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ONCE UPON A TIME, there were different types of movies. These different
movies coexisted even though each one had something different to
This seems obvious at first, but I thought I'd point it out during this review because it seems a few people may have forgotten. This is just a fun movie for Pavarotti fans. That's all it is. It doesn't claim to be anything else or anything grander. People who deride it as something that fell short of a promise aren't seeing the whole picture- literally. After all, Hollywood makes movies all the time that are shameless vehicles for people (Bodyguard or The Preacher's Wife w/Whitney Houston are 2 examples that spring to mind.)
First I'd like to address the movie as a vehicle for Pavarotti. There are worse things in this world-- and worse movies. The singing is fabulous and the selection of arias is fun. The movie starts with Schubert's Ave Maria and then Leoncavallo's Matinatta. Pav sings arias from La Gioconda, Manon Lescaut, and Turandot but also sings popular music such as "I left my heart in San Francisco" and the song that was nominated for an Oscar & Golden Globe, "If we were in Love" w/music by John Williams & lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman- all 3 previous Oscar winners.
The story isn't that bad. It was built for Pavarotti so of course it's not going to be something that's profound or universally applicable to the average movie viewer. It's a story of a famous opera singer who was traumatized by a bad night at the opera years ago. When asked to sing again at the same place, the "MET" in NYC, he loses his voice from fear. Doctor Pamela (or Pah-MAY-lah in Italian:)) played by Kathryn Harrold- gives him a shot to cure his psychosomatic reaction. He offers her the chance to have a fling with him and she reluctantly accepts.
They embark on an affair, she knowing he's married & promising not to fall in love with him and him thinking she will be just another woman. Despite all that, they fall in love (thus the song, "IF we were in love") and with her help, he overcomes his fear & goes back to the MET where he triumphs. I won't tell how it ends, but it's fairly predictable. Which isn't always a bad thing.
The performances in this aren't that bad. Pavarotti (who plays Giorgio Fini) isn't an actor, so if you're expecting a Spencer Tracy or Tom Hanks performance, YOU are deluded, not Pavarotti. He knows he's not a thespian. What he is is cute, charming & charismatic. He is having fun himself, and if you can just let yourself have fun too, it's not so bad. One funny line is when he tells Pamela (Harrold) that she's a "thirsty plant, Fini can water you!" and of course, she says, "I don't want to be watered on by Fini!" Kathryn Harrold is very sweet and does a nice job as a semi-uptight woman who learns from this extravagant man to live a little. One of my favorite lines in the movie is: "Life never has to be life size." And there's Eddie Albert who does his usual good job as Fini's manager. There are several "themselves" cameos by real conductors, singers, etc. and it is filmed on location at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.
If you like opera, if you like Pavarotti, or if you can just let yourself go & enjoy a "little fling" just like he proposes in the movie- then you can enjoy this movie for what it is. I know I do- EVERY time. :)
I was fortunate enough to work as an extra in this movie. I was a doctor in the background in a hospital scene. The extras who worked with Pavoratti liked him. He was a pleasant, unassuming guy who spent a lot of time at the craft services table (snack table).
There was one scene in the movie that had one quote which made the movie worth seeing from my point of view. In a restaurant setting, Pavoratti's character takes his date into a fancy, expensive dining establishment. He has rented the entire restaurant and they are dining alone in a huge room with musicians playing for them alone.
The girl comments about how odd it is to be dining in such an enormous room without other diners present.
I won't spoil it for you by giving his quote that makes this scene so wonderful. He says something that is one of my all time favorite movie quotes.
He is a charming personality and I would have liked for him to make other film appearances. He could have been like a Burl Ives character who could have made movies that were not musicals as well as operatic films.
Yes, Giorgio, is a feel good movie. A little romance, great music, beautiful scenery, comedy, (a great food fight), and a little taste of bittersweet are the ingredients of Yes, Giorgio. Any movie buff would enjoy this film. Those who require massive special effects, should look elsewhere. Most of us need a little escape now and then, and how better to do this, than with a feast for the eyes, ears, and heart? A must see!
I watched this movie with my mother when I was in high school many years ago. I definitely was not the least bit interested in opera at the time, but he changed my views. I enjoyed this movie very much and have truly enjoyed opera ever since. I even bought several of his CD's. Who cares what his acting abilities were, he basically just played himself, which was adorable. He was so charming, so charismatic; I honestly just wanted to hug him. I feel very sad that so many are criticizing him so harshly. It was so straight, did not accept people pushing him around or judging him for his actions. He deserves to be respected and admired for his talent. He will definitely be missed!!!
