Thursday, 13 August 2015
AUGUST 13, 2015
THE GREAT CARUSO (1951) Directed by Richard Thorpe ***
THE GREAT CARUSO is certainly no masterpiece but if you are a fan of its star, Mario Lanza, it is a must see. The film is a typical Hollywood hagiography about the life of Enrico Caruso. An example of just how Caruso's life has been airbrushed is the complete omission of his long affair with soprano Ada Giachetti and his four illegitimate children by her, but that's Hollywood for you - one only has to think of other Hollywood biopics of the same period such as NIGHT AND DAY(Cole Porter) and THE MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES (Lon Chaney). Of course, MGM was more interested in getting Mario Lanza on the screen than it was in telling the story of Caruso. That said, the singing is in good hands and Lanza is more than capable of doing the arias in the operatic scenes justice and Ann Blyth in what is essentially a non-singing role (just one song) is fine. As usual Thorpe's direction is efficient but pedestrian. It's all about its star and his voice so if you are a fan you'll love it. If not......well.