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The Student Prince (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Student Prince
Student Prince.jpeg
VHS cover
Directed byRichard Thorpe
Written bySonya Levien
William Ludwig
Based onOld Heidelberg
by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster
The Student Prince
by Dorothy Donnelly
Produced byJoe Pasternak
StarringAnn Blyth
Edmund Purdom
John Ericson
Louis Calhern
Edmund Gwenn
S.Z. Sakall
Betta St. John
CinematographyPaul Vogel
Edited byGene Ruggiero
Music bySigmund Romberg
Georgie Stoll (adaptation)
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
June 15, 1954 (1954-06-15)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$5,341,000[1]

The Student Prince is a 1954 American musical film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, John Ericson, Louis Calhern, Edmund Gwenn, S. Z. Sakall and Betta St. John. The film is an adaptation of the 1924 operetta of the same name composed by Sigmund Romberg with lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly. The film's screenplay was written by Sonya Levien and William Ludwig.

Based on the stage play Old Heidelberg by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster (itself an adaptation of his obscure 1898 novel Karl Heinrich), the film is about a brash young prince of a small German kingdom who must choose between his romance with a barmaid and his impending royal duties. It was filmed and released in CinemaScope and Ansco Color.

During production, original star Mario Lanza left the project before principal photography, necessitating his last-minute replacement by the lesser-known Purdom. Because of the contractual agreement between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lanza, songs that the Lanza had recorded were dubbed over Purdom's voice.


Near the turn of the 20th century, young Prince Karl of Karlsburg, a small but fiercely proud kingdom within the German Empire, is the grandson of one of a handful of petty kings within German-speaking central Europe.

Karl has been raised most of his life for the military, but when it comes time for him to marry, the princess who has been picked for him cannot stand his stiff formality. His tutor recommends that he be sent to a university in Heidelberg to develop an easier, more sociable manner.

He eventually slips into the social mix at the university, becomes accepted by his peers and falls deeply in love with Kathie, a pretty, popular and musically inclined barmaid who holds court in the local biergarten. When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Karl must marry the princess and take his place in Karlsburg. He returns to Heidelberg one last time to bid Kathie a poignant farewell.



The film's credits mention "the singing voice of Mario Lanza"; Lanza had originally been cast as Prince Karl, but he was fired from the picture[2] (some sources state that Lanza voluntarily walked off the film).[3] Under the terms of the eventual settlement between MGM and Lanza, the studio retained the rights to use the songs for the film's soundtrack that Lanza had already recorded. The songs, including "Beloved"–written specially for the film–and the well-remembered "Serenade", from the original show, would become some of those most identified with Lanza, even though they were mouthed in the film by Edmund Purdom, who took over the role of Prince Karl. Ann Blyth played opposite Lanza in the 1951 blockbuster The Great Caruso.

The film was directed by Richard Thorpe, who replaced original director Curtis Bernhardt, and was produced by Joe Pasternak. The screenplay was written by Sonya Levien and William Ludwig based on the operetta The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly, which was in turn based on the 1901 play Old Heidelberg by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster. New scenes and rewritten dialogue not found in the stage production were also added, although the basic plot remained the same. Additional songs were specially written by Nicholas Brodszky and Paul Francis Webster. Many of Donnelly's original stage lyrics were completely changed for the film. The story has been adapted for the screen several times, including the American silent film Old Heidelberg (1915), the German silent film Old Heidelberg (1923), Ernst Lubitsch's The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) and Ernst Marischka's Old Heidelberg (1959).


The film was a financial success. According to MGM records, it earned $2,528,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $2,813,000 in other countries, resulting in a profit of $451,000.[1]


RCA Victor issued two different soundtrack recordings, both featuring the voice of Lanza. The first, in 1954, was a genuine film soundtrack recording in monophonic sound. Rather than reissuing the original soundtrack in stereophonic sound (which would have been possible as the film's audio was in four-track stereo, and stereo records were released starting in 1958), RCA Victor recorded and released an all-new album in 1959. The original Dorothy Donnelly lyrics were restored to the album. Both albums included the three additional songs written specially for the film version ("Summertime in Heidelberg", "I'll Walk with God" and "Beloved"), and both albums omit Kathie's solo, "Come Boys."


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Ronald Bergan (January 24, 2009). "Edmund Purdom (obituary)". The Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Green, Stanley (1990). Hollywood Musicals Year by Year. Hal Leonard Corp. p. 186. ISBN 978-0881886108. Retrieved February 11, 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 May 2022, at 09:22
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