Because You're Mine


1h 43m 1952
Because You're Mine

Brief Synopsis

After being drafted, an opera star falls for his sergeant's sister.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Big Cast
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Oct 3, 1952
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Sep 1952
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Camp Atterbury, Indiana, United States; Ford Ord, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,262ft (11 reels)

Synopsis

When famed New York opera singer Renaldo Rossano is classified 1-A and inducted into the army, he leaves behind his beloved mother, his jealous co-star and girl friend, Francesca Landers, and manager, Albert Parkson Foster. As soon as Renaldo arrives at the train station near the army base, his expensive clothes and adoring fans irritate the receiving sergeant and other recruits. On the base, Renaldo is assigned to tough platoon leader Sgt. "Bat" Batterson. The opera-loving Bat is overjoyed to have his idol in his platoon and grants Renaldo special privileges, as he asks him to meet his sister Bridget, who sings on the radio. Hoping to use the situation to his advantage, Renaldo says that he will have his manager audition Bridget "if" he ever gets to New York again. Although company Capt. Burton Nordell Loring openly disapproves of Bat's fawning over Renaldo, Bat assures Renaldo that there is nothing to worry about because sergeants run the army. Sometime later, Bat takes Renaldo into town to meet his girl friend, Patty Ware, and Bridget. Bridget is annoyed that Bat is pushing her career, so, instead of an aria, she performs the commercial jingle she sings on the radio. Renaldo is attracted to Bridget and tells her that she must "sing from the heart." Patty and Bat then go to dinner, after Bat tells Renaldo to meet them at the restaurant. When Bridget and Renaldo finally show up, Renaldo, who finds Bridget more interesting than her voice, sings a love song as they dance. At just that moment, Loring arrives at the restaurant and sternly tells Bat that Renaldo is AWOL. Bat pretends to be angry with Renaldo and orders him back to the base, but after Loring leaves, Bat apologizes. Walking back to the barracks, Renaldo says that he has made a date with Bridget for Easter Sunday and asks Bat to think of something to save him from punishment duty. As they pass the company church, Renaldo hears a WAC organist playing "The Lord's Prayer" and asks if he can accompany her. Seeing some officers listen appreciatively, the chaplain arranges for Renaldo to sing at Easter services. On Easter, Gen. Montville and his wife are delighted to meet Renaldo's mother, who is paying a surprise visit to her son. Renaldo introduces his mother to Bat, Patty and Bridget, then, to Loring's annoyance, the four drive into town with the general's permission. That afternoon, Renaldo confesses to Bridget that he is in love with her and assures Bat that his intentions are honorable. Renaldo then telephones Albert in New York to ask him to give Bridget an audition on the same night as his planned recording session. Unknown to either of them, Francesca, who is visiting Albert, is listening in on an extension. Back at the base, three of Renaldo's fellow soldiers, Artie Pilcer, Ben Jones and Horsey have become resentful of his special treatment, so Horsey complains to Loring. Bat later learns that his and Renaldo's trip to New York for the audition is impossible because Loring has cancelled all passes prior to an upcoming visit by United Nations dignitaries. The resourceful Bat appeals to Mrs. Montville, who talks her husband into giving both Bat and Renaldo passes, in exchange for Renaldo performing for the dignitaries. In New York, as Albert and Francesca wait for Renaldo in the recording studio, the scheming Francesca upsets Bridget by saying that Renaldo frequently arranges for auditions for attractive women, but has always been in love with her. When Bat and Renaldo arrive, Francesca takes Bat aside and suggests that Renaldo used him to get to New York for the recording session because he needed money. Later, while Renaldo and Francesca are recording, Bat and Bridget discuss what they have been told and decide to leave. When the session is over, Renaldo finds a note from Bridget and becomes furious with Francesca. The next morning, Renaldo barely makes it back to the platoon by roll call and finds that Bat has turned against him. Because Renaldo stubbornly refuses to directly refute Francesca's accusations, he soon finds himself mired in punishment duty. At first Pilcer, Jones and Horsey are delighted by Renaldo's comeuppance, but later feel sorry for him. When Montville orders Loring to have Renaldo start rehearsing for the UN visit, Loring pressures Bat, who orders Renaldo to rehearse. He refuses, though, saying that he has no obligation to perform non-military duties. Because Loring has threatened Bat with reassignment to Iceland if Renaldo does not sing, Patty begs him to apologize to Renaldo, but Bat refuses. Meanwhile, in New York, Mrs. Rossano goes to see Bridget and tells her that Renaldo is really in love with her. Bridget then goes to the base and tells Renaldo she loves him, but he thinks that she is merely trying to help Bat. In the barracks that night, Renaldo accuses Bat of using Bridget, and the two men begin fighting. Just then, Loring arrives and orders them into the stockade. From adjoining cells, Renaldo and Bat talk and soon realize they had been wrong about each other and that Bridget really does love Renaldo. When Pilcer, Jones and Horsey stop by, Renaldo asks their help with his plan to have Patty talk with Mrs. Montville about convincing her husband to let Renaldo sing. Mrs. Montville, in turn, talks to the general but he insists that military discipline must be maintained. On the day of the UN visit, Bat and Renaldo are still in the stockade, thinking their situation is hopeless, when Renaldo spies his friend, French general Pierre Montal. When he starts to sing, Montal instantly recognizes his old friend's voice. A short time later, Renaldo is performing for the dignitaries, much to Loring's chagrin. Renaldo then asks Bridget to join him to sing a duet.

Cast

Mario Lanza

Renaldo Rossano

Doretta Morrow

Bridget Batterson

James Whitmore

Sgt. ["Bat"] Batterson

Dean Miller

Ben Jones

Paula Corday

Francesca [Landers]

Jeff Donnell

Patty Ware

Spring Byington

Mrs. Montville

Curtis Cooksey

Gen. Montville

Don Porter

Capt. Burton Nordell Loring

Eduard Franz

Albert Parkson Foster

Bobby Van

Artie Pilcer

Ralph Reed

Horsey

Celia Lovsky

Mrs. Rossano

Alexander Steinert

Maestro Paradoni

George Renavent

Gen. Pierre Montal

Dick Wessel

Sgt. Grogan

Frank Hyers

Sgt. Mulvaney

Gerald H. Wayne

G.I.

Michael Kostrick

G.I.

Bill Hickman

G.I.

Jonathan Cott

Narrator

Walden Boyle

Doctor

George Brand

Doctor

Creighton Hale

Doctor

Cy Stevens

Doctor

William "bill" Phillips

Sergeant

Dabbs Greer

Sergeant

Henry Kulky

Sergeant

Ralph Montgomery

Sergeant

Dick Landry

Sergeant

Clyde Courtright

Doorman

Joe Bautista

Butler

Phyllis Graffeo

Italian girl

William Lester

Supply sergeant

Murray Alper

Supply sergeant

George Riley

Supply sergeant

Beatrice Gray

Secretary

Jo Ella Wright

WAC organist

John Maxwell

Chaplain

Tom Quinn

Chaplain

Sid Kane

Chaplain

George Meader

Parker

Kay English

Guest

Hazel Shaw

Guest

Mary Jane French

WAC private

Wilson Wood

Attendant

Fred Datig Jr.

