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That Midnight Kiss (1949)

Approved | | Musical, Romance | 20 January 1950 (Australia)
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 »


Norman Taurog


Bruce Manning (screenplay), Tamara Hovey (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathryn Grayson ... Prudence Budell
José Iturbi ... José Iturbi (as Jose Iturbi)
Ethel Barrymore ... Abigail Trent Budell
Mario Lanza ... Johnny Donnetti
Keenan Wynn ... Artie Geoffrey Glenson
J. Carrol Naish ... Papa Donnetti
Jules Munshin ... Michael Pemberton
Thomas Gomez ... Guido Russino Betelli
Marjorie Reynolds ... Mary
Arthur Treacher ... Hutchins
Mimi Aguglia ... Mamma Donnetti
Amparo Iturbi Amparo Iturbi ... Amparo Iturbi
Bridget Carr ... Donna Donnetti
Amparo Ballester Amparo Ballester ... Rosina Donnetti
Ann Codee ... Mme. Bouget


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 sponsors an opera company under the command of the famous maestro Jose Iturbi to give a chance to Prudence to lead an opera. They hire the also famous tenor Guido Russino Betelli, but Prudence does not feel comfortable with him on the stage. When Prudence accidentally sees the American-Italian truck driver Johnny Donnetti singing opera, she convinces Jose Iturbi to give a chance to Johnny. They fall in love for each other, but when Prudence visits his work to tell that he will be hired, she meets Mary and she believes Johnny is in love of his colleague. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Worlds apart...yet their hearts are as close together as the hands of a clock at midnight! See more »


Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





English | Italian

Release Date:

20 January 1950 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

El beso de medianoche See more »


Box Office


$1,701,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"Judy Garland" appears at 33 minutes into the film, when MGM promotes another of their musicals from 1949. "In the Good Old Summertime" and "Judy Garland" and "Van Johnson" appear on a movie marquee in the background. See more »


When Prudence and Jose go to Mama Donetti's restaurant, she opens the front door twice between shots. See more »


Abigail Trent Budell: Every opera singer should fall in love with her tenor, or composer, or baritone, or conductor. I'm glad it's a tenor. We could use one.
See more »


I Know, I Know, I Know
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Lyrics by Bob Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

An auspicious debut
31 December 2003 | by derekmcgovernSee all my reviews

Mario Lanza makes a very confident screen debut with this movie. The scene in which he first appears - some 15 minutes into the film - is teasingly executed: we hear his voice (singing the Neapolitan classic, Mamma mia, Che Vo' Sape) as co-star Kathryn Grayson enters her home, and - with her (and our) interest aroused - the camera slowly pans to reveal his handsome presence. It's a great moment, helped by the fact that Lanza really does look terrific, especially in comparison with the portly stock tenor we have been watching only minutes earlier.

Lanza has some formidable acting talent to compete with in this movie. That he succeeds magnificently speaks volumes about the man's much-underrated acting ability. Also appearing in the film are seasoned veterans such as Ethel Barrymore, J. Carroll Naish, Jules Munshin and Thomas Gomez (hilarious as the aforementioned portly tenor). Keenan Wynn is also on hand as Lanza's amusing buddy, and the film also boasts another big musical name: conductor/pianist Jose' Iturbi, who plays himself.

The film is fun, and very competently produced in the grand tradition of MGM musicals. Lanza doesn't have a great deal to sing, but among the highlights are a very lyrical Celeste Aida (minus the recitative), the second half of Una Furtiva Lagrima, and Jerome Kern's They Didn't Believe, which is sung as a duet with Kathryn Grayson. MGM was clearly nervous about allowing Lanza too many "heavy" vocal offerings, but they were soon to rectify this with The Great Caruso, just two years later.

All in all, That Midnight Kiss is a most enjoyable romp with Lanza as its raison d'etre. The critics were not especially kind to the film - or Mario's co-star, the established Miss Grayson - but all were in agreement that Lanza made the picture worth seeing. This is what Newsweek Magazine had to say:

Aside from Jose' Iturbi's music, virtually the only excuse for this one is Mario Lanza, a singer whose talents would be conspicuous even outside a film devoted to opera. He can act as well as sing. But his efforts in both directions are hampered by an inconsequential story which enmeshes him with Kathryn Grayson - a girl who neither sings nor acts in his league.

And from The New York Times:

As for the budding Mr. Lanza, the opinion rendered of him by the sanguine Mr.Iturbi is good enough for us. "His voice," says Mr. Iturbi, "has quality and warmth and he has a very nice personality." Check.

The following year Lanza would go on to greater things in The Toast of New Orleans, before reaching his pinnacle in The Great Caruso.

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