Debut feature film of opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. Though Pavarotti appeared in countless stage and television productions, this movie remains his first, final and only ever appearance in a dramatic theatrical feature film.
Producer Peter Fetterman traveled to Italy to ask opera star Luciano Pavarotti about doing the film. The pair went to the famous Giorgio Fini Restaurant to work out the details for the movie, and decided to name Pavarotti's tenor opera star part after the restaurateur, and thus Pavarotti's character in the film was named Giorgio Fini.
The movie was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards at the third Razzies ceremony in 1983. These were for Worst Actor and Worst New Star (both to Luciano Pavarotti) and worst screenplay but the movie failed to win any Razzies.
Luciano Pavarotti played a character named Giorgio Fini. In real life, there once was an Italian film actor called Giorgio Fini. The character was named after an Italian restaurant owner but had also been called Giorgio in the film's source novel by by British author Anne Piper.
The picture was designed as being a star vehicle for Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti, then considered by many as "The Greatest Opera Singer in the World", and something which would have commercial potential. The production was a project that producer Peter Fetterman had been working on to find a suitable film vehicle for tenor Pavarotti.
There is one scene known to have been cut out of the film. When Giorgio has dinner with Pamela at the Copley Plaza, he dances with her and dips her. This scene is present on the original color lobby cards for the film.
Co-starring as Pavarotti's love-interest in this romantic-comedy was actress Kathryn Harrold who had recently co-starred in the Albert Brooks rom com Modern Romance (1981). The picture was one of two movies that Harrold was seen in during the 1982 year, the other movie being The Sender (1982).
The film got Oscar nominated for one Academy Award, naturally for music, Best Original song - "If We Were In Love", music composed by John Williams with lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. The tune was also Golden Globe nominated for Best Original Song - Motion Picture, but the song failed to win in either awards system.
In making this film, Luciano Pavarotti once said of the language problems, associated not with fluency, but with the screenplay, performance, and characterization: "English I speak very well. Always before I am singing what I am familiar with, or singing as myself. But now I must learn an entirely new character and study hard each and every word of dialogue exactly as it is written in the script. Not only that, but I realize how the slightest transposition of words or nuance of inflection can change the meaning of an entire sentence, a whole scene!".
Reportedly, the movie had a budget of US $21 million, quite a big amount in those days at the time the movie was made for a film of this kind, but the picture only took about US $1 million at the box-office there when released.
Arias in the film included Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto" ["La donna e mobile']; Amilcare Ponchielli''s "La Gioconda" ["Cielo e mar"]; Gaetano Donizetti's "L'Elisir D'Amore" ["Una furtiva lagrima"] and both Giacomo Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" ["Donna non vidi mai"] and "Turandot" ["Nessun dorma" and "Excerpts from Turandot"].
Luciano Pavarotti proved completely unable to handle the demands of a feature film's shooting schedule, refusing to work more than 12 hours a day and insisting on stopping shooting no later than 8PM. On top of that, he proved to be quite the prima donna on-set, insisting that he only be filmed in angles that hid his infamous girth, and making so many demands that crewmembers began to jokingly nickname the film "No, Luciano."