On 6.7 CBS Films will release Ron Howard‘s Pavoratti, a grand summary of the life and career of the late, world-famous tenor.

I’m sure Howard will hit all the right notes, but I wonder how he’ll treat Yes, Giorgio (’82), which is about a love affair between the bearish, barrel-chested Pavoratti (more or less playing himself) and a doctor, played by the wafer-thin Kathryn Harrold.

It was the only film in which Pavoratti starred, and it became one of the biggest box-office catastrophes of all time, costing $19 million to produce and earning only $2.3 million. It’s probably a safe bet that Howard will deftly sidestep this episode, as his doc was made with the cooperation of the Pavoratti estate.

As a young-buck critic (and I realize this is a totally predictable HE observation) I remember being struck 37 years ago by the fact that Yes, Giorgio was the first mainstream Hollywood film in which a fat man played the lover of a slender hottie. This was probably a significant reason why the film didn’t work with audiences — they just couldn’t accept this as a real-life scenario. The other reason is that the Franklin Schaffner-directed romance tended to skirt the surface — it was almost all cuteness and froth. On top of which Pavoratti played a sexist, self-absorbed egotist, albeit with a gentle manner.

When in real life has a girthy, rotund fellow landed a rail-thin girlfriend or wife? Orson Welles scored with Oja Kodar, but who else?