Smith

Maury Hill

Zbyski

Diane Cassidy

Actress

Marjorie Nye

Maid

Fred Santley

Stage doorman

Larry Harmon

Mixer

Jerry Davenport

Singer in radio commercial

Maxwell Smith

Singer in radio commercial

Gene Lanham

Singer in radio commercial

Thurl Ravenscroft

Singer in radio commercial

Katherine Chapman

Background singer in "Addio alla Mama" number

Terry Robinson

Soldier in fight scene

Anthony Cocozza

Mary Cocozza

Crew

Irving Aaronson

Music adv

Irving Aaronson

Composer

Albert Akst

Film Editor

Jeff Alexander

Choral Director

Vincenzo Bellini

Composer

Arrigo Boito

Composer

Peggy Bonini

Singing voice double for Paula Corday

Johannes Brahms

Composer

Nicholas Brodszky

Composer

Jerry Bryan

Dial Director

Sammy Cahn

Composer

Salvatore Cammarano

Composer

Gaetano Donizetti

Composer

George Dye

Technicolor tech

Elmer Faubion

Assistant Technicolor tech

Norwood Fenton

Sound

William Ferrari

Art Director

Herbert Fischer

Camera Operator

Ruth Brooks Flippen

Based on a Story by

Robert P. Fox

Set Decoration

Cedric Gibbons

Art Director

A. Arnold Gillespie

Special Effects

Bert Glazer

Assistant Director

Sy Gomberg

Based on a Story by

James Gooch

Technicolor Color Consultant

Johnny Green

Music Director

Jack Greenwood

Assistant Director

Sydney Guilaroff

Hair styles Designer

Henri Jaffa

Technicolor Color Consultant

William Kaplan

Production Manager

Lee Katz

Production Manager

Agustin Lara

Composer

John Lehmann

Composer

Albert Hay Malotte

Composer

Wolfgang Martin

Operatic numbers coached by

Pietro Mascagni

Composer

Guido Menasci

Composer

Giacomo Meyerbeer

Composer

Warren Newcombe

Special Effects

Joe Pasternak

Producer

Francesco Maria Piave

Composer

Cole Porter

Composer

Felice Romani

Composer

Helen Rose

Women's Costume Designer

Joseph Ruttenberg

Director of Photography

Eugène Scribe

Composer

Albert Sendrey

Orchestration

Douglas Shearer

Recording Supervisor

Frank Shugrue

Stills

Raymond Sinatra

Composer

Leonard Spigelgass

Screenwriter

Giovanni Targioni-tozzetti

Composer

Karl Tunberg

Screenwriter

William Tuttle

Makeup created by

Giueseppe Verdi

Composer

Ted Voigtlander

Assistant Technicolor tech

Paul Webster

Composer

Edwin B. Willis

Set Decoration

Film Details

Also Known As
The Big Cast
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Oct 3, 1952
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Sep 1952
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Camp Atterbury, Indiana, United States; Ford Ord, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,262ft (11 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Song

1952

Articles

Because You're Mine


Years before singing sensation Elvis Presley served a highly publicized hitch in the Army, MGM did the same for Mario Lanza in the fluffy 1952 musical Because You're Mine. Though it was not Lanza's greatest vehicle at the studio -- he would walk out on his contract shortly after finishing the picture -- it had a strong score, including the Oscar®-nominated title song, and the kind of supporting cast only a studio with MGM's resources could assemble.

Joe Pasternak, who had produced all of Lanza's films, thought the lightweight story would provide a nice change of pace after the lavish period production of The Great Caruso (1951), both for the fans and the studio's balance books. Of course, there was no such thing as a small picture at MGM. Pasternak gave Lanza an Oscar®-winning cinematographer, Joseph Ruttenberg, and a strong cast including James Whitmore, Spring Byington and rising Broadway star Doretta Morrow, fresh from her role as Tuptim in The King and I. He even cast the singer's parents as fans seeing him off at a train station.

The studio also pulled out all the stops with the score. Not only did they reprise Lanza's biggest hit, "Be My Love" from The Toast of New Orleans (1950) (though here it was sung by Morrow), but they hired that song's writers, Nicholas Brodsky and Sammy Cahn, to create the title song. They also gave Lanza ample opportunity to perform items from the operatic repertoire, including "Questa o Quella" from Rigoletto, "O Paradiso" from L'Africaine and the sextette from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Lanza was having none of it, however. He hated the script and turned on Pasternak, who had previously been one of his best friends at the studio. "If it weren't for people like me," he protested, "he'd be back washing dishes. I make the pictures -- I sing -- and that bastard thinks it's him." Finally, studio head Dore Schary informed Lanza he could make the film or go on suspension. The star would later claim that as compensation, he made the studio add "The Lord's Prayer" to the film, to give it some dignity.

