Yes, Giorgio

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Yes, Giorgio
Original film poster
Directed byFranklin J. Schaffner
Produced byPeter Fetterman
Written byNorman Steinberg
Based onstory by Anne Piper
Music byMichael J. Lewis
John Williams (songs)
CinematographyFred J. Koenekamp
Edited byMichael F. Anderson
Distributed byMGM/UA Entertainment Company
Release date
  • September 24, 1982 (1982-09-24)
Running time
110 minutes
Budget$19 million or $15 million[1]
Box office$2.3 million

Yes, Giorgio is a 1982 American musicalcomedy film starring Luciano Pavarotti.[2][3] The film is based on the novel by Anne Piper.[4] Yes, Giorgio also stars Kathryn Harrold,[5] Eddie Albert,[3] Paola Borboni,[3] James Hong,[3] Joseph Mascolo,[6] Leona Mitchell,[7] Kurt Adler,[8] Emerson Buckley,[9] and Alexander Courage.[10] The film was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, written by Anne Piper & Norman Steinberg, and produced by Peter Fetterman.[2] The film was a box office bomb, losing an estimated $45 million.[11]


World-famous Italian tenor opera singer, Giorgio Fini, is in Boston for a concert when he gets a phone call asking him to perform at The Met. The call brings up bad memories from his disastrous appearance there seven years earlier. It scares him to the point where he cannot sing at rehearsal. Everyone panics thinking he is losing his voice.

His business manager, Henry Pollack, has a throat specialist Pamela Taylor, look at Giorgio. He at first refuses her, believing her not to be a doctor, but "a nurse" because she is a woman. After being scared into seeing her by his manager, she immediately detects that the problem is psychological, not physical. Pamela makes up a serious-sounding name for the condition and gives Giorgio a shot to cure it, which she reveals to Henry is harmless vitamin B12. After reacting to the prick of the needle, Giorgio instantly gets his voice back and proceeds to sing the following day at the Hatch Shell in Boston.

Giorgio is immediately physically attracted to Pamela, and even though he is married with two children, she agrees to go out on a dinner date. The date does not go well, but Giorgio is persistent, visiting the hospital where Pamela works. His quick thinking helps calm a scared child getting ready for surgery to remove his tonsils, promising ice cream which he delivers after the surgery. Impressed by his handling of the children, she agrees to another date. She eventually becomes his traveling companion. After spending a romantic week in San Francisco and the wine country visiting friends of Giorgio, the two eventually fall in love, even though at the start of their relationship he told her this was just "a fling" and made her promise not to fall in love with him. He gains the confidence through his love for her to agree to perform at the Met in the Giacomo Puccini opera Turandot. However, because Giorgio refuses to leave his wife, Pamela throws him a kiss and leaves the Met while Giorgio is singing "Nessun Dorma" to her.



In June 1980 MGM announced they had signed a deal with Pavarotti to star in the movie. "I have done a lot of television and think I have the experience to do a movie," said the singer. "I will put myself in the hands of those making this but hopefully my sense of humor will come through.[12]

Pavarotti said he did the film "Because they asked me" and "it has been almost 30 years since the days when Mario Lanza made a movie, and I thought it was time for the world of opera to come out in a movie. I think it will be good for the opera and probably good for me."[13]

The singer said Mario Lanza was an "inspiration for me. He did a lot for the world of opera, and I believe he had one of the greatest, most exciting voices I have ever heard. Of course I never saw him on a stage; perhaps he would have been unable to sing opera. But I do know that his voice was definitely exciting."[14]

Producer Peter Fetterman said originally he had wanted to remake The Great Caruso "But that wasn't very realistic. No one in Hollywood was going to invest a lot of money in a period piece. I just knew that someone had to make a movie with Pavarotti. He's got so much charisma. A talent like his appears only once in every generation. The story is a musical romance like those wonderful MGM films with Mario Lanza."[1]

"The film's budget will be substantial" said executive producer Herbert Breslin. "We're not going to skimp on it. We'll spend whatever it takes to make a movie right for Mr Pavarotti."[12]

In December 1980 it was announced that Franklin Schaffner would direct.[15]

In April Sigourney Weaver was to co star.[16] Then in May MGM said Kate Jackson would play it.[17] In June 1981 Kathryn Harrold replaced Kate Jackson.[18]

It was decided for Pavarotti to perform a free concert in Boston that would be used for the movie. He performed it on June 26. The unit arrived in Boston on June 22 and shot there for ten days. A crowd of over 110,000 saw the free concert.[19]

Parotti performed 10 songs and sang three encores during the concert that ended shortly before 6 p.m. and included a 15-minute intermission. "His performance was faultless," said Fetterman. "It's going to be the highlight of the movie."[20]

He also performed at the New York Met.[21]

While filming on the MGM backlot Shaffner said Pavarotti "needs direction, because he is not a professional actor. He needs to be told when to pull back. But he responds very well."

