Mr. Imperium (1951)

87-88 mins | Romance | 21 September 1951

Director:

Don Hartman

Producer:

Edwin H. Knopf

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Early HR production charts include actress-singer Nina Koshetz in the cast, but she was replaced by Ann Codee in the role of "Anna Pelan." The role was apparently a singing one, as M-G-M music records contained in the USC Cinema-Television Library indicate that Blythe Taylor Burns and Dorothy Wilkerson had recorded the song "Let Me Look at You" for Codee. Codee's character does not sing, however, and that song was not in the released film. The CBCS includes Keenan Wynn in the cast as "Motor cop," but neither he nor the role was in the released film. Several additional actors included in the CBCS were not in the released film: Chick Chandler, Jimmy Cross, Don Haggerty, Bert Davidson, Tony Merlo, Bob Stephenson, Mae Clark, Al Murphy and Tom Quinn. Their roles were apparently in a sequence in the motion picture studio that was cut from the released film.
       Although Mr. Imperium was the first dramatic film role for Metropolitan Opera star Ezio Pinza, his second film for M-G-M, Strictly Dishonorable , was actually released first (see below). Pinza had earlier appeared in a singing only role in the 1947 film Carnegie Hall . (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). Reviewers, who were generally negative about Mr. Imperium , commented that Pinza, who had had a great success on Broadway in the Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II musical South Pacific (NY, 7 Apr 1949) was ill used in Mr. Imperium . According to a 29 Dec 1950 HR news item, due to audience reaction at the film's preview, additional musical numbers ... More Less

Early HR production charts include actress-singer Nina Koshetz in the cast, but she was replaced by Ann Codee in the role of "Anna Pelan." The role was apparently a singing one, as M-G-M music records contained in the USC Cinema-Television Library indicate that Blythe Taylor Burns and Dorothy Wilkerson had recorded the song "Let Me Look at You" for Codee. Codee's character does not sing, however, and that song was not in the released film. The CBCS includes Keenan Wynn in the cast as "Motor cop," but neither he nor the role was in the released film. Several additional actors included in the CBCS were not in the released film: Chick Chandler, Jimmy Cross, Don Haggerty, Bert Davidson, Tony Merlo, Bob Stephenson, Mae Clark, Al Murphy and Tom Quinn. Their roles were apparently in a sequence in the motion picture studio that was cut from the released film.
       Although Mr. Imperium was the first dramatic film role for Metropolitan Opera star Ezio Pinza, his second film for M-G-M, Strictly Dishonorable , was actually released first (see below). Pinza had earlier appeared in a singing only role in the 1947 film Carnegie Hall . (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). Reviewers, who were generally negative about Mr. Imperium , commented that Pinza, who had had a great success on Broadway in the Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II musical South Pacific (NY, 7 Apr 1949) was ill used in Mr. Imperium . According to a 29 Dec 1950 HR news item, due to audience reaction at the film's preview, additional musical numbers featuring Pinza were to be added. The film also marked the motion picture debut of Giacomo Spadoni who, according to M-G-M press releases, had coached opera stars from Enrico Caruso to Pinza. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 May 1951.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 50
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 50
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 51
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 May 51
pp. 845-46.
New York Times
15 Oct 51
p. 22.
Time
22 Oct 1951.
---
Variety
9 May 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Background mus score
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles des
Miss Turner's hair styles by
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Lana Turner
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Mr. Imperium by Edwin H. Knopf (unproduced).
SONGS
"Andiamo," "Let Me Look at You" and "My Love and My Mule," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Dorothy Fields
" "You Belong to My Heart (Solamente una vez)," music and Spanish lyrics by Augustín Lara, English lyrics by Ray Gilbert.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 September 1951
Production Date:
late July--mid September 1950
addl mus seq early January 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1951
Copyright Number:
LP915
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
87-88
Length(in feet):
7,804
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14833
SYNOPSIS