Dignity was rarely a hallmark of Lanza's on-screen characters. Most of his films were built around the contrast between his angelic singing voice and his characters' uncouth behavior, usually depicted as natural and even sexy. In that sense, the roles were somewhat autobiographical. Though Lanza's singing had made him a star, his off-screen shenanigans made him the bane of MGM. His behavior had been deteriorating even before he made his biggest hit, The Great Caruso. His eating and drinking were out of control as he binged and then dieted repeatedly. During filming, he sometimes showed up drunk, and his costumes had to be altered weekly to accommodate the changes in his size.

His worst behavior, however, was aimed at Morrow. Before filming began, they were called in to record the songs. During the session, he not only chided her for not being sexy enough, but made lewd comments about what she had to do physically to compensate. By the time Morrow got to Schary's studio, in tears, he had heard the story already from musical director Johnny Green and producer Pasternak. He convinced her he would handle the matter and had a strong talk with Lanza. But the next day he was back to the same behavior. Finally, Schary had to hire a stunt man to wear a Marine's uniform and inform Lanza he was Morrow's brother. He then warned him that if there were any more ungentlemanly behavior, "I'll come, and you'll sing soprano for the rest of your life." There were no more problems, and when the film finished Morrow asked Schary to thank her "brother" for her. Because You're Mine would be her only film. She returned to Broadway to star in Kismet, then retired to marry.

When the film came out, it received respectful reviews, though most critics were happier with the music than with the script or Lanza's acting. In the New York Times, Bosley Crowther opined that "Mr. Lanza delivering a song is a great deal more entertaining than Mr. Lanza delivering a gag, especially the sort here written for him..." The best notices went to Whitmore as Lanza's sergeant and biggest fan (he even performed some opera of his own, from Il Trovatore). The film turned a profit, but didn't crack the year's top 20. In fact, it was the lowest grossing of Lanza's MGM films. It would also be his last there. Even though the studio put The Student Prince (1954) into production as his next film, he walked out in a temper tantrum after recording the score. MGM would make the film with Edmund Purdom mouthing Lanza's vocals.

Producer: Joe Pasternak
Director: Alexander Hall
Screenplay: Karl Tunberg, Leonard Spigelgass
Based on the story by Ruth Brooks Flippen, Sy Gomberg
Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg
Art Direction: William Ferrari, Cedric Gibbons
Score: Johnny Green
Principal Cast: Mario Lanza (Renaldo Rossano), Doretta Morrow (Bridget Batterson), James Whitmore (Sgt. Batterson), Dean Miller (Ben Jones), Paula Corday (Francesca Landers), Jeff Donnell (Patty Ware), Spring Byington (Mrs. Montville), Don Porter (Capt. Loring), Eduard Franz (Albert Parkson Foster), Bobby Van (Artie Pilcer), Celia Lovsky (Mrs. Rossano), Dabbs Greer (Sergeant), Thurl Ravenscroft (Singer in Radio Commercial), Dick Wessel (Sgt. Grogan).
C-103m. Closed Captioning.

by Frank Miller

SOURCES:
The MGM Stock Company by James Robert Parish
Heyday: An Autobiography by Dore Schary
Because You're Mine

