GenreDrama, Music, Romance Duration CountryUnited States
WriterIvan Goff, Ben Roberts, John Twist Release dateMarch 23, 1956 (1956-03-23) Music directorGiuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Nicholas Brodszky CastMario Lanza (Damon Vincenti), Joan Fontaine (Kendall Hale), Sara Montiel (Juana Montes), Vincent Price (Charles Winthrop), Vince Edwards (Marco Roselli) Similar moviesBirdman, Pitch Perfect 2, Frozen, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, The Nightmare Before Christmas
TaglineThe Thrill of His Voice! Thrill of a Great Story!
Serenade 1956 official trailer joan fontaine mario lanza movie hd
Serenade is a 1956 film directed by Anthony Mann and starring tenor Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine, Sara Montiel (billed as Sarita Montiel), and Vincent Price. Based on the 1937 novel Serenade by James M. Cain, the film was a Warner Bros. release, Lanza's fifth film, and his first on-screen appearance in four years.
Serenade tells the story of poor vineyard worker Damon Vincenti (Mario Lanza), who becomes an operatic tenor, and is involved with two women — one a high society hostess, Kendall Hale (Joan Fontaine), the other a Mexican bullfighter's daughter, Juana Montes (Sara Montiel). The tenor has a breakdown because of his unrequited love for the society woman, but finds love (and a happy ending) with the Mexican girl. Highly melodramatic, the film features a great deal of operatic music, all of it sung by Lanza. Of note are the Act III Monologue from Verdi's Otello and an extract from the duet "Dio Ti Giocondi" from the same opera featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Licia Albanese.
Mario Lanza as Damon Vincenti
Joan Fontaine as Kendall Hale
Sara Montiel as Juana Montes (as Sarita Montiel)
Vincent Price as Charles Winthrop
Joseph Calleia as Maestro Marcatello
Harry Bellaver as Tonio
Vince Edwards as Marco Roselli
Silvio Minciotti as Lardelli
Frank Puglia as Manuel Montes
Edward Platt as Everett Carter
Licia Albanese as Desdemona in 'Otello'
Jean Fenn as Soprano in San Francisco
Differences with the source novel
The movie differs greatly from the James M. Cain source novel. In the book, the male protagonist is John Howard Spring, a professional opera singer who has lost his voice and fled the United States to Mexico in a crisis of confidence after being sexually wooed (not unsuccessfully, though details are vague) by a male socialite and impresario. Juana Montes is a Mexican prostitute who sees Spring as gay and therefore a trouble-free partner to open a brothel with. But after having sex in a deserted church with Juana, Spring recovers his voice and his preferred sexual identity. The two lovers come into conflict with the local police and flee to Los Angeles, where Spring reestablishes his singing career, more successful than ever. But once they move to New York, the singer must struggle against the renewed blandishments of the gay impresario, whom Juana eventually murders with a torero's sword. As none of this material could be considered suitable for an American movie in 1956, the story's male impresario becomes female instead and the Mexican prostitute becomes a Mexican bullfighter's daughter.
Film rights to the novel were bought in 1946 by the production company of Michael Curtiz.
Reviewing the film in The New York Times, A.H. Weiler wrote that Lanza, "who was never in better voice, makes this a full and sometimes impressive musical entertainment."