The Student Prince (1954)

106-107 or 109 mins | Musical, Romance | 25 June 1954

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Producer:

Joe Pasternak

Cinematographer:

Paul C. Vogel

Editor:

Gene Ruggiero

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

In 19 Jan 1951, HR announced that Vic Damone would star in the film, and in Jul 1951 reported that Robert Z. Leonard would direct, and Jane Powell and Ricardo Montalban would have the leading roles. News items in the trade publications reveal the following additional information about the film's production history: The Student Prince first went into production in Aug 1952, with Curtis Bernhardt as director and singer Mario Lanza in the role of "Prince Karl Franz." However, Lanza, who had already recorded the prince's songs for the film, failed to show up for the first day of production. M-G-M suspended Lanza on 20 Aug, threatening legal action and, under the provisions of Lanza's studio contract, preventing the singer from performing on his weekly radio program on NBC. The suspension was lifted when Lanza came in for wardrobe tests on 22 Aug, and he was permitted to appear on his radio show that evening. Production was rescheduled for 25 Aug, but Lanza again failed to report for work and was immediately placed back on suspension. News items in HR , LADN and Var suggested variously that Lanza was boycotting work because of financial difficulties stemming from bad investments, personal problems or a contractual dispute with the studio, although the singer's agent company, MCA, told Var that money was not at issue.
       On 2 Sep 1952, M-G-M announced that it would abandon the film, adding that it had already incurred more than $700,000 in pre-production costs. After meeting with Lanza, however, the studio decided to give him one more opportunity to appear ... More Less

In 19 Jan 1951, HR announced that Vic Damone would star in the film, and in Jul 1951 reported that Robert Z. Leonard would direct, and Jane Powell and Ricardo Montalban would have the leading roles. News items in the trade publications reveal the following additional information about the film's production history: The Student Prince first went into production in Aug 1952, with Curtis Bernhardt as director and singer Mario Lanza in the role of "Prince Karl Franz." However, Lanza, who had already recorded the prince's songs for the film, failed to show up for the first day of production. M-G-M suspended Lanza on 20 Aug, threatening legal action and, under the provisions of Lanza's studio contract, preventing the singer from performing on his weekly radio program on NBC. The suspension was lifted when Lanza came in for wardrobe tests on 22 Aug, and he was permitted to appear on his radio show that evening. Production was rescheduled for 25 Aug, but Lanza again failed to report for work and was immediately placed back on suspension. News items in HR , LADN and Var suggested variously that Lanza was boycotting work because of financial difficulties stemming from bad investments, personal problems or a contractual dispute with the studio, although the singer's agent company, MCA, told Var that money was not at issue.
       On 2 Sep 1952, M-G-M announced that it would abandon the film, adding that it had already incurred more than $700,000 in pre-production costs. After meeting with Lanza, however, the studio decided to give him one more opportunity to appear in the film. When Lanza failed to report for work for the third time, M-G-M cancelled the production and sued Lanza for more than five million dollars for breach of contract. The suit was settled in May 1953, when Lanza gave the studio the right to use his pre-recorded songs and M-G-M withdrew its claim for damages. Modern sources allege that Lanza refused to appear because he disagreed with Bernhardt over the interpretation of the role and had tried unsuccessfully to have the director fired.
       Lanza's billing in the film's opening credits reads: "And The Singing Voice of Mario Lanza as The Student Prince." According to biographical sources, Lanza, who began his film career in the 1949 M-G-M film That Midnight Kiss (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ), suffered from violent mood swings, depression and alcoholism. The Student Prince was the last film Lanza made under his M-G-M contract, although his independently produced 1958 film The Seven Hills of Rome (See Entry) was released by M-G-M. He died of a heart attack in 1959, at age 38.
       According to Jul and Aug 1952 HR news items, the aborted production of The Student Prince included the following cast members: Leo G. Carroll (as "Lutz"), Janice Rule, John Abbott, Florence Bates, Gig Young, Robert Burton and Steve Forrest. These actors were replaced when the film finally went into production more than a year later. A 2 Sep 1952 item in HR 's "Rambling Reporter" column claimed that M-G-M was considering replacing Lanza with Farley Granger and a dubbed voice, and a 24 Apr 1953 item in that column reported that singing actor Jack Washburn was testing for a role in the film. A 10 Apr 1953 HR news item again mentions Vic Damone as a candidate for the title role, and a 15 Apr 1953 memo in the Joe Pasternak Collection at the USC Cinema Television Library refers to Damone's employment. In Aug 1953, Mervyn LeRoy was announced as the film's director, but he withdrew from the project in Nov when the production schedule was moved up to accommodate star Ann Blyth's pregnancy.
       According to a 12 Jul 1954 article in HCN , Baron Otto von Strahl, who served as the film's technical advisor, was an authority on dueling etiquette and the veteran of eleven duels. In addition to overseeing the dueling sequence with Edmund Purdom and John Ericson, von Strahl consulted with the wardrobe and prop departments to ensure authenticity. The Student Prince marked the last screen appearance of Hungarian-born character actor S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, who died in Feb 1955. The story of the student prince was made by M-G-M as a silent film titled The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg in 1927, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 May 54
p. 19.
Box Office
5 Jun 1954.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 52
p. 1, 7.
Daily Variety
25 May 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Jun 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
12 Jul 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 52
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 52
p. 1, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 52
p. 1, 7.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 52
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 52
p. 1, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 53
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 53
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 53
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 53
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 54
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 54
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 54
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 54
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
21 Aug 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 May 54
p. 9.
New York Times
19 Sep 1952.
---
New York Times
16 Jun 1954.
p. 18.
Variety
27 Aug 1952.
---
Variety
26 May 1954.
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Wrt for the screen by
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Stills
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Wide-screen ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
Prop asst
Prop shop
COSTUMES
Women's cost des
Men's cost des
Men's ward
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal numbers cond
Choral supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
Asst dance dir
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Hair styles
Makeup created by
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Best boy
Best boy
Casting dir
Asst casting dir
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Edmund Purdom
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Karl Heinrich by Wilhelm Meyer-Foerster (New York, 1904), the play Old Heidelberg by Meyer-Foerster (New York, 1903) and the operetta The Student Prince , book and lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly, music by Sigmund Romberg (New York, 2 Dec 1924).
SONGS
"Beloved," "I'll Walk with God" and "Summertime in Heidelberg," music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
"Serenade," "Deep in My Heart," "Drink, Drink, Drink," "To the Inn We're Marching," "Come, Boys, Let's All Be Gay, Boys" and "Golden Days," music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly.
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 June 1954
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 June 1954
Production Date:
14 December 1953--16 January 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 May 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3874
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Ansco Color
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
106-107 or 109
Length(in feet):
9,614
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16921
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At the royal palace in Karlsburg, King Ferdinand counsels his grandson, Prince Karl Franz, on the young man's imminent engagement to the wealthy Princess Johanna of Nordhausen. The king observes that although their country is poor, it has always survived because the men of the royal family marry well. The following evening, Johanna is feted with a ball, but she finds the prince's cold, formal manner off-putting. The king and Johanna's mother, Queen Mathilda, discuss the shaky prospects for an alliance between their heirs, and Mathilda says that Karl must learn to radiate warmth and charm. Karl's teacher, Prof. Juttner, is summoned to the palace in the middle of the night and ordered to instruct the prince in the graces of living. Juttner maintains that such an education comes from being with other people, and recommends that Karl be sent to his own alma mater, the University of Heidelberg. Karl is dispatched to Heidelberg the next day, along with Juttner and the punctilious royal valet, Lutz. They take rooms in an inn owned by Joseph Ruder, and Karl is immediately charmed by Ruder's pretty niece Kathie. When Karl impulsively kisses Kathie, however, she angrily rebuffs him. Classes begin, and the haughty prince bristles at being treated like all the other students. After chastening comments from Juttner and Kathie, however, Karl resolves to adapt to student life, and quickly finds that he enjoys it. On Kathie's recommendation, he joins the Westphalians, a student corps made up of good-natured commoners, and learns to consume prodigious amounts of beer. When Karl again attempts to kiss Kathie one evening, she knocks him down, as Lutz watches, aghast. Lutz orders Ruder to send Kathie ... +