Because You're Mine

Years before singing sensation Elvis Presley served a highly publicized hitch in the Army, MGM did the same for Mario Lanza in the fluffy 1952 musical Because You're Mine. Though it was not Lanza's greatest vehicle at the studio -- he would walk out on his contract shortly after finishing the picture -- it had a strong score, including the Oscar®-nominated title song, and the kind of supporting cast only a studio with MGM's resources could assemble. Joe Pasternak, who had produced all of Lanza's films, thought the lightweight story would provide a nice change of pace after the lavish period production of The Great Caruso (1951), both for the fans and the studio's balance books. Of course, there was no such thing as a small picture at MGM. Pasternak gave Lanza an Oscar®-winning cinematographer, Joseph Ruttenberg, and a strong cast including James Whitmore, Spring Byington and rising Broadway star Doretta Morrow, fresh from her role as Tuptim in The King and I. He even cast the singer's parents as fans seeing him off at a train station. The studio also pulled out all the stops with the score. Not only did they reprise Lanza's biggest hit, "Be My Love" from The Toast of New Orleans (1950) (though here it was sung by Morrow), but they hired that song's writers, Nicholas Brodsky and Sammy Cahn, to create the title song. They also gave Lanza ample opportunity to perform items from the operatic repertoire, including "Questa o Quella" from Rigoletto, "O Paradiso" from L'Africaine and the sextette from Lucia di Lammermoor. Lanza was having none of it, however. He hated the script and turned on Pasternak, who had previously been one of his best friends at the studio. "If it weren't for people like me," he protested, "he'd be back washing dishes. I make the pictures -- I sing -- and that bastard thinks it's him." Finally, studio head Dore Schary informed Lanza he could make the film or go on suspension. The star would later claim that as compensation, he made the studio add "The Lord's Prayer" to the film, to give it some dignity. Dignity was rarely a hallmark of Lanza's on-screen characters. Most of his films were built around the contrast between his angelic singing voice and his characters' uncouth behavior, usually depicted as natural and even sexy. In that sense, the roles were somewhat autobiographical. Though Lanza's singing had made him a star, his off-screen shenanigans made him the bane of MGM. His behavior had been deteriorating even before he made his biggest hit, The Great Caruso. His eating and drinking were out of control as he binged and then dieted repeatedly. During filming, he sometimes showed up drunk, and his costumes had to be altered weekly to accommodate the changes in his size. His worst behavior, however, was aimed at Morrow. Before filming began, they were called in to record the songs. During the session, he not only chided her for not being sexy enough, but made lewd comments about what she had to do physically to compensate. By the time Morrow got to Schary's studio, in tears, he had heard the story already from musical director Johnny Green and producer Pasternak. He convinced her he would handle the matter and had a strong talk with Lanza. But the next day he was back to the same behavior. Finally, Schary had to hire a stunt man to wear a Marine's uniform and inform Lanza he was Morrow's brother. He then warned him that if there were any more ungentlemanly behavior, "I'll come, and you'll sing soprano for the rest of your life." There were no more problems, and when the film finished Morrow asked Schary to thank her "brother" for her. Because You're Mine would be her only film. She returned to Broadway to star in Kismet, then retired to marry. When the film came out, it received respectful reviews, though most critics were happier with the music than with the script or Lanza's acting. In the New York Times, Bosley Crowther opined that "Mr. Lanza delivering a song is a great deal more entertaining than Mr. Lanza delivering a gag, especially the sort here written for him..." The best notices went to Whitmore as Lanza's sergeant and biggest fan (he even performed some opera of his own, from Il Trovatore). The film turned a profit, but didn't crack the year's top 20. In fact, it was the lowest grossing of Lanza's MGM films. It would also be his last there. Even though the studio put The Student Prince (1954) into production as his next film, he walked out in a temper tantrum after recording the score. MGM would make the film with Edmund Purdom mouthing Lanza's vocals. Producer: Joe Pasternak Director: Alexander Hall Screenplay: Karl Tunberg, Leonard Spigelgass Based on the story by Ruth Brooks Flippen, Sy Gomberg Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg Art Direction: William Ferrari, Cedric Gibbons Score: Johnny Green Principal Cast: Mario Lanza (Renaldo Rossano), Doretta Morrow (Bridget Batterson), James Whitmore (Sgt. Batterson), Dean Miller (Ben Jones), Paula Corday (Francesca Landers), Jeff Donnell (Patty Ware), Spring Byington (Mrs. Montville), Don Porter (Capt. Loring), Eduard Franz (Albert Parkson Foster), Bobby Van (Artie Pilcer), Celia Lovsky (Mrs. Rossano), Dabbs Greer (Sergeant), Thurl Ravenscroft (Singer in Radio Commercial), Dick Wessel (Sgt. Grogan). C-103m. Closed Captioning. by Frank Miller SOURCES: The MGM Stock Company by James Robert Parish Heyday: An Autobiography by Dore Schary

