Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
USA, 1952. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Karl Tunberg, Leonard Spigelgass, based on the short film by Ruth Brooks Flippen, Sy Gomberg. Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg. Produced by Joe Pasternak. Music by Johnny Green. Production Design by William Ferrari, Cedric Gibbons. Costume Design by Helen Rose. Film Editing by Albert Akst.
Mario Lanza plays (what else) a famous opera singer whose celebrity does nothing to keep him from the draft. He is snatched up by Uncle Sam and put through basic training, though thanks to the fact that his sergeant (James Whitmore) is a huge opera buff, he is given pride of place in his unit.
Lanza also meets Whitmore’s equally vocal sister who is aspiring to make it in the sexy world of opera show biz, and falls madly in love with her, determined to make a life with her after his discharge.
Lanza is at the peak of his vocal abilities and the music department has no problem exploiting his talents at every shameless opportunity, but the lovely music does nothing to mitigate the dreadful writing and direction. The whole thing is torture to sit through.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Song (“Because You’re Mine”)