- 2 hr 1 min
Serenade is a 1956 musical drama film starring Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine, and Sara Montiel. Directed by Anthony Mann, the film tells the story of a successful opera singer, Damon Vincenti (Mario Lanza), who falls in love with a Mexican woman, Juana Montes (Sara Montiel), while on vacation in Spain. The film explores themes of love, passion, and sacrifice against the backdrop of the glamorous world of opera.
The film opens with the famous tenor Damon Vincenti performing a triumphant role in the opera "Carmen." After the performance, Damon is greeted by his manager, Kendall Hale (Vincent Price), who offers him a lucrative contract to perform in a new opera in New York. Damon agrees and heads to Madrid for a vacation before he begins rehearsals.
In Madrid, Damon meets and falls in love with Juana Montes, a beautiful Mexican woman who works in a nightclub. Juana is unimpressed with Damon's success as an opera singer and sees him as just another arrogant American. Damon is drawn to Juana's fiery spirit and exotic beauty, and the two soon embark on a passionate love affair.
However, their relationship is threatened by societal pressures and cultural differences. Juana is engaged to a wealthy Mexican businessman, and her father disapproves of her relationship with Damon. Meanwhile, Kendall Hale sees Juana as a distraction to Damon's career and warns him to end the affair or risk losing his contract.
As Damon and Juana struggle to overcome these obstacles, they find themselves torn between their love for each other and their responsibilities to their respective worlds. Damon must choose between his career and his love, while Juana must decide whether to follow her heart or fulfill her duty to her family.
The film features several memorable musical performances by Mario Lanza, including "La Serenata" and "Lolita," as well as a duet with Sara Montiel, "Siboney." The opera scenes are also beautifully staged, with grand sets and lavish costumes.
Joan Fontaine gives a strong performance as Kendall Hale's wife, Kendall Nesbitt, who is secretly in love with Damon Vincenti. Her restrained but passionate performance adds depth to the film's love triangle, and her final scene with Lanza is heartbreaking.
Sara Montiel, a popular Spanish actress and singer, brings a sultry and passionate energy to the role of Juana Montes. Her chemistry with Lanza is palpable, and their love scenes are some of the best in the film.
Overall, Serenade is a romantic and melodramatic film that showcases the talents of Mario Lanza and the beauty of Spanish culture. Despite some of its more dated elements, such as stereotypical portrayals of Mexicans and a sometimes hokey script, the film remains a classic for fans of opera and old Hollywood musicals.
Serenade is a 1956 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.8.