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An anti-climax after The Great Caruso, but not without some merit
Because You're Mine was Mario Lanza's fourth movie, and was much criticised on its release as artistically a step backwards for the celebrated tenor. Certainly, coming straight after The Great Caruso it suffers badly in comparison with that considerable achievement, but is Because You're Mine really THAT bad?
Actually, this is a fun movie. It lacks the polish of That Midnight Kiss and the sheer high spirits of Toast of New Orleans, but vocally at least this film has more going for it than either of those two movies. Highlights include a definitive Granada (in a key one and a half tones higher than the Three Tenors have ever dared to attempt!), a moving Lord's Prayer and several pleasing operatic and popular selections. My only regret is that All the Things You Are was inexplicably cut from the movie. One of Lanza's loveliest recordings, it was recently restored on the Mario Lanza at MGM soundtrack CD released by Rhino.
The film also boasts a fine co-star in James Whitmore, who provides much of the movie's comic relief, and a pleasant leading lady in Doretta Morrow of the Broadway Kismet fame. She's no great shakes as a singer, but then - unlike Kathryn Grayson in the earlier movies - she isn't meant to be.
Lanza hated making this movie, and did his best to sabotage it, gaining a huge amount of weight in the vain hope that this would discourage the producers from going ahead with it. As a result, Lanza's weight varies from 240 pounds to 159 pounds (often in successive scenes), a distracting but intriguing sight.
But none of this need detract from your enjoyment of a pleasant movie that includes some agreeable singing from the finest tenor of his generation. And you can always watch Serenade (Lanza's next movie) straight after it for a reminder of what this man could do with a much meatier tale.
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