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on January 10, 2015
A wonderful movie, one of the best from the last days of the great movie musicals. It is a pleasure to have this now on Blue-Ray, with much improved sound and better video than my old VHS tape (almost worn out by now). Thanks to the producers for making it available in this format.
If you don't know the story of this show, here is a brief resumé: A slick travelling salesman descends upon a small town in Iowa in the early 1900s, selling a line of band instruments and uniforms. His method is simple: create fear among the townsfolk that their youngsters are headed for perdition, and can only be saved from the pool-hall by getting them involved in a 'boys band' in the town. The complication arises when he learns there is a REAL music teacher in the town--who is also the local librarian--and, in classic style, he falls in love with her, and she with him. The plot is simple and even hackneyed--it is the wonderful songs and beautifully-staged dance numbers which make this show the great film that it is.
Shirley Jones (yes, THAT Shirley Jones, unfairly typecast later in her career as the mother in moronic television series, 'The Partridge Family') has one of the loveliest and purest Broadway ingenue soprano voices you will ever hear, and is as pretty as the proverbial picture. The brainless and talentless sexpot 'stars' of today could take a lesson from her, if only they would.
Robert Preston has that 'edge' so necessary to performing this extremely difficult rôle (it is murderously hard; I know from having tried it myself in a college production), and if his voice is not that of a great lyric tenor, it matters not--much as nobody cared when watching 'My Fair Lady' that Rex Harrison was not a singer either. He nails the part perfectly--I simply cannot imagine anyone else playing Professor Harold Hill. Much as I like Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenowith (his 'The Producers' and her 'Candide' are the ultimate productions of those shows), the 2003 remake of this film just isn't 'The Real Thing.'
Hermione Gingold and Paul Ford (as the mayor's wife and the mayor himself) are perfect, and The Buffalo Bills (the pre-eminent American Barbershop Quartet of that era) bring life and laughs to the film as the members of the School Board. The weak link in the cast would have to be Buddy Hackett--I never did like the man's 'schtick' so take that as you wish--but even he does a creditable job as the saleman's sidekick and lookout man. A very young Ronnie Howard (he of Mayberry RFD and American Graffiti) plays the librarian's young, troubled brother, and shows the skill and professionalism that would carry him on to a notable career in film.
If you love great musical comedy, you must see this film. Buy it: it's a keeper that will please you for years and years to come.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 20, 2014
THE MUSIC MAN [1962] [Blu-ray] [US Release] One Of The Best Musicals Of All Time! America's Happiest Musicals!

This joyful film of the 1,375-performance Broadway smash hit, remains an irresistible sky burst of American musical hero Robert Preston, who recreates his Tony® Award winning Broadway triumph, as con artist Harold Hill. Arriving in River City, IOWA, to form a boys band, much to the disapproval and later delight of the town librarian Marion Paroo [Academy Award® winner Shirley Jones]. Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford and 7-year old Ron Howard co-star. With Meredith Willson beloved score and featuring the unforgettable 'Seventy-Six Trombones' and 'Till There Was You' among other marvellous melodies and is orchestrated to brilliant OSCAR® winning effect by Ray Heindorf.

FILM FACTS: Awards and Nominations: 1963 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment for Ray Heindorf. Nominated: Best Picture for Morton DaCosta. Nominated: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color for George James Hopkins and Paul Groesse. Nominated: Best Costume Design, Color for Dorothy Jeakins. Nominated: Best Sound for George Groves (Warner Bros. SSD). Nominated: Best Film Editing for William H. Ziegler. 1963 Golden Globes® Awards: Win: Best Motion Picture for a Musical. Nominated: Best Actress for Comedy or Musical for Shirley Jones. Nominated: Best Actor for a Comedy or Musical for Robert Preston. Nominated: Best Supporting Actress for Hermione Gingold. Nominated: Best Director for Morton DaCosta. Nominated: Best Original Score for Meredith Willson. 1963 Directors Guild of America: Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Morton DaCosta. 1963 Laurel Awards: Win: Top Musical. Win: Top Male Musical Performance for Robert Preston. 3rd place: Top Male Musical Performance for Robert Preston. 3rd place: Top Female Musical Performance for Shirley Jones. 1963 Writers Guild of America: Win: Best Written American Musical for Marion Hargrove. Jack L. Warner, who was notorious for wanting to film stage musicals with stars other than the ones who played the roles onstage, wanted Frank Sinatra for the role of Professor Harold Hill, but Meredith Willson insisted upon Robert Preston. Cary Grant was also "begged" by Warner Bros. to play Professor Harold Hill but he declined, saying "nobody could do that role as well as Bob Preston."