As others have said, "No, Luciano" is a more apt title or response to
this movie title. For entertainment, the great opera singer should
stick to singing.....not that he's a terrible actor. It's just that
this movie stinks.
The first 25 minutes were fine - a nice family movie, as it were - but after that it's nothing but a boring soap opera.
Appropriately playing a singer, Pavarotti, as "Giorgio Fini," loses his voice a few times and the doctor, "Pamela Taylor" (Kathryn Harrold) comes to the rescue. The singer then falls for the doctor, the doctor slowly falls for the singer, the two argue all the time and on and on and on it goes.
Pavarotti has a winning smile and is a likable guy. It's Harrold that spoils things and after watching her here I am not surprised she didn't become a star.
There is nice scenery in the movie to enjoy, good shots of San Francisco and Italy, at least in the first half of the film. I got bored and don't remember much about the second half of it.
I saw this movie when it came out when I was 17 years old and into
classic rock (still am)...
I never liked opera before because I hate soprano voices, but he changed all that. He was adorable in the movie and had such an amazing voice.
I heard on CNN that he died tonight at home of pancreatic cancer, he will be missed, and he definitely left his mark on this world.
I hope to buy this movie if I can find it, watch and enjoy. *smile* Maybe I should head over to Amazon.com and have a look before it's sold out.
I remember seeing this film when it first came out in 1982 & loved it
then. About 4 years later I had the privilege of seeing Luciano
Pavarotti sing at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York (in Tosca)
so seeing the ending of this film reminds me very much of that great
night. What's not to like about this film? The music is brilliant and
Pavarotti (Fini) was at his best and still looked great. The story is
actually very funny in parts & the 'food fight' scene is still one of
the funniest I have ever seen. The hot air balloon flight over the Napa
valley was beautiful & so was the song he sang "If we were in love"
(one of the few times Pavarotti sang in English). And hearing the duet
of Santa Lucia gorgeous. Get real folks, this was a film about an opera
singer called Georgio Fini who just happened to be played by Pavarotti.
Kathryn Harrold & Eddie Albert were excellent in their supporting
I am VERY glad that I still have this almost worn out VHS tape of this movie but I would love this to be released on DVD especially now that Pavarotti is no longer with us because I think this includes the best performance of Nessun Dorma sung by him still on film today!
"Yes, Georgio" is a light-hearted and enjoyable movie/comedy that
contains beautiful settings and beautiful music. It's not my favorite
movie but it is a movie I have enjoyed seeing more than once. Some
reviewers suggested if one wished to enjoy Pavarotti, they would likely
be better served by picking up an opera DVD. Although, a full opera
might be a better representation of Pavarotti's operatic talents,
oftentimes, an opera requires costumes and has story lines that
completely hide the appearance and nature of the person. "Yes, Georgio"
permits Pavarotti to use his speaking voice and to exhibit a
personality and character in ways an opera would not.
Many reviewers seemed to find the story unbelievable; I don't agree. Enormously talented people can be both self-centered and charming - charming enough to captivate intelligent and beautiful people. Additionally, people who are very different from one other often gain insights about themselves and grow in positive ways from interacting with people who stretch them or take them in directions they might not have chosen on their own. Both Georgio and Pamela become more open to unexplored parts of themselves in relationship with the other.
Relax and let yourself go into a visually and aurally rewarding film with Pavarotti at the peak of his vocal abilities. The ending scenes from Puccini's Turandot alone are worth the time to get there.
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.
As someone else commented, this is a feel-good movie. It's got glorious scenery and the wonder-filled voice of Luciano! I've seen this movie many times and just saw it again this afternoon. I'd forgotten how much I miss Pavarotti's singing of Nessun Dorma and I need to get out the CD! It's a great movie to just while away the afternoon engrossed in fun and reverie. Eddie Albert is grand as the agent and a bit over the top, but all agents are just that anyway. The Italian countryside is gorgeous but nothing tops the balloon ride for the perfect view. If you need acting of Olivier proportion, this movie isn't for you. If you just want a flight of fancy and some wonderful music, watch this film. Just enjoy!
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