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Serenade

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Overview

Loosely based on a novel by James M. Cain, this romantic drama centers on the struggles of a humble vineyard worker (real-life opera star Mario Lanza) who rises to become a renowned opera star. In the original book, Damon, the protagonist, has a homosexual relationship with the patron who boosts his career, but in the film, the patron is a wealthy and manipulative young woman named Kendall (Joan Fontaine). As charming as she is selfish, poor Damon cannot help but fall in love with Kendall. Unfortunately, she is a...
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Overview

Loosely based on a novel by James M. Cain, this romantic drama centers on the struggles of a humble vineyard worker (real-life opera star Mario Lanza) who rises to become a renowned opera star. In the original book, Damon, the protagonist, has a homosexual relationship with the patron who boosts his career, but in the film, the patron is a wealthy and manipulative young woman named Kendall (Joan Fontaine). As charming as she is selfish, poor Damon cannot help but fall in love with Kendall. Unfortunately, she is a fickle creature and soon grows bored with him, thereby breaking his heart and causing him to choke during his audition for the Met. Afterward, he flees to Mexico. There he comes down with a mysterious, debilitating movie disease. Fortunately, Juana, a beautiful ex-bullfighter's daughter is there to help him recover. Damon falls in love with her, but just as it looks like happiness will finally be his, conniving Kendall reappears. In addition to singing numerous selections from popular operas, Lanza also sings a pair of Sammy Cahn/Nicholas Brodszky pop tunes: "Serenade" and "My Destiny."
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
In this 1956 film directed by Anthony Mann, Mario Lanza romances two women -- one a socialite who jilts him and another a bullfighter's daughter who accepts him -- and rumbles the rafters with 15 songs. The love story is average; the singing is sensational. While all of the spine-tingling drama is taking place, the raison d'être of the film, the real reason Hollywood bothered to make it, presents itself. It is, of course, Lanza's voice, the voice exalted by tenors Placido Domingo and José Carreras and the voice credited with motivating tenor Richard Leech to pursue an opera career. During the film's two-hour running time, Lanza sings arias by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Giordano, Meyerbeer, Mozart, Cilea, and Richard Strauss, as well as popular songs by Sammy Kahn and Nicholas Brodzky. He also sings a beautiful, echoing "Ave Maria," by Franz Schubert, in a Mexican church. Unfortunately, Lanza lip-synchs his numbers, and sometimes his lips move behind or ahead of the words. Also, he gains weight during the film -- a not uncommon problem for him during the making of his movies, given his enormous appetite that would call for as many two dozen eggs and a pound of bacon for breakfast. Consequently, he appears svelte and slender singing one aria and porcine and puffy in the next. But the film works because it sings, and there was no other film star who could sing quite like Lanza.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/20/2011
  • UPC: 883316390009
  • Original Release: 1956
  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Remastered
  • Time: 2:02:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 27,022

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mario Lanza Damon Vincente
Joan Fontaine Kendall Hale
Sarita Montiel Juana Montez
Vincent Price Charles Winthrop
Joseph Calleia Prof. Marcatello
Harry Bellaver Monte
Vince Edwards Marco Roselli
Silvio Minciotti Lordelli
Frank Puglia Manuel
Edward Platt Carter
Frank Yaconelli Giuseppe
Mario Siletti Sanroma
Maria Serrano Rosa
María Luísa Serrano Rosa
Eduardo Noriega Felipe
Licia Albanese Singer
Jean Fenn Singer
Stephen Bekassy Hanson
Elizabeth Flournoy Elevator Operator
William Fox
Martin Garralaga Romero
Creighton Hale Assistant Stage Manager
Lillian Molieri Tosca in "Tosca"
Leo Mostovoy Chief
Victor Romito Bass
Jack Santoro Busboy
José Torvay Mariachi Leader
Antonio Triana Dancer
Don Turner Bus Driver
Joseph Vitale Baritone
Ralph Volkie Cop
Johnstone White Hughes the Butler
Laura Mason Fedora in "Fedora"
Mickey Golden Cabdriver
April Stride
Diane Gump Party Guest
Technical Credits
Anthony Mann Director
Henry Blanke Producer
Edward Carrere Art Director
Ivan Goff Screenwriter
J. Peverell Marley Cinematographer
Ben Roberts Screenwriter
Howard Shoup Costumes/Costume Designer
John Twist Screenwriter
William Wallace Set Decoration/Design
William H. Ziegler Editor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2014

    It was amazing Mario Lanza at his best , so sad he died at 38 .

    It was amazing Mario Lanza at his best , so sad he died at 38 .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews