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Serenade

Serenade(1956)

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  • SERENADE YOURSELF TO A GOOD FILM

    • Mark O
    • 10/9/17

    Today, it is very easy to pan this outrageously inept rendition of the James M. Cain novel. People forget that back in 1956 it would have been impossible to film "Serenade" as written by the author. You may also say that Anthony Mann was not the ideal director for this kind of musical melodrama since he was more at home in the film noir and western genres. In spite of all that, "Serenade" is a good movie and can be enjoyed by all but most specially by opera and bel canto lovers. Mario Lanza is mesmerizing singing some of the world's most beloved music. In my opinion he was never more effective as a singer than on this film. As an actor Mr. Lanza has some good and bad moments playing Damon, the humble California vineyard worker who achieves fame and fortune only to be destroyed by his obsessive passion for beautiful socialite Kendall Hale (Joan Fontaine). When he hits rock bottom in Mexico he is rescued and rehabilitated by a bullfighter's daughter, the earthy and also beautiful Juana Montes (Sarita Montiel). When Damon goes back to the U.S. with Juana to re-launch his career, Miss Hale shows up again with every intention to manipulate the singer once more. Will she succeed? All that mayhem is worthy just to listen to Lanzas glorious voice sing "Torna a Sorrento", "Ave Maria" (Schubert) or Puccini's "Nessum dorma" from "Turandot". Both as a singer and an actor Lanza is particularly effective in his rendition of Verdi's "Dio Ti Giocondi" from "Othello", doubtless one of the artist's best moments in film. I find the supporting cast brilliant with special mentions to Vincent Price as the classy, witty opera manager and the gorgeous Sarita as the temperamental Juana. By the way I must correct another reviewer who hinted that Montiel was in this film thanks to her husband director Mann. Wrong! Montiel and Mann met on the set of this film but did not started relationship until much later. They finally got married in 1957.

  • Check my memory

    • Diane
    • 2/5/17

    I saw Serenade when I was about seventeen, and I remember Mario Lanza going to the mountains where he recovered before he met Juana. I remember a reference to his being "castrato" by Joan Fontaine. I swear there was a singer, Yma sumac in the movie, and she sang in a very high voice. Am I imagining this scene?

  • serenade

    • kevin sellers
    • 2/1/17

    Well, if anyone ever asks you what the worst adaptation of a James M. Cain novel is you'll know the answer. And it's sorta fun, in a retarded kinda way, to figure out who has less acting talent, him or her ("her of course being the lovely Spanish lox and spouse of the film's director, who shall remain nameless out of respect for all the good westerns he did with Jimmy Stewart, Sara Montiel) but after awhile even these faint charms begin to pall and one is left with, as previous reviewer Raymond Banacki alluded to, a whole lotta nothin. Give it a D.

  • Kendall Hale - Be Gone!

    • Raymond Banacki
    • 1/31/17

    The plot premise that the wan charms of Joan Fontaine could destroy the operatic gifts of Mario Lanza is much too ridiculous for a two-hour journey into a man's soul.

  • serenade,,

    • gaylynne ray
    • 1/30/15

    One of my favorites.....wonderful musical

  • Acting Awkward

    • Joella Lyndon
    • 1/30/15

    Elvis does opera.

  • mario lanza seranade

    • sterling sloan
    • 1/19/15

    First allow me to give you my background.I,m almost 70 now,but from a empathic viewpoint,when i was in my early 20,s.I too rehearsed along with my idol mario lanza as he did with caruso.so my mother,also a ex opera singer ,got me into cornish school in seattle, under the hand of a alfred schweppe, a retired newe york city opera coach. when he heard my dramatic tenor high range he said quote" your the best tenor voice i,ve had in 40 years."unquote".Well he was over zealous,I believe in my potential.so I was able,by the capacity of my young resilent vocal chords to add a octave in one month. .But inside I knew I was a tenor/baritone..so as the months drew on,I could sense my vocal chords accelerating what damage lanza throat had incured over some ten years.In those first months-one year, my parents,neighbors said one my good days,they could tell his voive from mine. anyway to the point.I think no one has a greater fine tune ear to lanzas voice than In fact i collect tenor voices as a hobby,no a obession.allowing for aging,recording quality.Bottom line,I think lanzas range should have been limited to a high of b sharp or a b flat.But also,its not all lanzas, fault that us a liseners,have our ears { at least mine} by hearing to many high C,s in 90 minutes,where he performed these over months.Still, lanza knew the marketing strategy behind those high C,s since "Be my love" and seemed compelled to shove them on us in almost every song.Listen to "my rosary"To me ,that dramatic upswing was way inapropriate to the mood of the song.lanza,in a interview said he always trys to adjust his voice to the song.and generfally he was good at it .a full opera voice to nesso dorma, yet light lyrical in "sYLVIA.anyway may it was his drinking,his wasting hIS HEALTH. WAnt more info e mail me ettemy@gmail.com

  • SERENADE

    • Silvia Schnur
    • 5/14/14

    Serenade is my favorite Lanza movie,after The great Caruso.In Serenade he shows us not only his magnificent voicebut also dramatic acting which is amazing. He is fantastic in Otello and later picking up the pieces of his ruined life.He is extremely moving and one gets easily carried along. I am a close contemporary and I remember him well ,he was quite famous and it is heartbreaking that he died so young.he might have become a great star at all the opera houses.I have all the DVDs you carry in your store,but if you hear him directly onTV,it is still better ,the sound is more even.I had recorded the great Caruso last year,unfortunately some sports fan among my grandchildren erased it by mistake,I was very upset. Is there any chance that in the near future you might have another night,or day,when you would play again his movies for all of Lanza's fans. In my generation there are very many of them because we all remember him.if you could schedule it in the near future ,I would be eternally grateful and so would many others.You repeat many movies frequently,please do it with Serenade foremost and also the others, unfortunately that it all that is left of one of the greatest voices of the 20th century. With hope and gratitude ,sincerely Silvia Schnur

  • Serenade

    • Teri
    • 10/12/13

    How nice to see the Warner Brother movie that was Mario's last in America. I am glade that they played it this week, perhaps in memory of his passing October 8th. Rest in peace.

  • Serenade

    • I-Fortuna
    • 6/22/13

    Mario Lanza is wonderful. How great to have him and his beautiful voice on film.

  • Because Your Mine

    • Karen
    • 1/31/13

    LOVED Mario Lanza and remember afternoons as a teenage girl loving his movies and yes, having a major crush!!! His voice was like a glimpse of Heaven on earth and I was crushed by his untimely death. Thanks so much TMC for the memories and showcasing Mario's movies!!! BRAVO!!!

  • Never Better!

    • Susan Hudek
    • 5/10/11

    Mario Lanza's voice in this film is beyond compare. He's the only one who has made operatic music accessible to me. Not the best movie....but oh God the voice. Beautiful! Maybe playing it at primetime instead of 2:30 am. would enable more people to appreciate this great talent.

  • Insuper├ível

    • Sonia
    • 11/6/10

    Mario Lanza est insupervel neste filme. Quando ele canta Ave Maria d vontade de chorar. O filme lindo e deveria estar em DVD. TCM exiba este filme que conta com a bela Joan fontaine.

  • Great singer and actor!

    • Lilly
    • 5/23/10

    I have seen several of Mario Lanza's movies and I love his music. It is very sad such a wonderful talent was gone so soon. I have searched for 'Serenade' on DVD, but have only found it on VHS. Please, do us Mario Lanza fans a favor and play Serenade for us soon. Thank you, Lilly

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