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 »
The brilliance of one of the world's most beloved tenors and the exciting world of opera highlight this delightful romantic adventure set in the most beautiful cities of Europe. Tonio Costa... See full summary »
Johanna von Koczian,
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 »
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 »
A rich, young beauty, Louise Durant, follows the man she loves and hopes to marry to Zurich where he studies violin at the conservatory. A piano student at the conservatory falls madly in ... 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
Despite a request by producer Joe Pasternak, the mentor of her early film career at Universal, Deanna Durbin would not come out of retirement to play the role of Kathie the barmaid. 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.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?