Cast: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, The Buffalo Bills, Timmy Everett, Susan Luckey, Ron Howard, Harry Hickox, Charles Lane, Mary Wickes, Sara Seegar, Adnia Rice, Peggy Mondo, Jesslyn Fax, Monique Vermont, Fred Aldrich (uncredited), Charles Alvin Bell (uncredited), Jeannine Burnier (uncredited), Shirley Claire (uncredited), Natalie Core (uncredited), Ronnie Dapo (uncredited), Roy Dean (uncredited), Eileen Diamond (uncredited), William Fawcett (uncredited), Ralph Hart (uncredited), Percy Helton (uncredited), Patty Lee Hilka (uncredited), Rance Howard (uncredited), Bruce Hoy (uncredited), Delos Jewkes (uncredited), Elaine Joyce (uncredited), Charles Karel (uncredited), Ray Kellogg (uncredited), Colin Kenny (uncredited), Ann Loos (uncredited), Therese Lyon (uncredited), Robert Lyons (uncredited), Penelope Martin (uncredited), Natalie Masters (uncredited), Bert May (uncredited), Arthur Mills (uncredited), Milton Parsons (uncredited), Barbara Pepper (uncredited), Charles Percheskly (uncredited), Gary Potter (uncredited), Larry Steven Randel (uncredited), Vern Reed (uncredited), Al Shea (uncredited), Max Showalter (uncredited), Bill Spangenberg (uncredited), David Swain (uncredited), Larri Thomas (uncredited), Wayne Ward (uncredited), Hank Worden (uncredited) Peggy Wynne (uncredited)

Director: Morton DaCosta

Producers: Joel Freeman and Morton DaCosta

Screenplay: Franklin Lacey (written in collaboration), Marion Hargrove (screenplay) and Meredith Willson (based on "The Music Man")

Composer: Meredith Willson and Ray Heindorf (uncredited)

Cinematography: Robert Burks

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 [Technirama]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

Running Time: 151 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Nobody thought Meredith Willson could turn out a hit musical back in 1949 when he started working on a story inspired by his IOWA childhood and the time he spent playing piccolo for John Philip Sousa. He'd never written a musical before, just incidental numbers for Broadway, film and radio, and also did the background score for Charles Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' [1940]. The original producers dropped him as work dragged on over eight years. But his mentor, songwriter Frank Loesser, stuck by him and ended up producing 'The Music Man,' one of Broadway's biggest hits of the 1950s.

In the annals of musical theatre, a handful of roles have become so closely identified with the actors who originated them, it's almost impossible to imagine any other performer in the part. Yul Brynner as the stubborn Siamese ruler in 'The King and I' is one; Rex Harrison as insufferable elocution expert Henry Higgins in 'My Fair Lady' is another. There's also Mary Martin as the cherubic 'Peter Pan,' and of course Robert Preston as that unflappable con artist Professor Harold Hill in Meredith Willson's sprightly salute to small town America, 'The Music Man.' Mention the song "76 Trombones" and no one except the energetic Robert Preston marching and strutting down the street, waving a baton and leading a legion of loyal followers springs to mind. Though contemporary viewers may only remember him as Julie Andrews' drag queen mentor in 'Victor/ Victoria' and it was 'The Music Man' that cemented Robert Preston's reputation and gave him the role of a lifetime.

