6.6/10
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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

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

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

This was the next-to-last completed MGM film under Louis B. Mayer's supervision (the last was Show Boat (1951), released in the summer of that year). A proxy fight soon after would see him removed as the head of the studio he helped to found. He was replaced by his former chief of production, Dore Schary. Mayer ran MGM for 27 years, Schary for barely 6. 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 »

Quotes

Enrico Caruso: It is true, Señor Barretto, that right now I sing for pennies. Pennies are not very important in a big house like this. But the singing, that is important everywhere. It makes people feel good inside, takes away the ugliness, the sadness, and it fills the empty place here. That too is something Señor, isn't it?
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 Neighbours: Episode #1.830 (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Cielo e Mar
(uncredited)
from "LA GIOCONDA"
Performed by Mario Lanza
Written by Amilcare Ponchielli
See more »

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User Reviews

engaging opera biography
21 May 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

By far the best thing about 'The Great Caruso' is not its stodgy script or its slightly silly plot (not very likely that much of this equates to the true story of Enrico Caruso, the first opera star to have his voice immortalised for all time), but the first rate singing throughout. Mario Lanza of course was a great asset to MGM through the late 1940s and early 1950s, with a fabulous voice and an attractive personality on the screen. This film also gives us the opportunity to see the lovely Dorothy Kirsten, who seems to have made very few films, and a sweet performance from Ann Blyth as the main love interest for Caruso.

We watch the young Enrico (played with charm by Peter Edward Price) grow into an enterprising young man who realises his voice is potentially his fortune. As the young talent flourishes and develops we follow his rise to fame through to his eventual inevitable ending. I didn't get much sense that the character we were seeing in this film was 'Caruso'; having heard his recordings he projected a very different personality than that we see in Lanza; still, this production is entertaining enough.


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