Mario Lanza did more to bring classical music and opera to the masses through the popular art of movies than anyone else. His unique tenor voice was known to millions through such hit films as The Great Caruso and The Toas... more »t of New Orleans, and on such chart-topping records as "Be My Love." The chubby "singing truck driver" from Philadelphia became a Hollywood legend, only to be destroyed by his own excess. In a brief twelve years, Lanza went from being a star to an overeating has-been. He died tragicaly at the age 38 alone and near penniless in a diet clinic under mysterious circumstances. Through clips of his popular recordings, and from interviews his story is now told. This revealing video profile presents the highs and lows of this remarkable performer. Video hosted by Placido Domingo. 1983, color, 70 minutes.« less
"Host Placido Domingo does his idol proud in this long-overdue documentary of Mario Lanza. Made in 1983, the doco includes interviews with numerous Lanza co-stars, friends, family members & associates: Kathryn Grayson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Anna Moffo and conductor Peter Herman Adler, to name just a few. All are unanimous about one thing: that potentially, at least, Mario Lanza was the American Caruso.Backing up this assertion are some well-chosen operatic clips from six of Lanza's seven movies, including a heartrending Vesti La Giubba from For The First Time, which movingly concludes the documentary. (Inexplicably missing, however, are excerpts from Serenade, vocally Lanza's finest film.) There are also a number of rare TV appearances and newsreels that provide titillating glimpses of the man.The doco makes an honest effort to convey the essence of the man, and it largely succeeds. I would, however, take the tabloid claims that Lanza died as the result of a Mafia "hit" with a large pinch of salt! This is one aspect that should been dealt with more objectively.All in all, a fascinating introduction to a one-of-a-kind vocal genius."
THE MOST NEAGTIVE MOVIE ABOUT LANZA I HAVE EVER WATCHED
R. Elliott | Houston, MO United States | 12/09/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a terrible "tribute" to Mario Lanza. All this DVD did was take out the bad things about Lanza and show them off. It made the impression that the only "good" thing about him was his voice. NOBODY IS PERFECT. So why "glorify" it. They never show the good in him. There is allot more good in a person then there is bad. Hollywood ruined him, and he fell for it. Yes, he did do some bad things but nobody's perfect. Are you perfect? I am not. He IS the second greatest tenor next to Caruso. This movie doesn't deserve to be on a DVD, in stead it needs to be in the trash. (The 2 star rating I gave this "movie" is for the acting.)"
Opera made Popular
Juan B. Mansfield | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | 10/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If there ever was an artist who made opera reachable to anyone was Mario Lanza. His films made opera familiar to those people in countries not having an opera tradition. I can be a witness to that from the Dominican Republic of the 1950's. This video shows Lanza and his life. When a supermega star like Placido Domingo decides to become the voice of this project then you should realize the greatness of Lanza. I read a book on the life of Jussi Bjorling and is interesting to read about the friendship and respect this other megastar had for Lanza. This video is a must for the new generation of opera lovers or curious so they know who was the generator of opera as a more popular art form years before the three tenors. Juan Mansfield"
What could have been?
denise jones -the hair | 02/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"not really -but what was, to the listener we heard a voice that can only be described as magical. had he been lost to opera and the "elite" would the likes of us have heard this magnificent voice-i doubt it. this man had it all and he shared that magic to millions -and still does. i was a mere 11years young when i first heard "Lanza" and now 50years later he can still reduce me to tears.no other tenor has done that before or since what came out of this dvd for me was that yes he was used by many -but loved by millions and that will continue no matter what was said by some twisted individuals because that voice will live on as each generation passes-i certainly do not think that the programme was trash indeed i felt quite emotional watching it.long may programmes be made about this fabulous artiste he deserves to live in our memories."
A decent biography but not as much fun as his films
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 04/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Warning: The tape being reviewed here is the 1983 biography of "Mario Lanza: The American Caruso" and not the 1951 feature film "The Great Caruso" starring Mario Lanza as the previous reviewer claims. The Hollywood musical star of the 1940s and 50s was born Alfred Cocozza and while this biography traces his success with films and records it also plays straight with his drinking and eating binges until his sudden death in 1959 at the young age of 38. This biography tries to deal with the persistent rumors that Lanza was killed by the mob because he never paid back Lucky Luciano, who reported had financed Lanza's career, but in the end there is mere suspicion rather than hard evidence. Watching this film will probably make you wish you had rented "The Great Caruso" or "The Student Prince" instead. The clips of Lanza singing will only whet your appetite to hear more."