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When his bride-to-be finds him much too stiff, heir to the throne Prince Karl is sent off to the university in Heidelberg to learn how to socialize. He makes friends with the students there and falls for the down-to-earth Kathie, a barmaid. The two are soul mates, but when Karl's grandfather the king falls ill, he must choose between his country and his own happiness...Written by
While the basic story remained unchanged, the movie made many changes from the original operetta. 14 of the original songs were eliminated, 3 new songs were written and almost all of the original lyrics from the remaining songs were replaced. In the stage version, the song "Just We Two" is sung by the Princess Johanna and a character who does not appear in the film, Count Tarnitz. She and Tarnitz are secretly in love but must part for state reasons. In addition, the time span of the play (more than two years) was reduced to only a few months in the film. See more »
Shortly after the "Serenade" segment Kathie is in her room. She puts out the candles until only one is left yet, when she goes to the window, a large electric stage light can be seen reflected in the glass. See more »
In an old German kingdom, the arranged marriage between handsome prince Edmund Purdom (as Karl Franz) and a wealthy princess is canceled. He has proved himself amorous enough to produce sons, but Mr. Purdom is found to be lacking in "warmth and charm" by the potential bride. To work on these qualities, Purdon is sent to college and becomes "The Student Prince (in Old Heidelberg)". Unfortunately for his royal subjects, Purdom falls in love with beautiful, but common barmaid Ann Blyth (as Kathie Ruder). When summoned home during a crisis, Purdom must choose between love and duty...
This film was supposed to star operatic superstar Mario Lanza, who made a big screen splash for MGM with "The Great Caruso" (1951). Alas, Mr. Caruso was fired due to problems with both an expanding ego and an expanding waistline. With an appetite for destruction, he died of a heart attack in 1959 (at age 38). Fortunately, Caruso began by recording all the vocals for this production, reportedly in single takes. The studio wisely included them in the soundtrack and Lanza's received a screen credit larger than anyone who actually appeared in the film. His vocals are outstanding and the story remains engaging...
Put in the unenviable role of "lip-synching" Caruso's singing, Purdom handles the assignment well. He obviously doesn't match the excitement in Lanza's voice; nor is he in possession of the inherent charisma brought to the role by the likes of Wallace Reid or Ramon Novarro, who starred in "silent" versions of this story in 1915 and 1927. However, Purdom's good looks kept him before the camera and his acting skills grew. To be painfully honest, Lanza wouldn't have impersonated the prince well. The MGM cast and crew is in fine form, and character actor S.Z. Sakall (as "Uncle" Ruder) delivers a delightful last appearance.
******* The Student Prince (6/15/54) Richard Thorpe ~ Edmund Purdom, Ann Blyth, Mario Lanza, S.Z. Sakall
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