Riding on the coattails of a series of Rodgers and Hammerstein film adaptations, 'The Music Man' helped usher in the era of the colossal Hollywood musical; films so big and brassy, they provided audiences with the kind of large-scale entertainment television variety shows couldn't. 'West Side Story,' 'Gypsy,' 'My Fair Lady,' and 'The Sound of Music' would also wow wide-eyed viewers during this period, but 'The Music Man' possesses the kind of homespun charm that appeals to a vast range of ages and backgrounds. Meredith Willson's musical is family entertainment with a capital F and with an array of infectious and rhythmically inventive melodies and almost all of which are classics Morton DaCosta's 151-minute extravaganza survives some sluggish dramatic stretches to emerge as one of Hollywood's most faithful and beloved stage-to-screen adaptations.

This homage to Meredith Willson's formative years in IOWA, 'The Music Man' depicts how traditional American values, love, and devotion can tame even the most cynical and hardened human specimens. Harold Hill is a first-rate swindler, traveling the country in the hope of defrauding unsuspecting, upstanding townspeople out of their hard-earned money by promising to organise and train an all-boys band that will put River City's recalcitrant youth on a straight-and-narrow path and unify a splintering community. To achieve such middle-American nirvana, the residents simply need to pay for instruments and uniforms, and Harold will do the rest, which in this case means absconding with the proceeds before anyone's the wiser. Yet, succumbing to the fresh-faced allure of the suspicious Marion Paroo [Shirley Jones], the local librarian who falls for Harold against her better judgment, isn't part of the scheme.

And of course for me, the songs save the day, and luckily there are enough of them and almost all are gems to both maintain my interest and fuel my sincere admiration for the talent and verve on display and of course must surely include Robert Preston spitting out the brilliant tongue-twisting, rapid-fire "Trouble," which defines composer Meredith Willson's innovative lyrical patter and a style that continues in such other recognisable tunes as "Pick a Little, Talk a Little" and "Gary, Indiana" and reprised by an adorable, lisping, seven-year-old Ron and billed here as Ron [Ronny] Howard, who very nearly steals the show), as well as the opening number, "Rock Island," which could be classified as "early rap." Though Meredith Willson is a master at rousing choral numbers like "The Wells Fargo Wagon," he's no slouch in the romantic ballad department either, with "Goodnight, My Someone" and "Till There Was You" beautifully showcasing Jones' lilting soprano.

Morton DaCosta, who also directed the Broadway version, takes full command of the camera, filling the Technirama lens, which is a CinemaScope substitute, with plenty of pageantry and atmosphere. While the film often flaunts a distinct backlot, soundstage feel, the artificiality complements the theatrical nature of the piece, as do some of Morton DaCosta's shot compositions and lighting effects. In all, 'The Music Man' received Six Academy Awards® Nominations, including one for Best Picture, but losing to 'Lawrence of Arabia,' and earned its sole OSCAR® for Best Adapted Scoring.

Though Robert Preston was ignored by the Academy, the film without question belongs to him. His indefatigable portrayal infuses this classic musical with such spirit and dynamism; it's easy to see why the residents of River City were so enamoured of Harold Hill. And you will be, too. 'The Music Man' may be far from my favourite musical, but because of Robert Preston I won't hesitate to visit it again. He is truly the leader of the band.

With Robert Preston in place Warner Bros. decided to keep on several other cast members, including the barbershop quartet The Buffalo Bills; Pert Kelton, the one-time movie vamp who was now playing the heroine's mother; and Paul Ford, who had taken over the mayor's role from David Burns. Among new additions was Shirley Jones as leading lady and in place of Broadway legend Barbara Cook, and as her younger brother, the young Ron Howard, who would one day become one of Hollywood's top directors.

