6.7/10
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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:

The Intimate Story of a Man with a Voice as Great as His Heart! 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

Jesse L. Lasky, who served as associate producer on this film, also knew the real Enrico Caruso. In 1918, whilst serving as the head of Famous Players (later Paramount) Studio, Lasky had paid Caruso to star in two silent films, My Cousin (1918) and The Splendid Romance (1919), neither of which was commercially successful. 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

Featured in The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Quartet
(uncredited)
from RIGOLETTO
Performed by Mario Lanza
Also performed by Blanche Thebom and Giuseppe Valdengo
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Centerpiece of Mario Lanza's Career
5 June 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Since musicals have both gone out of fashion and are incredibly expensive to make without all the talent needed to make one under contract to a studio, I doubt we will ever get a real life story of Enrico Caruso.

But if everything else was in place it was no accident that no Hollywood studio attempted the task until Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had Mario Lanza under contract. No one else could have done it, I doubt whether it will ever be tried again.

And why should it. I think Enrico Caruso himself would have been satisfied as to how his singing was portrayed on screen. For his tenor voice was his life, his reason for being on the earth.

To say that liberties were taken with his life is to be modest. Caruso, like the man who portrayed him, was a man of large appetites although with a lot more self discipline. He had numerous relationships with several women and fathered two out of wedlock sons who are not in this film.

His contribution to the recording industry is treated as almost an afterthought. He's shown in a recording studio once late in his life. Actually he started recording right around the turn of the last century and together with Irish tenor John McCormack for RCA Victor made the recording industry what it became.

When Caruso and McCormack were at their heights you had to practically inherit a ticket to see either of them perform live. But a lot of immigrant Italian and Irish families had a phonograph and a record or three of either of these men. It's why both became the legends that they are.

What the film does have is some beautifully staged operatic arias done by Mario Lanza, a taste of what he might have become had he the discipline of a Caruso to stick to opera. The Great Caruso won an Oscar for sound recording and received nominations for costume and set design.

Mario himself helped popularize the film with an RCA Red Seal album of songs from The Great Caruso. Unfortunately due to contractual obligations we couldn't get an actual cast album with Ann Blyth, Dorothy Kirsten, and Jarmila Novotna also.

Though Blyth sang it in the film, Lanza had a big hit recording of The Loveliest Night of the Year further helping to popularize The Great Caruso.

If you're looking for a life of Enrico Caruso, this ain't it. If you are looking for a great artist singing at the height of his career, than you should not miss The Great Caruso.


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