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RolandL

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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].
Picture

Stewart Granger
"You needed to have a thick skin to deal with these people and Mario didn’t have one; he was totally open and therefore completely vulnerable.
Picture

Curtis Bernhardt in 1954
"Bernhardt was a first-class son of a bitch! He had a habit of carrying a stick with him and would poke people in the ribs with it. So at the start of filming on Beau Brummell, the [1954] film he was directing me in, I approached him and gave him a piece of advice. I told him to get rid of the stick or he would be likely to end up in hospital! I then took the stick from him and broke it. Now, this was my way of handling an unpleasant situation, but I had been making films for years. Mario was a beginner; he was also overly sensitive and easily hurt. I can understand him overreacting with a pompous son of a bitch like Bernhardt. Believe me, it wasn’t difficult—even for a seasoned actor."​
 

RolandL

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Just watched it on TCM. It looked pretty good. The audio on the DVD is excellent however, true stereo. The student choruses are full and Lanza & Blyth sound great.
With a video upgrade, the disc would be stellar.

The TCM broadcast looks the same as the DVD. For a DVD The Student Prince looks good.

 

roxy1927

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vincent parisi
Thorpe did a very nice job of directing that final scene. Restrained and very moving. In the Lubitsch there is no bride. In this the character makes the film emotionally more poignant so when Kathy says your first love we sense his future life will be a fulfilling one. OK time for the bluray.
 

RolandL

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It will look amazing, though it's not one of my faves. I'm waiting on "The Toast of New Orleans" which is a lot giddier and also stranger, both the apex as well as the end of the road of the MGM musical.

Was on TCM this morning. Looked OK but not HD.
 

lark144

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mark gross
Was on TCM this morning. Looked OK but not HD.
I'm holding out for "The Toast of New Orleans" which is more highly Technicolored, as well as a lot giddier, the cinematic equivalent of consuming four chocolate eclairs and a double ice cream sundae with sprinkles. And it contains "Be My Love", in which Mario Lanza's vibrato resembles the ferocity of Godzilla's roar. I'm amazed the sets in Culver City didn't all disintegrate.

btw, my impression is that TCM does not get the new HD masters from WB. I believe they're exclusive for HBO Max.
 

lark144

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mark gross
I much prefer Mario Lanza's trashier and flashier films, where his high C's meet low-down MGM glitz, before he decided he was a "serious artist".
 

Gerani53

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Gary Gerani
Lanza was always Lanza, his voice transcending whatever movie he happened to be in. Because of that, they're all worth owning on Blu-ray... and most of the MGM titles are sparkling, Technicolored songfests that never fail to entertain. Even the shot-in-Europe efforts later in the decade, FOR THE FIRST TIME and THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME, are pleasing confections that fully showcase Mr. Lanza's remarkable talent. Which, of course, was the only reason these films were produced to begin with -- you needed some kind of inoffensive storyline and agreeable characters to wrap around ML's glorious voice. Do them all, WAC, and that includes SERENADE, a WB effort that dared to push Mario into somewhat darker territory. But it's all great stuff, if you're a Lanza fan, and I'm counting the days until THE GREAT CARUSO rattles the glass in my living room, supported by what promises to be a retina-searing three-strip Technicolor transfer. Yes!!!
 

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