Finally, in another rare move for Hollywood, the film retained almost all of the show's songs. The only change was in Marian Paroo's romantic ballad, with Meredith Willson writing a new song, "Being in Love," to replace the original "My White Knight." The reason given at the time was that the new song was more in Shirley Jones's range. According to show-biz legend, however, "My White Knight" had actually been written by Frank Loesser and it's very similar to a number cut from his opera 'The Most Happy Fella,' who refused to sell the rights to Warner Bros.

Blu-ray Video Quality ' 'The Music Man' sports a vibrant, well-balanced transfer that adds plenty of visual vim and verve to this energetic musical. A natural grain structure lends the image a film-like texture, but never diminishes the crystal clarity that distinguishes the majority of this first-class effort. Though the opening train sequence looks a bit rough and noisy, due to heavy rear projection processing on the original print, the rest of the movie settles into a fine groove, with only a few errant white specks dotting the beautifully restored source material. Blues and especially reds pop with lush saturation, and the overall palette exudes slight faint warmth that subtly highlights the period atmosphere. Flesh tones are pleasing, and blacks are always inky, making Morton DaCosta's signature iris-in-iris-out effect and a modified blackout used for emphasis at the end of some scenes, especially striking. Close-ups flaunt plenty of marvellous detail, and background elements are easy to discern. No banding or edge enhancement could be detected either. The folks at Warner Bros. take great care in bringing their classics to Blu-ray, and 'The Music Man' is another fine example of their meticulous attention to detail and commitment to honouring the films of Hollywood's past.

Blu-ray Audio Quality ' Ever since Warner Bros. belatedly embraced the audio on its high-definition releases, the studio has supported the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround sound platform. Well, 'The Music Man' is one of the first Warner Blu-ray disc to break that trend, and its 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track punches up the vintage sound of this musical classic quite nicely, presumably helped by the original 4-track magnetic presentations. Any age-related defects have been erased, and the resulting clear, crisp sound brings Meredith Wilson's popular score to brilliant life. Jones' vocals possess a marvellous purity of tone, and even when she scales and sustains those high notes, there's no hint of distortion. Of course, the bigger the number, the wider the scope of the sound, and "76 Trombones" fill the room so completely; you can almost count every instrument. The song also pumps out some palpable bass, adding welcome weight to the music. As one would guess for a 1962 film, most of the sonic action is anchored up front, but good stereo separation lends an expansive feel to the audio, and some faint bleeds into the surrounds during exterior sequences provide a bit of ambience. Dialogue is often spoken quickly, but it's always easy to understand, even during the tongue-twisting "Trouble" number. The mix is well balanced, too, so there's no need to fumble with volume levels when the principals burst into song. Though the audio can't quite eclipse the video, it's a solid effort and complements this classic well.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Introduction by Shirley Jones [1998] [480i] [1.33:1] [2:00] The female star of 'The Music Man' talks about her attraction to the part of Marian Paroo and generally lauds the production in this brief lead-in to the film.

Special Feature: Right Here in River City: The Making of Meredith Willson's 'The Music Man' [1998] [480i] [1.33:1] [30:00] Shirley Jones is back to host this made-for-video documentary treats song and dance fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of 'The Music Man,' the classic 1962 film adaptation of the stage musical about a con man who's plan to fool a sleepy Iowa town with stories of marching bands doesn't go quite as he intended. Features interviews with some of the cast and crew of the film, including choreographer Onna White, who share their experiences from working on the project, as well as discuss the special efforts that went into bringing it all together. The special feature also examines director Morton DaCosta's signature camera techniques, the recording sessions, choreography, rehearsals, the stop-action title sequence and quite innovative for its time, and the film's gala IOWA Premiere. We also learn the studio originally pushed to have Frank Sinatra play professor Harold Hill, and find out how Jones hid her pregnancy during shooting. Fans of film classics will certainly enjoy this well-produced piece. Other contributors to this special feature is Susan Luckey and Buddy Hackett. Directed by Scott Benson. Screenplay by Tom Edwards. Produced by Scott Benson. Cinematography by John Simmons.

