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Franklin J. Schaffner
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Franklin J. Schaffner
It's best to ignore the reviews that give this a 10--they're all "Kool-Aid drinkers"
By my "Kool-Aid drinkers" remark, I mean that these are such devoted fans of the man Pavarotti that they make no attempt to objectively rate this film. Giving this a 10 is akin to giving Wally Cox the award for Mr. Universe or putting a velvet Elvis painting in the Louvre!!! When this film debuted, I remember the savage reviews with headlines such as "No, Giorgio" and some said it was among the worst films ever made. This is definitely overstating it as well. While bad and far from a great work of art, there was a lot to like about the film and the movie's biggest deficit was not the acting of Pavarotti nor his girth.
Believe it or not, the brunt of the blame rests solely on the shoulders of the writers (who, I believe, were chimps). It is rare to see a movie with such clichéd dialog or goofy scenes like the food fight, but even they aren't the heart of the problem. The problem is that the writers intend for the audience to care about a "romance" that consists of a horny married middle-aged man and a seemingly desperate lady. Perhaps European audiences might be more forgiving of this, but in the United States in 1982 or today, such a romance seems sleazy and selfish--especially when Pavarotti tells Harrold that he loves his wife and "this is just fun". Wow, talk about romantic dialog!! Sadly, if they had just changed the script a little bit and made Pavarotti a widower or perhaps had his wife be like the wife from a couple classic Hollywood films, such as from ALL THIS AND HEAVEN, TOO or THE SUSPECT (where the wife was so vile and unlikable you could forgive the husband having an affair or even killing her). Instead, she's the loving mother of two kids who waits patiently at home while her egotistical hubby beds tarts right and left--as Pavarotti admits to having had many affairs before meeting Harrold.
Sadly, even the gorgeous music of Pavarotti couldn't save this film. Towards the end of the film, there are some amazing scenes in New York where the set is just incredible and Pavarotti's singing transcendent. For that reason, I think the movie at least deserves a 3. I really wanted to like the film more, but it was a truly bad film--though not quite as rotten as you might have heard.
Sadly, from what I have read, this film might be a case of art imitating life, as Pavarotti's own life later had some parallels to this film, though this isn't exactly the forum to discuss this in detail.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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