YES, GIORGIO (PG) – No, Pavarotti.I knew enough to stay away. And, for 26 years managed to. After a recent rare airing on TCM, I decided to see for myself what the film was like.
It opens with the text “This story is dedicated to lovers everywhere.”
Pavarotti plays, what else, a famous opera singer. As it opens, he is singing “Ave Maria” at a friend’s wedding in Italy. He sounded great, the locations were interesting. He has to leave. On the way to the airport to a big concert in Boston, he stops to pick up a nun whose car has developed a flat tire. She doesn’t believe he is a famous opera singer, so he demonstrates, by singing to her as the car travels through the Italian countryside.
At the ten minute mark, I was thinking “You know, this isn’t that bad. The music at least is great.”
He arrives in Boston and, instead of continuing to speak in subtitled Italian, he speaks in English. Or, I should say, the words that come out of his mouth are English words, but I don’t think he really knows what they mean. Let’s just say his command of the English language isn’t very good.
Before his Boston concert (where there are 80’s rollers skaters as background action), Pavarotti develops a throat problem. His manager (Eddie Albert) calls on the greatest throat doctor (Kathryn Harrold) to cure him. She thinks it is all in his head, and makes up an illness to convince him he is being treated. It works, and the two fall in love.
The rest of the film has the two traveling together, on hot air balloon rides, even having a food fight. It all leads to a big performance of Puccini’s TURANDOT at the MET.
YES, GIORGIO is essentially an endurance test. It is literally one of the dullest films you are likely to see. There is so little going on that I found myself picking up a book, playing with my cat, doing anything but watching the film.
I wish something had been done with the story to make it more intesting. Maybe have him meet up with his look-alike American half brother Dom DeLuise. Anything but this. Director Franklin J. Schaffner (PATTON, PAPILLON, PLANET OF THE APES) should have stuck to movies beginning with P.
Kathryn Harrold has been an actress that I always wondered why she didn’t become bigger. In the Albert Brooks film MODERN ROMANCE she was lovely. In this however, she and Pavarotti have zero chemistry. It probably was the reason why she didn’t do more.
The music though is wonderful. If you are a Pavarotti fan, I really can’t blame you for wanting to see it. You are likely to have more fun listening to one of his CDs, and maybe making Pavarotti puppets and dreaming up your own movie.
Released by MGM, it aired on TCM in a letterboxed print. I guess they know how bad the film is and don’t want to release it. You can’t blame them.