Director: Franco Zeffirelli
C. Thomas Howell, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophie Ward, Pat Heywood, John Ryhs-Davies, Philippe Noiret, Franco Nero
The story behind the making and breaking of this film probably deserves close scrutiny. The whole things, at least at first, seems to be a giant mystery. Franco Zeferelli directed (yes, he was capable of doing poor work e.g. Endless Love despite its cast) but this one is not a bad job. C. Thomas Howell, as Young Toscanini, gives a fine performance and one that should have propelled his busy career into a leading man category. His work is excellent. Elizabeth Taylor likewise performs with the professionalism that is often overlooked. She is every inch the operatic diva the story requires. True, the ending scenes involve sloppy, how-do-I-finish-this-one moments. BUT the remainder of the work features excellence in acting, set and art decoration, cinematography, etc. The script has its lapses, but the rest of the film, despite its easy ending, may not be true to Toscanini but makes for splendid film-making. Why did this one slip by in the middle of the night?