- Hi All! I've just finished watching the BBC documentary
Mario Lanza:Singing to the Gods.
- It was fantastic - well produced and it treated Mario
with a lot of respect. It was amazing what was covered in the hour running
time - all the important events & incidents were covered!
- There were many many lovely stills of Mario & all
the great clips from all the Lanza movies & The Student Prince! It
demonstrated beautifully in one sequence the amazing seductive charm of
Lanza The Singer & The Man & how he could use his eyes to such
great effect - a very well-edited sequence! It was also lovely to see interviews
with the street singer Luisa Di Mio talking today about events back in
1957 & how Mario befriended her. Sarita Montiel also spoke about her
relationship with Mario - I think that under different personal circumstances
they would have become lovers at the time.
- There was also great use of song soundtrack for example
they used Hollywood Bowl recordings over stills & footage of the The
Bowl & they used that beautiful little audio clip of Mario Talking
to his daughter about how much he loved her during a home recording with
some great family photos! Jeff Rense appeared also & talked about how
hard it is to describe & truly do justice to the Lanza vocal magic
in words. He says it would be like trying to descibe all the beautiful
colours of a sunset to someone who can't see - quite a good analogy!
- It was great to see for the first time (for me anyway)
Lanza singing E lucevan le stelle at the palladium. Armando cesari also
spoke about Mario! My dvd recorder came into its own tonight. Anyway, this
documentary is definitely going to have repeat viewings. I was very surprised
that the Coca-Cola Show and the versatility it provided Mario to show (his
gift) was not covered in the documentary, but I suppose the hour long running
time was very restrictive. (Indeed, it was! - Jeff). I also would have
liked a mention of the great (if not greatest) Lanza album "Mario!"
But, to be honest, if it had ran for 3 hours I would still have wanted
- From Derek Mannering
- Thanks to all of you who took the time to review the
new Lanza documentary and thanks also for your kind words. I wish I could
take credit for this terrific program but other than my interview and the
program's title, it's Mark Kidel's production from beginning to end. The
fact that he accomplished such a magnificent tribute with a limited budget
and in such a short time speaks volumes for his talent and his integrity.
- As for surprises, I was delighted to see Al Teitelbaum
interviewed. He's often vilified by a few Lanza zealots (who, naturally,
never met the man) but he played an integral role in the latter part of
Lanza's career and he came across on screen as both warm and intelligent.
Photographer Murray Garrett was another delight, as were contributions
from our eloquent host Jeff Rense, Terry Robinson (we should all look that
good at 89!), and Mario's daughter Ellisa, who doesn't seems to age at
all. I found Sarita Montiel's contribution a little bizarre; her suggestion
that she and Mario might have been open to a passionate affair failed to
acknowledge the fact that she was romantically involved with the film's
director at the time, Anthony Mann, whom she later married.
- The inclusion of "Pineapple Pickers" was another
surprise, but both Mark and his great editor Andrew really like it and
if nothing else it served to display Lanza's incredible versatility. The
song may be wanting but what a performance.
- The program also makes it *very* clear that if/when a
film is made on Mario Lanza's life and career, one voice and one voice
only will suffice on the soundtrack.
- "Mario Lanza: Singing to the Gods" is a great
documentary, one that should look and sound fantastic when it eventually
- From Ron Stevens
- To Derek Mannering, Pam Latham (and all the BMLS), Ellisa
Lanza Bregman and everyone included on the new ML documentary. THANK YOU!
At last, we all have a worthy, more factual and concise successor to "The
American Caruso." And thank the BBC for showing it more than once
on BBC4. Ole dumbass here recorded it on the wrong channel on Friday night,
thankfully it was repeated at 0055 Sunday am. Jeannette and I watched it,
she enjoyed it, I was in tears by the end. The story of our beloved Mario
has finally been correctly shown on film and some of the footage was awesome.
Pity there were no comments from Kathryn Grayson or Ann Blyth but still,
well done to the producers. This should be made available to all our friends
over the pond, asap. I have it on my HDD and can readily copy it to DVD
should anyone need in the meantime. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- On one critical note, I agree with LJ. There wasn't much
new but it did feel like an on-screen obituary. But hey, although Mario's
glorious career was brief, there was no way it could've been squeezed onto
a 60 minute doc. His colourful life need at least 120 mins!! How many "new
fans" watch BBC4? It was my first time I tell you, and that was thanks
to Jeff's excellent site. Otherwise I would not have known. Hehe, and yes
LJ, PP is always the bane of our lives when it comes to Mario. Shame it
had to be included.
- Realistically, how many more "new" Lanza fans
will there be? I'm 34 in January (don't spend too much on gifts for me,
lol) and will promote Lanza in my own way as best I can. But where does
the new breed come from? Take care LJ, email@example.com if need
to speak etc :-))
- From Paul V
- To Derek Mannering: Congratulations, my friend, on a
worthy tribute to Mario. You did not leave much out, and spoke very fairly
of him. I liked your comments on his voice, which I agree with entirely.
I had not seen the footage before of Luisa di Mio or Sarita Montiel, so
well worth seeing, even though I thought Sarita a little indiscreet, but
not to worry,'twas many years ago. Once again Derek a lovely doco, thank
you, and what a joy to hear so much of Mario on TV, and WHAT A VOICE! Untouchable!
- From Vincent Di Placido
- I must apologise to Derek Mannering. I completely left
out any mention of his tremendous contribution to the BBC documentary -
It was a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
- Derek, your contribution was so great that any praise
I had for the documentary in general was actually meant for you also! You
spoke (as you write) about Mario so beautifully and intelligently - your
views and insights were spot on. I have a feeling that the things I liked
about the documentary - e.g. the use of authentic Hollywood Bowl performances
for the soundtrack to that sequence in the film were partly due to your
involvement - I was so glad that it was produced with that sort of detail.
When you're a fan and you see documentaries about artists - and they use
material out of context and date - it's slightly annoying. I have to say
even these fabulous filmmakers slipped-up and played The Coke version of
"Someday" when referring to the second Shower Of Stars show.
It would have been cool to have heard the tv performance at that moment
but I'm just being very picky.
- Anyway, Derek - Well Done! Oh! Can I ask what 'Surprises'
you referred to? I'm curious if they matched what was a surprise to me!