This MGM film showcases the great Mario Lanza, whose untimely death came right after this film was completed. It's a vehicle for the star, who had one of the most powerful tenor voices in the cinema. As such, "For the First Time" is an excuse to present its star in different European settings in a picture that is more of a travelogue than a musical.
Rudolph Mate directed with an eye for the backgrounds being shown. We are taken to that magical island of Capri, then to Salzburg, among other places that go by too quickly. The DVD we watched had a faded look, and one can only guess the original copy had glorious colors.
Mario Lanza plays an opera singer who goes to Capri to stay away from the scandal he caused at the Vienna Opera house for not showing for a performance, when in reality, he was outside entertaining the people that couldn't get inside. In Capri he meets sweet Christa, who happens to be deaf. They fall in love and she will not marry him unless she can hear him. Naturally, like in all fairy tales, everything comes true and everyone is happy at the end.
Mario Lanza has some good moments in the film. He sings arias from Pagliacci, Aida and Othelo, as well as the theme song, "Come prima", in his usual style. Johanna Von Koczian is seen as Christa, the sweet girl who conquers Tonio Costa's heart. Kurt Kasznar plays Tonio's agent.
This is a happy film without any pretensions. It's not Mr. Lanza's best film, but for all his fans it will be something to savor.
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