At the royal palace in Karlsburg, King Ferdinand counsels his grandson, Prince Karl Franz, on the young man's imminent engagement to the wealthy Princess Johanna of Nordhausen. The king observes that although their country is poor, it has always survived because the men of the royal family marry well. The following evening, Johanna is feted with a ball, but she finds the prince's cold, formal manner off-putting. The king and Johanna's mother, Queen Mathilda, discuss the shaky prospects for an alliance between their heirs, and Mathilda says that Karl must learn to radiate warmth and charm. Karl's teacher, Prof. Juttner, is summoned to the palace in the middle of the night and ordered to instruct the prince in the graces of living. Juttner maintains that such an education comes from being with other people, and recommends that Karl be sent to his own alma mater, the University of Heidelberg. Karl is dispatched to Heidelberg the next day, along with Juttner and the punctilious royal valet, Lutz. They take rooms in an inn owned by Joseph Ruder, and Karl is immediately charmed by Ruder's pretty niece Kathie. When Karl impulsively kisses Kathie, however, she angrily rebuffs him. Classes begin, and the haughty prince bristles at being treated like all the other students. After chastening comments from Juttner and Kathie, however, Karl resolves to adapt to student life, and quickly finds that he enjoys it. On Kathie's recommendation, he joins the Westphalians, a student corps made up of good-natured commoners, and learns to consume prodigious amounts of beer. When Karl again attempts to kiss Kathie one evening, she knocks him down, as Lutz watches, aghast. Lutz orders Ruder to send Kathie away, threatening dire consequences if the incident is reported. The distraught Ruder goes to Kathie's room and finds her already packing, and tells her where to find a job in a nearby town. The following evening, the students protest Kathie's absence, and Ruder confides to Karl the name of the restaurant where Kathie now works. Karl goes to apologize, and when he causes Kathie to break some plates, she loses her job. Karl humbly beseeches Kathie to return to Heidelberg and declares his feelings for her. Now in love, Karl and Kathie return to Ruder's inn. One night, Karl is drinking and singing with the Westphalians when his true identity is accidentally revealed to the imperious Count Von Asterburg, head of the elitist Saxo-Borussian corps. Von Asterburg insists that the prince join their corps, and when Karl refuses to leave his Westphalian friends, challenges him to a duel. Karl defeats Von Asterburg in a sword fight, and the two men shake hands as friends, but Kathie is appalled. The lovers make up, and one night, at a carnival, Karl asks Kathie to go away with him. Before they can leave, however, Prime Minister Von Mark arrives from Karlsburg with the news that the king is ill and wishes to see Karl. After promising Kathie he will return, Karl returns to the palace. The king announces that Karl's marriage to Johanna will take place shortly, and when Karl protests that he is in love with Kathie, the king reminds him of his duty. Karl accuses Von Mark of having tricked him into returning, but the prime minister replies that the king is actually much sicker than he realizes. The king passes away, and preparations are made for Karl's marriage. While traveling to Nordhausen for the wedding, Karl suddenly orders the train to stop in Heidelberg. Karl goes to Ruder's inn, where he and Kathie lovingly say goodbye. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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