The highly fictionalized story of Nellie Melba, Australian-born soprano who rose to operatic fame in the latter part of the 19th century and who had a dessert and form of dry toast (true) ... See full summary »

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

Harry Kurnitz (screenplay), Harry Kurnitz (story)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Patrice Munsel ... Nellie Melba
Robert Morley ... Oscar Hammerstein I
John McCallum ... Charles Armstrong
John Justin ... Eric Walton
Alec Clunes Alec Clunes ... Cesar Carlton
Martita Hunt ... Mme. Marchesi
Sybil Thorndike ... Queen Victoria
Joseph Tomelty Joseph Tomelty ... Thomas Mitchell
Beatrice Varley Beatrice Varley ... Aunt Catherine
Violetta Elvin Violetta Elvin ... Prima Ballerina
Cecile Chevreau Cecile Chevreau ... Annette
Theodore Bikel ... Paul Brotha
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Storyline

The highly fictionalized story of Nellie Melba, Australian-born soprano who rose to operatic fame in the latter part of the 19th century and who had a dessert and form of dry toast (true) named after her. In her film debut, the Metropolitan opera's Patrice Munsel, plays the title role in a film that primarily strings together eight excerpts from well-known operas as well as one or two lighter numbers and a montage of famous opera personalities featuring the chorus of the Covent Garden Opera and members of the Sadler Wells Ballet. The story follows the career of Melba from the time she left her father's Australian cattle ranch and a suitor to travel to Paris to get her voice training, and picks up another suitor. She debuts in Brussells and is a smash hit followed by international fame. The suitor from Australia shows up in Monte Carlo, marries her and soon is cast in the role of "Mr. Melba" until he can take it no longer and returns to Australia, while Melba decides her voice belongs ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Shining With Glorious Music...Breathtaking Ballet...Unforgettable Romance!


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hechizo de Melba See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Horizon Pictures (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A J. Arthur Rank British-made film biography of Nellie Melba, to star Deanna Durbin, and to be produced in Technicolor by Sydney Box, was briefly considered in 1947. See more »

Soundtracks

Brindisi
from "La traviata"
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nothing like the Dame
27 May 2000 | by Jamie MoffatSee all my reviews

Lewis Milestone said this film should have been called "Melba" like he should have been called "Napoleon". And he wasn't kidding. This 'biopic' has absolutely nothing to do with Dame Nellie Melba; people who complained about historical inaccuracies in "Amadeus" and "Topsy Turvy" should get a load of this!

For those who don't know, Nellie Melba was one of the most vigorous, dominating figures in the Arts at the turn of the twentieth century. Through her awesome talents and sheer determintaion she went from an obscure farmer's wife in Queensland to the reigning prima donna of her generation.

She was emphatically not the twittering soubrette that Patrice Munsel and company would have us believe, and its hard to find a single point where this film corresponds to reality. Madame Munsel's shrill, piercing tones also bear little resemblance to Melba's sublime and bewitching voice.

Taken on its own terms, "Melba" is a dead bore, a technicoloured and garish pastiche of what fame does to destroy love. Its quite ghastly and not even good camp.


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