Senior HTF Member
- Dec 11, 2001
- Real Name
- Roland Lataille
I thought Lanza didn't do the film because he was in terrible shape but there is an interview on youtube with his only surviving child who said he had a fight with the studio and walked off the set. Another great talent beset by demons.
Lanza's weight was never a major factor in his non-appearance in The Student Prince, and in fact he was slim throughout the pre-production period, as photos taken at the time reveal.
The genesis of the problems that led to Lanza's non-appearance in the film can instead be traced back to the creative disagreements that he had with director Curtis Bernhardt during the pre-recording of The Student Prince score in July 1952. Bernhardt reportedly took issue with Lanza over the latter's interpretation of one of the songs (“Beloved”), and relations between the two quickly deteriorated. Finding himself unable to work with Bernhardt, Lanza embarked on a protracted battle with Studio Head Dore Schary. The latter, who made no secret of his disdain for film musicals—and who had earlier opposed the making of Lanza's enormously popular The Great Caruso (ironically on the grounds that it would be financially unsuccessful)—had clashed the previous year with the tenor over Because You're Mine. Schary refused to replace Bernhardt, and ultimately fired Lanza. Ironically, MGM eventually made The Student Prince with The Great Caruso's Richard Thorpe—the very director whom Lanza had requested (to no avail) as the ideal replacement for Bernhardt.
|In an interview with Armando Cesari, the actor Stewart Granger, who knew and liked Lanza, put the tenor's troubled relationship with Bernhardt and Schary into perspective:|
"Mario was inexperienced about the goings-on of the studios and the making of films. As such he took it to heart if he felt betrayed or was unjustly treated by someone like Schary, who was the total opposite of a fatherly figure like [Louis B.] Mayer [the previous head of MGM, and a man with whom Lanza had enjoyed a pleasant working relationship].
Curtis Bernhardt in 1954