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John H. Auer
First of all, Ezio Pinza had a voice. If you've never heard an opera, you'll still respond to this man's singing.
Pinza had a lyric bass unlike anyone alive today, and it's the kind of sound that makes women sit up and take notice - it's an animal communication that has nothing to do with high culture.
Secondly, he's enjoying himself here. Like another refugee from the Metropolitan, tenor Lauritz Melchior, Pinza seems to enjoy acting in MGM escapist froth. His reactions while listening to a bad soprano are worth the price of admission right there.
The script is formulaic, the plot twists and turns visible a mile ahead of time, the overacting of the Italian characters very much of its era.
But they're all having a good time, and you'll have a good time too. "Mr. Imperium" is equally amiable, and features more great singing.
Disregard any negative reviews you may find here: you don't watch MGM musicals expecting "Anna Christie." This film knows exactly what it's doing, and it does just fine.
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