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Mr. Imperium (1951)

A beautiful singer/dancer turned actress and playboy crown prince turned monarch have their clandestine romance interfered with by their changing circumstances.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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...
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Mrs. Cabot
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Paul Hunter
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Bernand (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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Gwen
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Anna Pelan
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Storyline

A beautiful singer/dancer turned actress and playboy crown prince turned monarch have their clandestine romance interfered with by their changing circumstances. Written by <condie@cjnetworks.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's Singing TECHNICOLOR Romance! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Laisse-moi t'aimer  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of a handful of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer productions of the 1950-1951 period whose original copyrights were never renewed and are now apparently in Public Domain; for this reason this title is now offered, often in very inferior copies, at bargain prices, by numerous VHS and DVD distributors who do not normally handle copyrighted or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer material. See more »

Connections

Featured in Lana Turner... a Daughter's Memoir (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Solamente una vez (You Belong To My Heart)
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Agustín Lara
English lyrics by Ray Gilbert
Sung by Ezio Pinza and Lana Turner (dubbed by Trudy Erwin)
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User Reviews

 
Barely average but not a disaster
4 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Considering how badly it bombed on release, making a huge loss and with indifferent to negative reviews, was honestly expecting a worse film than 'Mr Imperium' turned out to me. It is a long way from great, struggling to muster average, but from what was heard you'd think it was one of the worst films there was (which it isn't).

There are positives here. 'Mr Imperium' does look very pleasing, it's beautifully photographed with sumptuous costumes for Lana Turner and with serenely idyllic locations. The music is elegant and with enough energy and charm and the few songs, while most not exactly timeless, are pleasant, "You Belong to My Heart" faring particularly well.

Ezio Pinza was my main reason for seeing 'Mr Imperium', being a fan of his beautiful, noble bass voice (one of the most naturally beautiful of any operatic bass along with Nicolai Ghiaurov), and he sings sublimely, despite being retired from opera and shifting to Broadway his voice is one that you can listen to for hours and never tire of. The best performance of 'Mr Imperium' however comes from Debbie Reynolds, in sprightly and charmingly perky charm as always.

However, while Pinza sounds sublime and really tries hard with the acting (he actually was a good actor on the operatic stage) but he doesn't always look comfortable and it was like he was trying too hard. This may have been because a luminous but painfully miscast Lana Turner was so bland, like she was completely bored and didn't want to be there. Their chemistry is non-existent and a gross mismatch, sometimes bordering on unintentional creepiness, not because of the age difference but because Pinza is really trying to be animated and engage with Turner but she makes it very clear that she disliked Pinza and wanted to be elsewhere.

Reynolds aside, the rest of the supporting cast struggle. Not because they are bad, can never accuse Cedric Hardwicke and Marjorie Main of being bad actors or anything, but because they have so little to do and are so underused. Barry Sullivan is so badly wasted here that his presence felt pointless. The direction is very routine, and the pace often plods.

On top of that the script is at best insipid with not a memorable, funny or emotional line in the entire film. The story was so over-familiar and cardboard even in 1951 and fails to inject much spark apart from Reynolds and Pinza's singing. Lastly the ending is confused and, due to the unanswered questions feel it has, incomplete feeling.

In summary, not disastrous as expected but barely average. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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