This press book from The Great Caruso encapsulates the great push for publicity by the studio. MGM enjoyed huge financial success with this movie. Something as simplistic as this press book could have had a lot to do with that.
The enormous amount of planning, work, artistry, and money that goes into making a movie is all for nothing if nobody comes to see it. The publicity department, arguably, could be the most important ingredient in the mix.
The press book is a smorgasbord of everything a theater owner, a movie distributor, or a city newspaper could want for info on the film. There are light features about how the movie was filmed, fun facts about the stars, Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth.
We have sample ad layouts to cut and paste, or shoot with a half-tone camera, to set up in the newspaper.
We have examples of lobby cards and posters available for a theater manager to order.
Here is a selection of publicity photos of the cast, and sample “situations” in which they could be used in local-color publicity – for instance, noting pearls such as those worn by Ann Blyth in the movie could be purchased at a local jewelry store (who will be prevailed upon to buy an ad in the paper, of course); Mario Lanza sits at a piano, just like the kind of Steinway you can purchase yourself. From fountain pens to pullover sweaters, there isn’t much that this movie won’t sell—but first you must sell the movie.
The publicity department was sufficiently successful with this movie, as it grossed the most profits of any MGM film in 1951—and played at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the gold standard of the day for a successful film.