Pavarotti said "I am enjoying the movie... Are there any surprises? No surprises. Except being awakened at 5 a.m. For a man who usually gets out of bed at 10 or 12, that is a surprise... Will I do another film? I'll tell you after I see this one." [14]


Yes, Giorgio was released in theatres on September 24, 1982.[3][22] The film was released on VHS on November 18, 1992, by Fox Home Entertainment.[23] Yes, Giorgio was released on DVD on June 22, 2009, by Warner Home Video.[24]


Critical response[edit]

Yes, Giorgio opened to negative reviews and is considered Schaffner's weakest film. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert selected the film as one of the worst of the year in a 1982 episode of At the Movies.[25]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote in her review: "LUCIANO PAVAROTTI has a food fight, rides in a balloon and sings I Left My Heart in San Francisco in Yes, Giorgio, a movie that means to be as broad and hearty as its star. These and other antics are the film's attempt to paint Mr. Pavarotti as a good sport, a regular guy. Not too regular, of course - at dependable intervals, Mr. Pavarotti's Giorgio Fini bursts forth with La Donna e Mobile from Rigoletto, or Nessun Dorma from Turandot, or something else designed to demonstrate his musical mastery. He sings Ave Maria and O Sole Mio and a painfully lighthearted new ballad by Marilyn and Alan Bergman. Yes, Giorgio wants it both ways, emphasizing Fini's affability and his genius in equal measure. As if that weren't enough, he is also supposed to be a world-class ladies' man. An opening title proclaims that this film is dedicated to lovers everywhere. [...] Mr. Pavarotti marches happily through Yes, Giorgio with an air of utter confidence. The story seems to strike him as a perfectly plausible one, and to some slight extent his optimism rubs off on the other players. Without him, there wouldn't be a movie here at all; with him, at least there is a good-natured spectacle. Not even his most ardent fans are liable to love it, but they probably won't find it intolerable, either. There's too much singing here for that. Opera puts me to sleep, one character is made to tell Giorgio, so that he can reply, That is because you have never heard me sing. He means it, he means it. Yes, Giorgio is rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested). Its sexual innuendoes will not disturb children, although adults may find them alarming."[3]

Box Office[edit]

Yes, Giorgio grossed $2,279,543 in the United States.[26]

The film had reportedly been made in part because Gladys Begelman, wife of MGM head of producer David Begelman, was an opera lover. According to one source at MGM "Okay, so you make a picture with Pavarotti and ten people and their aunts go see it, and it dies. But for $15 million? Don't think there aren't a lot of unhappy faces at MGM/UA about that one.[27]

During the making of the film MGM said they would do a version of The Merry Widow with Placido Domingo and Julie Andrews but it wound up never being made.[28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The song "If We Were in Love" was written by John Williams for the movie, and was nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Song and nominated for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture by the Golden Globes. Pavarotti was nominated by the Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor and Worst New Star as well as a nominee for Worst Screenplay for Norman Steinberg.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b THE CONCERT: I JUST HOPE IT'S NOT A ZOO': [FIRST Edition] Michael Blowen Globe Staff. Boston Globe 27 June 1981: 1.
  2. ^ a b "Yes, Giorgio". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved December 11, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f Maslin, Janet (September 24, 1982). "PAVAROTTI IN 'GIORGIO'". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Globe 1999, p. 369.
  5. ^ Donahue, Deirdre (March 11, 1985). "Forget MacGruder—Kathryn Harrold Loves Her Mate Named Mo". People. United States: Time Inc. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Stone, Natalie (December 9, 2016). "Joseph Mascolo, Days of Our LivesActor, Dies at 87". People. United States: Time Inc. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  7. ^ Collier 1983, p. 37.
  8. ^ Collier 1983, p. 38.
  9. ^ New York Times staff (November 20, 1989). "Emerson Buckley, 73, An Opera Conductor". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Courage, Alexander (Sandy)". The Pennsylvania Center for the Book. State College, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b LIGHTS, CAMERA... PAVAROTTI: MGM signs tenor for motion picture debut in romantic comedy 'Yes, Giorgio' Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times 5 June 1980: h1.
  13. ^ At the Movies; PAVAROTTI PREPARES FOR A DEBUT Klemesrud, Judy. New York Times,14 Aug 1981: C.6.
  14. ^ a b PAVAROTTI IS RELISHING HIS MOVIE DEBUT Boston Globe 22 Aug 1981: 1.
  15. ^ FILM CLIPS: 'POPEYE,' 'STIR CRAZY' LEADING MOVIE PACK FILM CLIPS Pollack, Dale. Los Angeles Times 17 Dec 1980: i1.
  16. ^ Tempo: Tower Ticker Gold, Aaron. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]07 Apr 1981: a5.
  17. ^ Kate Jackson will be Pavarotti's costar Beck, Marilyn. Chicago Tribune 13 May 1981: a10.
  18. ^ Tempo: Tower Ticker Gold, Aaron. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]17 June 1981: a7.
  19. ^ SAFETY FEARS MAR PAVAROTTI CONCERT PLANS: [FIFTH Edition] Jane Adams Globe Correspondent. Boston Globe 17 June 1981: 1.
  20. ^ SUNSHINE, CAMERAS AND PAVAROTTI: Boston Globe 28 June 1981: 1
  21. ^ At the Movies; PAVAROTTI PREPARES FOR A DEBUT Klemesrud, Judy. New York Times 14 Aug 1981: C.6.
  22. ^ New York Magazine Satff 1982, p. 97.
  23. ^ "Yes Giorgio". Fox Home Entertainment. Century City, Los Angeles: 21st Century Fox. November 18, 1992. ISBN 9780792816294. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  24. ^ "Yes, Giorgio". Warner Home Video. Burbank, California: Warner Bros. June 22, 2009. OCLC 1012424410. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  25. ^ "Worst of 1982". At the Movies. Chicago: Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  26. ^ "Yes, Giorgio (1982)". Box Office Mojo. United States: Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  27. ^ Leave It To Begelman Jacobson, Harlan. Film Comment; New York Vol. 18, Iss. 5, (Sep/Oct 1982): 53-55.
  28. ^ NEWS OF MUSIC; DOMINGO IN 4TH 'MERRY WIDOW' FILM LIBBEY, THEODORE W, Jr. New York Times25 Dec 1981: 2.29.


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