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When his bride-to-be finds him much too stiff, heir to the throne Prince Karl is sent off to the university in Heidelberg to learn how to socialize. He makes friends with the students there and falls for the down-to-earth Kathie, a barmaid. The two are soul mates, but when Karl's grandfather the king falls ill, he must choose between his country and his own happiness... Written by
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Nice music and photography,but could have been better
This is the only talking film version of Romberg's famous 1924 operetta--unfortunately, and it took MGM thirty years to get around to making it after they did a silent version. Although from all reports the silent version, directed by the great Ernst Lubitsch is excellent (I haven't seen it), in spite of the fact that it IS a "silent operetta", this 1954 sound version is a considerable letdown. Mario Lanza was supposed to have played the Prince, but his temper and weight problems got him fired, so the film was released with Edmund Purdom acting the role and lip-synching to Lanza's singing. Purdom is a considerably better actor than Lanza, but that's really not saying much. Ann Blyth, who does her own singing, is very good. However, the MGM adapters and screenwriters have done their dirty work. New, hopelessly bad dialogue has been added, as in the 50's remakes of "The Desert Song", "Show Boat", and "Rose Marie", but in this case the adapters have gone a few steps further. Only about half the original music (the score alone is ninety minutes long) is used; only Purdom/Lanza, Blyth, and the chorus sing, and they even filch the songs given to other characters in the stage version. Worse yet, new songs (not by Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly) have been added,and in EVERY SINGLE ONE of the original songs, only the first few lines of the lyrics have been retained----the rest have all been changed.
Audiences who are undemanding or completely unfamiliar with even a recording of the songs won't mind, but although the original lyrics weren't on the level of Hammerstein, Porter, Berlin, Ira Gershwin, Larry Hart, or Alan Jay Lerner's efforts, "Student Prince" fans will--and should---be outraged at this musical mangling.
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