During Mario Lanza's short but productive 11-year career, he made 7 films of which the last 2 were filmed while he was living in Rome. These musical films are filled with wonderful popular songs and thrilling operatic renditions as only Mario can perform. Mario is also the subject of 2 good videos, one being a musical tribute by Jose Carreras performed live at Royal Albert Hall, London. The other video "Mario Lanza the American Caruso", hosted by Placido Domingo, discusses Mario's personal life and career but the real treat is being introduced to Mario's children and hearing Damon, one of your web hosts, talk about his parents. In 2007 Mario's first 2 movies were released on DVD and The Great Caruso was promised for July 2008 however that has not yet been released. We are hoping that eventually all of Mario's movies will be available for his fans on DVD.
That Midnight Kiss - 1949, Mario Lanza's Film Debut!
Starring Kathryn Grayson
And Introducing Mario Lanza
Aspiring diva Prudence Budell (Kathryn Grayson) knew what she wanted in a singing partner but what she got was an uninspiring, walrus-like snob. "Great tenors are very seldom young, good-looking men who feel the words of opera," the maestro (Jose Iturbi) explained,
"If you ever find one who looks the part, you let me know." So Prudence found him. And, not coincidentally, his appearance on screen meant MGM had found a major film star.
Mario Lanza, already a recording sensation in 1949, made his screen debut in this glowing box-office success. As singing truck driver Johnny Donnetti, the broad-shouldered tenor proved he could handle lines with ease and warmth. And he amply showcased what everyone already knew - he could belt out a song (highlights include Donizetti's "Una Furtiva Lagrima" and Verdi's "Celeste Aida"). Grayson, who had a lifelong ambition to perform on the operatic stage, graced Verdi's "Cara Nome" with her bright coloratura. And, in his final movie, Iturbi teamed with his sister for Chopin's stirring "Revolutionary Etude."
The Toast of New Orleans - 1950
Starring Kathryn Grayson
And Mario Lanza
Consummate tenor Mario Lanza and the supremely accomplished Kathryn Grayson
star in this colorful, song-filled romance. Lush settings, light-hearted
comedy and "richly rendered music" (The New York Times) flow freely
in this lively tale of a Cajun fisherman who leaves the bayou and falls in
love with a beautiful New Orleans opera star.
J.Carrol Naish co-stars as Pepe's (Lanza) irrepressible uncle in scenes that "rate many a chuckle" (Variety). David Niven lends his elegant presence as the director of Suzette's (Grayson) opera company, and Rita Moreno is seen kicking up her heels in the "Tina Lina", a wildly exuberant dance number.
The triumphant soundtrack features arias from "Mignon", "Carmen", "La Traviata" and "Martha". Lanza and Grayson also perform two stunningly passionate duets from "Madame Butterfly" and the popular Academy Award- nominated song, "Be My Love". Break out the bubbly and join in the celebration of this rare vintage musical!
The Great Caruso - 1951
Starring Mario Lanza
and Ann Blyth
Mario Lanza was a highly gifted singer who won enormous acclaim during
a tragically short career as a file and opera star. For his role as Enrico
Caruso in this musical biography, based on the life of one of the greatest
tenors of all time, Lanza studied Caruso recordings for years. The result
is a stunning artistic tribute to both men that includes twenty-seven numbers,
each sung with passion and sentiment.
The story traces Caruso's career - from his beginnings as a young café singer through his 18-year triumph at the Met - while centering on his happy marriage to Dorothy Benjamin (played by Ann Blyth) and his troubles with her family.
Partnered by Metropolitan stars Dorothy Kirsten and Blanche Thebom, Lanza is a natural in favorites like "Vesti La Giubba" from "Pagliacci" ("The Sobbing Song"); "La Donna d Mobile" from "Rigoletto"; "Che Gelida Manina" from "La Boheme"; "Celeste Aida"; and the English ballad "Because." His voice is "easy, rich, musical and strong of high artistic calibre and quite stirring. Musically, he's a treat," exclaimed Variety. As is every sonorous moment of The Great Caruso.
Because You're Mine - 1952
Doretta Morrow, James Whitmore
"Mario, my boy," Louis B. Mayer told Mario Lanza, "I'm going
to make you a singing Clark Gable." By 1951, perhaps the only thing
the renowned tenor needed was a moustache. Lanza's The Great Caruso was one
of that year's top box-office smashes.
