In Philadelphia, the soprano Prudence Budell returns from Europe after a period of five years training in the best Europeans music schools. Her millionaire grandmother Abigail Trent Budell ... See full summary »
Tomboy Rose Marie Lemaitre, the orphaned ward of Mountie Mike Malone, falls in love with him, and he with her. But when she goes to "learn to be a lady", she meets outlaw trapper James ... See full summary »
London based American nurse, Lady Susan Ashwood, is at the hospital awaiting the imminent arrival of injured soldiers. She is hoping that her enlisted son, Sir John Ashwood II, who ... See full summary »
Movie version of the BBC TV play that first addresses some of the major social issues of the day. A girl from a rich family in Chelsea is bored and decides to go "slumming" in depressed ... See full summary »
After Florence Fallon's father dies unappreciated in the church where he preached for many years, she becomes embittered and loses faith. She teams up with Horsby, a con man, and performs ... See full summary »
Sea-faring saga of two brothers (Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger) and the woman they both love. Set against South Pacific islands, this love triangle pits the good brother against the bad as... See full summary »
The life of peaceful rancher John Benedict (William Holden) is torn apart when his family is massacred by a gang of marauding outlaws and his farm is destroyed. He assembles a team of mean,... See full summary »
Damon Vincenti, a young vineyard worker, has a beautiful tenor voice and dreams of becoming a great opera singer. He debuts at Lardelli's Italian restaurant in San Francisco, where he is ... See full summary »
On a train to Rome, the American singer Marc Revere meets the Italian Raffaela. He notices that she intends to work and live at her uncle's. When he gives her a ride, it turns out that said... See full summary »
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 film, 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 »
Shortly after the "Serenade" segment Kathie is in her room. She puts out the candles until only one is left yet, when she goes to the window, a large electric stage light can be seen reflected in the glass. See more »
Witty dialogue, sparkling performances, and the unsurpassed singing of Mario Lanza
Edmund Purdom does a fine job of lip-synching to Mario Lanza in this beautiful fairytale of a movie. The combination of Lanza's glorious romanticism and Purdom's very British demeanour is an odd combination, but it works - after a fashion. It helps that Purdom was actually singing along with Lanza's pre-recorded vocals - a daunting task for any singer, let alone a non-professional like Purdom. (The actor spent three months practising with the recordings, and commented 20 years later: "It was enough to make you sweat - just listening to the voice.")
It's to Purdom's credit that he persevered, for Lanza's singing is at the very core of this movie. The Serenade, Drinking Song, Beloved, Golden Days and I'll Walk With God are without peer, and represent the pinnacle of Lanza's achievement in English language song. Lanza's timbre was at its most ravishing by this time (1952) and he imbues these songs with such magic that every word sparkles - a feat not lost on Purdom, who later compared Mario's poetic artistry to that of the great soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf.
The Student Prince is loosely based on Sigmund Romberg's operetta, with three new songs (Beloved, I'll Walk With God and Summertime in Heidelberg) by Nicholas Brodszky replacing some of the more dated Romberg numbers. The film is a decided improvement on the creaky original and boasts a witty script, replete with memorable one-liners from the screen-writing duo of Sonya Levien and William Ludwig, scenarists for Lanza's The Great Caruso. As a previous reviewer has noted, the original lyrics have been changed in some instances, but the alterations are tastefully done.
Ann Blyth provides worthy support as Kathy, the barmaid with whom The Student Prince falls in love, and the hilarious supporting cast includes such seasoned pros as Edmund Gwenn, SZ (Cuddles) Sakall and John Williams.
Aside from Lanza's absence, what ultimately makes this merely a good movie rather than a classic is Richard Thorpe's uninspired direction. His stolid by-the-numbers approach (ie long shot, then medium shot, then close-up) is at its most obvious during the musical numbers, where he lacks the magical touch that the story - and the music - demands. Still, he was undoubtedly a better choice than Curtis Bernhardt, the "Prussian pickle" (to paraphrase one of the characters in this movie) originally slated to direct, and the real reason for Lanza walking out on The Student Prince.
But watch this movie for its irresistible fairytale appeal, and the magic of Mario Lanza at his extraordinary best.
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