Great Caruso, The (1951): Oscar Nominated Musical Biopic Starring Mario Lanza

One of the most popular films of 1951, the musical biopic “The Great Caruso” star Mario Lanza, then at the peak of his career as the legendary tenor, Enrico Caruso.

The tale, directed by the MGM craftsman Richard Thorpe, chronicles his life from childhood in Napoli all the way to his international success as an opera singer, including his loves and marriage (the wife is played by Ann Blyth).
The cast includes some real-life opera singers, such as the sopranos Dorothy Kirsten and Jarmila Novotna.
As a biopicture, the film is formulaic and conventional, but Lanza, though not a great singer, is appealing and he makes the colorful film mildly enjoyable.
Released on May 1, “The Great Caruso” ranked as the sixth most popular film in 1951, grossing over $10 million at the box-office.
Caruso’s career was cut short due to alcoholism. He was fired from MGM in 1954 and died five years later.
Oscar Nominations: 3
Scoring of a Musical
Sound Recording: Douglas Shearer
Costume design (color): Helen Rose
Oscar Awards: 1
Sound recording
Oscar Context:
This was the last of five Oscars won by MGM’s  genius sound engineer Douglas Shearer (brother of movie star, Norma Shearer).
The big winner in 1951 was Minnelli’s musical “An American in Paris,” which received Best Picture, Scoring for Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin, and Costumes for Walter Plunkett and Irene Sharaff.