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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 »
Pleasant, albeit below normal MGM musical standards.
More of a near miss than a flop, MR. IMPERIUM stars Ezio Pinza as Alex, heir apparent to and later king of a small European nation, who falls in love with a willing American actress and entertainer, Fredda Barlo (Lana Turner), but due to machinations by the sly prime minister of Alex as king, nicely played by Cedric Hardwicke, the lovers are separated for 12 years before being reunited in Palm Springs where their love is rekindled. Director Don Hartman, who also scripts, is not able to fully utilize his talent for snappy dialogue because of Pinza's tentative English usage, and the requisite rewriting, coupled with less than total rapport in evidence between the two stars, results in a somewhat raggedy tone to the screenplay, exacerbated by the studio's unkind cutting of many scenes, leading to a confusing ending. The overpowering Pinza dominates his scenes with Turner, but both performers score with good work, while Marjorie Main is impressive with her patter effects as written, with Debbie Reynolds placed on track by Louis B. Mayer for SINGIN' IN THE RAIN as a result of her sprightly performance here; only Barry Sullivan is heavily victimized by the flagrant cutting. Prettily filmed largely in Pebble Beach, California, and other Monterey County environs, the film is endowed with Pinza's iron strong operatic basso in Solamente Una Vez, as well as with original songs by Harold Arlen and Dorothy Fields, with Douglas Shearer splendidly handling the sound recording, and notice must be made of the fine set decorations by Edwin Willis, and the effective costume designs by Walter Plunkett.
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