Mr. Imperium

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Mr. Imperium
Mr imperium dvd cover.jpg
Directed by Don Hartman
Produced by Edwin H. Knopf
Written by Don Hartman
Based on Mr. Imperium
by Edwin H. Knopf
Starring Lana Turner
Ezio Pinza
Marjorie Main
Barry Sullivan
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by George White
William B. Gulick
Release date
  • March 2, 1951 (1951-03-02)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,530,000[1]
Box office $755,000[1]

Mr. Imperium (UK title: You Belong to My Heart) is a 1951 romantic musical drama Technicolor film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, starring Lana Turner and singer Ezio Pinza. It was directed by Don Hartman who co-wrote the screenplay with Edwin H. Knopf, based on a play by Edwin H. Knopf. The music score is by Bronisław Kaper. Lana Turner's singing voice was dubbed by Trudy Erwin.

In 1979, the film entered the public domain (in the USA) due to the claimant's failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[2]


In Italy in 1939, a European man calling himself Mr. Imperium (Ezio Pinza) uses a ruse to meet an attractive American woman, Frederica Brown (Lana Turner). He eventually is revealed to be Prince Alexis, an heir to the throne and a widower with a six-year-old son. He nicknames her "Fredda", so she calls him "Al".

When his father becomes gravely ill, he must rush to be with him, but asks prime minister Bernand (Cedric Hardwicke) to deliver to Fredda a note of explanation. Bernand instead tells her the prince is gone for good, that this is his usual method of seducing and abandoning women.

Twelve years go by. One day in Paris, a cinema's marquee makes it clear that "Fredda Barlo" is now a movie star. Fredda's former love travels to California, where film producer Paul Hunter (Barry Sullivan) is now in love with her and proposing marriage.

Fredda decides to drive to Palm Springs to think about his proposal, as well as to decide which actor should co-star in her next film, about a girl who falls in love with a king. "Mr. Imperium" takes a room next to hers, and soon they meet and embrace. He explains the crisis that took place at home during the war and prevented him from looking for her. Now he wants a new life, and Fredda believes he could even portray a king in her film.

Bernand turns up, however, to say that his son is preparing to ascend to the throne. Mr. Imperium realizes he is needed there, so he must say goodbye to the woman he loves once more.




According to MGM, the film earned $460,000 in the US and Canada and $295,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $1,399,000.[1] “Mr. Imperium” was a pleasant film with a tortured release. It was the first of two that MGM attempted with South Pacific stage-star Ezio Pinza. When box-office tests proved disastrous, the second, Strictly Dishonorable (1951 film), was put into general release first, but to similar results. “Mr.Imperium” has a bad title but the real problem was Pinza as leading man. On screen, he came off as a “dirty old man,” to quote historian Don Miller. “Mr. Imperium” played the country mostly as a "B movie" second-feature, despite MGM, Lana Turner, Technicolor, and two nice Harold Arlen/Dorothy Fields songs, “Let Me Look At You” and “My Love and My Mule.”


  1. ^ a b c "The Eddie Mannix Ledger". Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: An International Journal. 19 (2): 125–43. ISSN 0892-2160. JSTOR 25165419. OCLC 15122313. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. 
  3. ^ Billboard - 2 Jun 1951 - Page 74 Andiamo VICTOR 10-3391 — A lilt from Pinza's "Mr. Imperium" flicker is done handsomely by the basso with Fran joining him on the second chorus.

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