Theatrical Trailer [1962] [480i] [1.33:1] [1:00] Here is a brief re-release of the Original Theatrical Trailer for 'The Music Man' and is more of a tease than a full-fledged preview.

Finally, with its wonderful melodic winning score and sprightly performances, 'The Music Man' remains one of the most popular Broadway musical adaptations, and this Blu-ray rendering from Warner Bros. grandly showcases it. High-quality video and audio transfers bring this nostalgic period piece to life and enhance the effervescence of Robert Preston's iconic portrayal. This is one the whole family can enjoy, and though it's not a personal favourite of mine, its myriad charms are undeniable. The Blu-ray is a beauty to look at and listen to, and it's the perfect family film for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller ' Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on June 8, 2011
When I purchase a Blu-Ray movie from Amazon I want to know about the quality of the picture and sound. Besides the fact that the Music Man is a great musical, the quality of the picture will blow you away. They must have used the orginal negatives because the picture is incredible. The picture jumps out at you even though its not 3D. The sound is DTS 5.1 surround sound and is great. You think you are in River City listening to Professor Harold Hill sing, "You got trouble here in River City". There is also a wonderful documentary on the making of the Music Man hosted by Shirley Jones. Would highly recommend this Blu-Ray.
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on August 4, 2014
The Music Man is, without doubt, my favourite Broadway musical. And this DVD does not disappoint, indeed, it points out just how remarkable, how splendid are the performances of Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, in fact the entire cast. The small town setting is ideally suited to the story, and the music and humour are like a trip back to happier times. For a bout of nostalgia, incredible acting, a magnificent musical trip, this is the one that will provide all. The DVD arrived in a timely manner and securely packaged. I'm happy.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon July 30, 2006
The scope of this musical is so overwhelming I hardly know where to begin.

We start on a train car of traveling salesmen circa 1912. They are discussing the trouble they have looking creditable after each community they visit was visited by an unscrupulous salesman Professor Harold Hill (Robert Preston). As they approach Iowa they proclaim that people in Iowa are not so gullible and at least here Harold Hill does not have a chance.

"Gentlemen you intrigue me" as the "professor" stands up to take the challenge.

Robert Preston makes such a likable scoundrel that you find your self routing for him. Brought more to life by the music of Composer Meredith Willson we see a story where Harold Hill just may get caught in his own trap, "Till There Was You"

Aside from the music and a great tale that are many fine actors in this rendition and you will find yourself quoting them often. One of my favorite quotes is when Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn (Hermione Gingold) is returning a copy of Balzac to the library and says "It's a smutty book".

