in the medium of the motion picture comes the full power of music and drama!

Genres:

Drama | Music

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Details

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Release Date:

5 September 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il medium  »

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 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Version of Omnibus: The Man in the Cool Cool Moon (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Outstanding film version of Menotti's opera
15 November 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Amahl and the Night Visitors may be Menotti's most well-known and most performed opera, but the 1960 production of The Consul and this film version of The Medium are great examples of why those two operas deserve to be almost in the same class. It is true that this film is not The Medium that you would see staged at the opera house, that doesn't matter because it is truly outstanding in every department. And Gian-Carlo Menotti is a huge part of the film's success, being not just the composer but also the director and writer, while he is best known as a composer he shows great skill in the writing and directing departments. The film looks great with a film-noir look to it and some of it is bizarre but in a good and striking way, especially with Madame Flora's visions. The drama and staging is intelligent and grabs you right in, with a moving ending and a quite disturbing scene with Toby and Monica at the fair and with Toby being harassed. The music is just lovely and dramatic, the highlight for me has always been Monica's beautifully dark lullaby The Black Swan, rhythmically relatively simple and the hauntingly beautiful main theme will stay in your head long after but with some very awkward note intervals in the middle(even if you are a good sight reader or have absolute pitch you might still struggle). And what is so good about Menotti's writing is, as librettist, lyric-writer or script-writer, is how vivid and poetic his way of words are and the impact they have, particularly apparent in The Black Swan which with the right word painting creates some quite harrowing imagery. The story is easy to follow and has a lot of emotional power, also good in filling in the short running time with good development or not much filler, even giving more to subsidiary characters like Mrs Nolan. Menotti's directing is controlled, and the performances are really impressive apart from some too obvious lip synching(not an uncommon problem in filmed opera though actually). Like Patricia Neway in The Consul, Marie Powers is one performance you are unlikely to forget, her contralto voice is very powerfully projected and Madame Flora's tormented character is brought to life most vividly and movingly. Anna Maria Alberghetti is adorable and sings with a clear, pure tone to her soprano voice. Leo Coleman is both savage and affecting despite not saying a word. Overall, outstanding film, an example of filmed opera done really well. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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