6 June 2006 | bkoganbing
"That Isn't Thunder Dear, It's Only My Poor Heart You Hear, And It's Applause, Because You're Mine"
By the time Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer started Mario Lanza in his fourth film, the formula was wearing thin. In That Midnight Kiss, he was an opera singing truckdriver. In The Toast of New Orleans, he was an opera singing fisherman. And in The Great Caruso he was, the greatest opera singer of all. Now he was going to be cast as an opera singer drafted into the army.
So you can understand that Mario was feeling in a bit of a career rut. Why he wasn't cast in some of the classic musicals and operettas of old is beyond me. So despite the fact that the title song became a big hit for him, Mr. Lanza was unhappy.
He set records for binging on food, on liquor, on women that outstripped even what Mario previously did. Looking at some of the scenes filmed out of sequence you can see how his weight went up and down. Reportedly he behaved so outrageously to co-star Doretta Morrow that she up and quit Hollywood and never returned.
That was a pity because Ms. Morrow was certainly a great talent in her own right. She had just come off playing Tuptim on Broadway in The King and I and would soon go back to Broadway in Kismet.
Despite that Doretta and Mario made some beautiful music together. Especially with the title song and Doretta sings a beautiful version of Cole Porter's You Do Something to Me.
I actually rather liked the premise of this film. Mario Lanza, opera star gets drafted into the army where by the merest of chance he gets an opera loving sergeant James Whitmore who has an aspiring singer for a sister. That would be Ms. Morrow.
Put them together with a whole lot of situations that come up in military service comedies and you have Because You're Mine.
It's not a bad film, not particularly great. But a rut is a rut is a rut.