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The Great Caruso (1951)

This highly fictionalized film traces the life of tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). He loves Musetta, in his home town of Naples, and then Dorothy, the daughter of one of the Metropolitan ... See full summary »

Director:

Richard Thorpe
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mario Lanza ... Enrico Caruso
Ann Blyth ... Dorothy Benjamin
Dorothy Kirsten ... Louise Heggar
Jarmila Novotna ... Maria Selka
Richard Hageman Richard Hageman ... Carlo Santi
Carl Benton Reid ... Park Benjamin
Eduard Franz ... Giulio Gatti-Casazza
Ludwig Donath ... Alfredo Brazzi
Alan Napier ... Jean de Reszke
Pál Jávor ... Antonio Scotti (as Paul Javor)
Carl Milletaire Carl Milletaire ... Gino
Shepard Menken Shepard Menken ... Fucito
Vincent Renno Vincent Renno ... Tullio
Nestor Paiva ... Egisto Barretto
Peter Price Peter Price ... Caruso (as boy) (as Peter Edward Price)
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Storyline

This highly fictionalized film traces the life of tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). He loves Musetta, in his home town of Naples, and then Dorothy, the daughter of one of the Metropolitan Opera's patrons. Caruso is unacceptable to both women's fathers: to one, because he sings; to Dorothy's, because he is a peasant. To New York patricians, Caruso is short, barrel chested, loud, emotional, unrefined. Their appreciation comes slowly. The film depicts Caruso's lament that "the man does not have the voice, the voice has the man": he cannot be places he wants to be, because he must be elsewhere singing, including the day his mother dies. Throughout, Mario Lanza and stars from the Met sing. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tenor | opera | fame | See All (3) »

Taglines:

Mario Lanza! New Idol! Hottest singer in a decade! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

17 August 1951 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran Caruso See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Conductor Richard Hageman, who played Carlo Santi in the film, actually knew Enrico Caruso and led several performances with him at the Metropolitan Opera, including the 1918 War Relief Benefit re-created in the film. See more »

Goofs

Opening credits: The events, characters and firms depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual firms is purely coincidental. Says it ALL. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: The events, characters and firms depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual firms is purely coincidental. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweethearts
(uncredited)
from SWEETHEARTS
Performed by Mario Lanza
Also performed by Dorothy Kirsten
Written by Victor Herbert and Harry B. Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

Magnificent Mario at his best!
23 September 1999 | by BobLibSee all my reviews

Let me just say this, and then feel free to comment: I truly don't think that the late, great Mario Lanza ever had a better cinematic vehicle for his talents than "The Great Caruso." His larger than life personality and magnificent voice were never better served than here.

Like Caruso before him, and long before the Three Tenors and Andrea Bocelli, Lanza became THE tenor superstar of his generation. If there is anyone who wants to know why, just listen to him sing some of the magnificent arias in this film. "Cielo e Mar," "E Lucevan le stelle," and especially his matchless "Vesti la Giubba," are evidence enough that Lanza could, indeed, have become bigger than Caruso, had not his excesses caught up with him at such a young age.

I have just a couple of negative comments to insert here. First, the plot, while it makes for a good story, actually has very little to do with Caruso's life (Read Enrico Caruso Jr.'s "Caruso: My Father and My Family" for a good, readable biography. He even compliments Lanza and his performance!). For one thing, Caruso didn't die on stage, but several months after that last performance at the Metropolitan. Second, the "Italian" mannerisms in this movie are straight out of the Henry Armetta/"Life with Luigi" school, stereotyped to the hilt.

But, given the overall scheme of things, these are relatively minor complaints. As to the rest, I say that, for those of you who've never heard Lanza and wonder why he was so great, this film will give you ample proof. For those of you who were there when Lanza was in his prime, here's a chance to live it all over again. A great film, and a matchless tribute to TWO of the legendary voices of our time.


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