The Toast of New Orleans
|The Toast of New Orleans|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Norman Taurog|
|Produced by||Joe Pasternak|
|Edited by||Gene Ruggiero|
The Toast of New Orleans is a 1950 MGM musical film directed by Norman Taurog and choreographed by Eugene Loring. It starred Mario Lanza, Kathryn Grayson, David Niven, J. Carrol Naish, James Mitchell and a teenaged Rita Moreno. The film was made in the wake of That Midnight Kiss, Lanza's successful film debut, as an opportunity for Lanza to sing on the big screen again.
Set in Louisiana in 1905, the plot revolves around Pepe Abellard Duvalle, a bayou fisherman with a natural singing talent, who falls in love with opera star soprano Suzette Micheline (Grayson). Micheline's manager (Niven) hears Duvalle sing and invites him to come to New Orleans to sing. Reluctantly, Duvalle allows himself to be groomed for the opera. At first resistant to his advances, Micheline also falls in love with Duvalle, but is disenchanted by his transformation into a cultured gentleman. Ultimately Duvalle regains his former rough charm and the romantic difficulties are resolved.
- Kathryn Grayson as Suzette Micheline
- Mario Lanza as Pepe Abellard Duvalle
- David Niven as Jacques Riboudeaux
- J. Carrol Naish as Nicky Duvalle
- James Mitchell as Pierre
- Richard Hageman as Maestro P. Trellini
- Clinton Sundberg as Oscar
- Sig Arno as Mayor
- Rita Moreno as Tina
The success of the first screen pairing of Grayson and Lanza, That Midnight Kiss (1949), led quickly to the production of The Toast of New Orleans. Shooting began in late December 1949 and concluded in early March 1950. Thirty-five sets were required; three adjoining sound stages on the MGM lot were combined to house one of the largest indoor sets constructed for a film musical.
The climatic scenes feature Lanza and Grayson's characters performing in a production of Madama Butterfly. Previously, Lanza had made his debut on the operatic stage as Pinkerton in 1948.
Lanza earned $50,000 for his appearance in the film, twice what his contract provided. The Toast of New Orleans also marked Hageman's acting debut, and was Moreno's first role in a movie musical.
Distributed by Loew's, The Toast of New Orleans premiered at the Loew's State in New Orleans on September 19, 1950; it was released nationally on September 29. According to MGM records the film earned $1,671,000 in the US and Canada and $1,580,000 elsewhere, leading to a profit of $22,000.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- "The Toast of New Orleans (1950) – Original Print Information". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- "M-G-M Stages Bow of 'New Orleans'". Motion Picture Daily. September 20, 1950. p. 11. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- "The Toast of New Orleans (1950) – Full Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- "The Toast of New Orleans (1950) – Notes". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- "Music Film Uses 35 Sets". Los Angeles Times. Oct 7, 1950.
- Cesari, Armando (2004). Mario Lanza: An American Tragedy. Baskerville. pp. 104; 107. ISBN 978-1-880909-66-9.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05.
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