In 1939, at an Italian hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, singer Frederica Brown is "rescued" from an overzealous admirer by a distinguished-looking man, but soon realizes that the rescue was a set-up to meet her. The man introduces himself as "Mr. Imperium" who works in the family business, the government. After Imperium rents the room next to hers, Fredda, as Imperium calls her, learns that he is the internationally famous playboy Prince Alexis, heir to a European throne. At first Fredda resists Imperium's charms, but soon acquieces and dubs him "Al." They meet the next day and begin an idyllic romance of sailing, horsebackriding and biking, during which she introduces him to American customs and he teaches her Italian words such as "arrivederci," or "I'll be seeing you." At Imperium's villa, she learns that he is a widower who hopes that his six-year-old son will lead a more normal life than he. One night, Imperium receives a telegram informing him that his father is gravely ill. His prime minister, Bernand, promises to deliver a letter from Imperium to Fredda, but instead leads her to believe that there was no note and the prince is merely following his pattern with women. Twelve years later, when Imperium is in Paris, he sees a theater marquee advertising American actress Fredda Barlo's latest film. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Fredda has become a star who is loved by her producer, Paul Hunter. While looking for the perfect actor to co-star in her latest film, Fredda arranges to go to Palm Springs and uncharacteristically drive there without her maid, Anna Pelan, who suspects that a recent mysterious call from Paris is the reason ... +


In 1939, at an Italian hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, singer Frederica Brown is "rescued" from an overzealous admirer by a distinguished-looking man, but soon realizes that the rescue was a set-up to meet her. The man introduces himself as "Mr. Imperium" who works in the family business, the government. After Imperium rents the room next to hers, Fredda, as Imperium calls her, learns that he is the internationally famous playboy Prince Alexis, heir to a European throne. At first Fredda resists Imperium's charms, but soon acquieces and dubs him "Al." They meet the next day and begin an idyllic romance of sailing, horsebackriding and biking, during which she introduces him to American customs and he teaches her Italian words such as "arrivederci," or "I'll be seeing you." At Imperium's villa, she learns that he is a widower who hopes that his six-year-old son will lead a more normal life than he. One night, Imperium receives a telegram informing him that his father is gravely ill. His prime minister, Bernand, promises to deliver a letter from Imperium to Fredda, but instead leads her to believe that there was no note and the prince is merely following his pattern with women. Twelve years later, when Imperium is in Paris, he sees a theater marquee advertising American actress Fredda Barlo's latest film. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Fredda has become a star who is loved by her producer, Paul Hunter. While looking for the perfect actor to co-star in her latest film, Fredda arranges to go to Palm Springs and uncharacteristically drive there without her maid, Anna Pelan, who suspects that a recent mysterious call from Paris is the reason she went alone. Before Fredda leaves the studio, Paul wonders why she is having so much trouble finding a co-star for a film that she suggested to him, the story of an American girl who falls in love with a European king. Paul then proposes, but she begs him to ask again on Monday. On the drive to Palm Springs, Fredda stops at exactly 3:00 o'clock to call Mrs. Cabot, the owner of the ranch at which she always stays, asking her to rent the other room she had reserved to whomever wants it. A moment later, Imperium arrives at Mrs. Cabot's doorstep asking for a room. Mrs. Cabot's suspicious niece Gwen thinks that she recognizes him, but cannot remember where she has seen him before. When Fredda arrives, she and Imperium pretend not to know each other, but once settled in, she unlocks the door connecting their two rooms and they embrace. He then tells her that he was a prisoner in his palace during World War II and was sent into exile when a revolution broke out after the war. He also reveals that he was very upset when he learned what Bernand had said to Fredda. Within a few days, there will be a plebiscite in his country to determine whether he should be returned to power, but Imperium does not want to be king. That night, as Fredda and Imperium dine together, he considers what he will do in America and she casually tells him about the film, knowing that he has a beautiful voice and has always secretly wanted to be a singer. He thinks that he would be perfect as the movie's king, and the couple happily drive back to Beverly Hills after she telephones Paul to say that she has finally found the right actor and wants him to come to her house in the morning. The next day, as Fredda and Imperium enjoy breakfast, Bernand, who had been at Paul's house when Fredda called the night before, arrives. When Imperium says that he plans to abdicate, Bernand coldly informs him that his son is no longer at school in England but is now on the continent, preparing to take the throne if his father will not accept it. Bernand then leaves, but asks Imperium to meet him at the airport. Fearing that his son was forcibly taken from school, Imperium calls England, but learns that the boy left of his own free will, to do his duty. Imperium and Fredda now know what must be done, and at the airport, he says "arrivederci" as he boards the plane. Paul again proposes to Fredda, but she ignores him, saying through her tears, "he said 'arrivederci.'" +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.