Lanza portrayed an ex-GI turned opera star in his debut film That Midnight Kiss. In this genial musical, which followed The Great Caruso, Lanza plays an opera star drafted into the army. He's singing draftee Renaldo Rossano, who has the good fortune to be placed in a unit where the Sarge (James Whitmore) is an opera buff. Sarge has a sister (Doretta Morrow) who sings and needs a break. Would Rossano help? Of course! And, of course, complications are sure to follow.
The film's many songs include the Oscar-nominated title tune, and engaging array of popular and operatic selections, and Lanza's moving rendition of "The Lord's Prayer."
The Student Prince - 1954
In 1954 "The Student Prince" was released for MGM Studio. Due to a musical disagreement, Mario did not star in that movie but allowed his singing voice to be used. Although the movie did fairly well, Mario's "Student Prince" album was actually more successful than the movie.
Serenade - 1956
Sarita Montiel, Vincent Price
"Don't let anything sidetrack you," the impresario (Vincent Price)
tells his new discovery. The young tenor (Mario Lanza) doesn't know it but
he's already careening off the tracks. He's fallen for a socialite (Joan
Fontaine) who uses men like pawns in her game of love.
A rising opera star's life is as turbulent as the on-stage roles he plays in this emotion-swept musical drama based on a James M. Cain novel and filmed almost entirely in Mexico. As the young vocalist who emerges from the obscurity of the vineyards, Lanza impressively hoists the lead role onto his wide shoulders. In a dazzling display of the power that made him a sensation of the musical screen, the renowned tenor sings Ave Maria, excerpts from La Boheme, Don Giovanni, Otello and Il Trovatore, plus other selections form a long songlist, including "Serenade" and "My Destiny", written for the film by Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn. Bravo Mario!
Seven Hills of Rome - 1957
Renato Rascel, Marisa Allasio
Sumptuous photography, sensational singing from one of the world's greatest
tenors and a sentimental story line make this film a cinematic and musical
Marc Revere (Mario Lanza), a popular American TV singer, is in Rome searching for his jet-setting fiancee Carol (Peggy Castle). He moves in with his cousin Pepe (Renato Rascel), a struggling artist who always has room for another kindred soul. They befriend a beautiful young girl, Raffaella (Marisa Allasio), and soon it's music and dance all night long. Marc starts singing at local clubs and in no time he's drawing huge crowds. But when Carol shows up, complications arise because Raffaela has fallen in love with her handsome American hero, Marc.
Directed by Roy Rowland (Meet Me in Las Vegas), written by Art Cohn and Giorgio Prosperi, and filmed entirely on location in beautiful Rome, this "vocal tour-de-force" (Variety) for Lanza is based on a story by Giuseppe Amato.
For the First Time - 1959
Johanna Van Kozian, Zsa Zsa Gabor
The brilliance of one of the world's most beloved tenors and the exciting
world of opera highlights this delightful romantic adventure set in the most
beautiful cities of Europe.
Tonio Costa (Mario Lanza), the temperamental darling of the opera world, is forever missing performances because of impromptu street concerts and endless parties. But Tonio's carefree ways change when he falls in love with Christa (Johanna Van Kozian), a beautiful deaf girl. Christa refuses to marry him until she can hear his sublime voice. So they embark upon a whirlwind concert tour of Europe where Christa consults with specialists while Tonio sings his heart out. Their love grows stronger and they realize that as long as they are together they can face whatever the future holds.
Lush, exotic locations, fabulous operatic performances and the magic of Mario Lanza give this sparkling love story the look and sound of enchantment.
Mario Lanza - The American Caruso - 1983
Hosted by Placido Domingo
Mario Lanza did more to bring classical music and opera to the masses through the popular art of movies than anyone before or since. His one-of-a-kind tenor voice was known to millions through such hit films as The Great Caruso and The Toast of New Orleans, and on such chart-topping records as "Be My Love" and "Arrivederci Roma."
Jose Carreras - A Tribute to Mario Lanza
With a Song in My Heart
Live at Royal Albert Hall, London March 15, 1984
BBC Concert Orchestra, English Concert Chorus, Conductor Enrique Ricci
a Song in My Heart (Richard Rodgers)
Because You're Mine (Brodszky)
L'Ultima Canzone (Tosti)
Pour Un Baiser (Tosti)
Vieni Sul Mar (Califona)
Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) - Orchestra
Musica Proibita (Gastaldon)
Una Furtiva Lagrima from L'Elisir d'Amore (Donizetti)
Mario Lanza Medley arranged by Christopher Palmer - Orchestra
Be My Love (Brodszky)
Core 'Ngrato (Cardillo)
Tu Ca Nun Chiagne (De Curtis)
Torna a Surriento (De Curtis)
Ave Maria (Schubert) - Mario Lanza, Rome 1957