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
While the basic story remained unchanged, the movie made many changes from the original operetta. 14 of the original songs were eliminated, 3 new songs were written and almost all of the original lyrics from the remaining songs were replaced. In the stage version, the song "Just We Two" is sung by the Princess Johanna and a character who does not appear in the play, Count Tarnitz. She and Tarnitz are secretly in love but must part for state reasons. In addition, the time span of the play (more than two years) was reduced to only a few months in the film. See more »
A student prince falls in love with a lowly barmaid...
THE STUDENT PRINCE should have been a lot better. After all, it's based on a famous operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg, features the golden voice of Mario Lanza at his singing peak, is cast with competent enough MGM players, and is filmed in glorious Technicolor.
But something happened--the uninspired Richard Thorpe was chosen to direct (Vincente Minnelli, where were you???) and the result is a tedious, slow-paced musical with stagebound sets and much of the Romberg score either missing or drastically altered with the insertion of two new songs (which, by the way, aren't bad at all). One of them, BELOVED, is sung with great feeling and style by Mario.
Lanza was at a difficult stage of his career by the time THE STUDENT PRINCE was set to roll, and his temperament and weight problems made it impossible for the studio to let him play the lead, even after he'd recorded all of the songs. EDMUND PURDOM, a relatively unknown newcomer, was given the chance to step in and, in all fairness to Purdom, it must be said that he does a commendable enough job in the acting department and does the lip-sync thing with professional results (he's right up there with Larry Parks in that department!) ANN BLYTH, never a particular favorite of mine, does her own singing with a pleasant soprano voice but is less than satisfying as the barmaid. She looks much too sophisticated and stylish for her lowly status to be believable and is rather arch and patronizing in her attitudes.
The rest of the cast isn't handed the best of material but they do workmanlike jobs with it: EDMUND GWENN, LOUIS CALHERN, JOHN ERICSON, S.Z. SAKALL and EVELYN ARDEN--but the extensive faults lie with the limp direction unable to give any luster to the proceedings. And the soundstage look for outdoor scenes doesn't help.
Worth hearing (if not watching) for Lanza alone on some delightful Romberg songs. His soundtrack recording of the music was a big seller and it's easy to understand why.
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