Because You're Mine


After The Great Caruso (1951) was a hit, Mario Lanza assumed MGM would be starring him in more projects of equal prestige. Not so - producer Joe Pasternak wanted to give the opera star a hint of the everyman by casting him as an army private who romances the vocally gifted Bridget (Doretta Morrow, veteran of The King and I on Broadway), who is the sister of his sergeant in command (James Whitmore). (The fact that such a picture would be cheaper to produce than another operatic period piece helped Pasternak cozy up to formidable MGM president Dore Schary, too.) Distressed by a project he felt was beneath him, Lanza binged on alcohol and comfort food before shooting began (despite orders from on high to slim down before the cameras rolled, his weight noticeably fluctuates from scene to scene in the final print) and harassed his co-star Morrow until she stormed out of a recording session. But the end result on screen can be summed up by The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther: "It's really Mr. Lanza's singing that should and will attract attention to this technicolored film."

By Violet LeVoit

Because You're Mine

After The Great Caruso (1951) was a hit, Mario Lanza assumed MGM would be starring him in more projects of equal prestige. Not so - producer Joe Pasternak wanted to give the opera star a hint of the everyman by casting him as an army private who romances the vocally gifted Bridget (Doretta Morrow, veteran of The King and I on Broadway), who is the sister of his sergeant in command (James Whitmore). (The fact that such a picture would be cheaper to produce than another operatic period piece helped Pasternak cozy up to formidable MGM president Dore Schary, too.) Distressed by a project he felt was beneath him, Lanza binged on alcohol and comfort food before shooting began (despite orders from on high to slim down before the cameras rolled, his weight noticeably fluctuates from scene to scene in the final print) and harassed his co-star Morrow until she stormed out of a recording session. But the end result on screen can be summed up by The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther: "It's really Mr. Lanza's singing that should and will attract attention to this technicolored film." By Violet LeVoit

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's working title was The Big Cast. The opening and ending cast credits differ slightly in order. Jonathan Cott provided a brief voice-over narration at the beginning of the film. Hollywood Reporter production charts and news items include William Campbell in the cast, but he was not in the released film. Another news item included Fortune Gordien in the cast, but his appearance has not been confirmed. A studio press release stated that star Mario Lanza's parents, Tony and Mary Lanza, were to be extras in a scene in which their son was to sing "The Loveliest Night of the Year." That song was featured in The Great Caruso (1951, see below), not in Because You're Mine, but modern sources note that Lanza's parents were extras in each one of his films. A Hollywood Reporter news item on June 29, 1951 noted that actress Teresa Celli was to be in the film but had requested a release due to pregnancy.
       According to news items, portions of the film were shot on location at Ford Ord, CA. Additional exteriors were filmed, with the cooperation of the Department of Defense, at Camp Atterbury, IN, according to a studio press release. Actress Doretta Morrow made her motion picture debut in Because You're Mine. According to a studio press release, she was cast by producer Joseph Pasternak, after he saw her in the Broadway production of The King and I. Actor-dancer Bobby Van also made his motion picture debuts in the film.
       Because You're Mine was selected for a Royal Command Performance and had its London premiere at the Empire Theatre on October 27, 1952. It was only the second M-G-M picture to be so honored. The film's title song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, but lost to the theme from High Noon (see below).
       Although the Time review noted that Lanza had slimmed down to 156 pounds since The Great Caruso, his weight fluctuated visibly in the released version of Because You're Mine. The weight change is most visible in the base chapel sequence, in which his physical appearance walking into the chapel is quite different from his appearance when he sings "The Lord's Prayer" inside. A biography of Lanza indicated that the film's retakes, which began in May 1952, were partially necessary to make Lanza's weight fluctuation during filming seem less obvious.
       Although Lanza provided the singing voice for the main character in The Student Prince (1954, ), Because You're Mine was his last onscreen appearance while under contract to M-G-M. His next film appearance was in Serenade, made for Warner Bros. in 1956. Lanza made two additional M-G-M releases, The Seven Hills of Rome, in 1958 and his last film, For the First Time, in 1959 (see entries below).