The Last Starfighter
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on March 8, 2003
I must admit the first time I ever watched this version of the "Music Man", I wasn't exactly impressed. The music was great, the acting very good, but still something didn't seem right. After watching the version staring Matthew Broderick on ABC and loved it, I decided to give the original another try. I've come to the conclusion that the film's major flaw is its cinematography. The film never seems to break past being a Broadway show and most of the staging reflects that. Most of the action takes place just as it would on the stage with little creativity. Even with this flaw, the film is still a lot of fun. Robert Preston's Harold Hill, the traveling con man attempting to swindle the town of River City, is a remarkable performance. Herminie Granger and Susan Luckey also put in great performances as Mrs. Shinn, the mayor's wife, and her daughter Zaneeta respectively. Shirley Jones also stars as Marian, the town librarian and music teacher that Hill falls in love with. While the character has so much potential, Jones seems to play her somewhat flat and is also limited by not being able to act and sing at the same time. All in all, though, it's a fun film and recommended to any musical fan.
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on November 3, 2002
I am a big fan of The Music Man. I own both soundtracks the one to the broadway production and the one to the movie. Although I don't own the movie yet, I have rented it several times, and never wanted to take it back.
When I was a kid I used to love the songs from the show. I saw it on stage twice. And I have always wanted the part of Harold Hill. I'd have to say my favorite song from the show is "The Sadder But Wiser Girl For Me," which I used to think was "The Sadder Budweiser Girl,"
The cast in the movie consists of Robert Preston as Harold Hill (reprising his stage role) Shirley Jones as Marion Paroo, Hermione Gingold as Eulalie McKecknie Shinn, Paul Ford as Mayor Shinn, Pert Kelton as Mrs. Paroo (reprising her stage role) and I really liked Ronnie Howard from the Andy Griffith show cast as Opie.
For those of you who don't know, Shirley Jones was pregnant when she played the part of Marion. She sure didn't look it though. She did a great job. I hope this show keeps playing on both stage and screen.
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on October 7, 2002
From the time I was 5 years old, I loved to listen to the "Music Man" soundtrack, and I hadn't even seen the movie yet--in fact, I was 10 before I actually saw it.
Well, we rented it...and bought it almost immediately afterwards. Why don't they make movies like this any more? Why is it that most kids my age don't think a movie isn't interesting unless it has someone blowing their brains out or constantly swearing???
Well, my mom and I do a great imatation of Mrs. Paroo (Pert Kelton) and Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones) during their number about the stranger with the suitcase--"who may be your very last chance."
This is a hilarious movie, where all the characters are good-hearted but have their particular little quirks...for instance, the Mayor's wife, Eulalie McKecknie Shinn, who heads all the social functions and organizes a woman's Grecien dance group, and struts into the Library with decided indignance, announcing, "What sort of book is this that you give my daughter to read--it's dirty Persian poetry!" Then there's her husband, Mayor Shinn, who is forever trying to make a good speech but hopelessly bumbles his phrases--"Not one more poop out of you." Not to mention Tommy Gilas, who is always getting into trouble, for example, setting off fireworks during Mrs. Shinn's act in the Fourth of July celebration.
Oh, we must not forget Winthrop, the shy kid with the lisp (played by Ronnie Howard)...or Emerilas, who secretly adores Winthrop, but is constantly teasing him for his lisp.
I could go on and on...but you just have to watch it.
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on April 28, 2002
Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" was a phenomenal success on Broadway (1957) before it came to Hollywood. At this point in time, in Hollywood musical history, studios wanted to be certain that they had a "sure thing" before they expended any amount of money on the musical. Consequently, most of the musicals being made in Hollywood had previously been successful on Broadway. The same principle applied to "The Music Man."
Director Morton DaCosta and choreographer Onna White also handled the Broadway production and several of the original Broadway cast members were featured in the movie including Pert Kelton, The Buffalo Bills singing quartet and last but not least Robert Preston. Even though Preston portrayed the dynamic Professor Hill on Broadway, he was awarded the starring role in the movie only after Cary Grant turned down the studio. Preston's enthusiastic character in the movie, his style, his charm and his personality reflected in Professor Hill are the qualities that went on to make the movie as successful as the Broadway play. According to Ted Sennett in his book 'Hollywood Musicals,' "His performance is a miracle of energy and drive, perfectly in key to the style and intention of the film."
"The Music Man" centers on down home America, Iowa style, circa 1912. The crux of the plot involves a fast-talking, good looking, and smooth kind of guy called Professor Harold Hill. In actuality, he's a con man who goes from small town to small town, making a fast buck. However, when he arrives in River City, he doesn't realize that he has met his Waterloo. He proceeds in trying to convince these small town folks that there's 'trouble right here in River City,' referring to the young people who are hanging around with nothing to do. He puts himself across as a music teacher and tries to get all of the parents to buy band instruments and uniforms in order to form a band that he can instruct. Wanting to do the best for their children, parents go along with his suggestion, not realizing that he knows nothing about music, bands or band instruments. Marian (Shirley Jones), the town's librarian sees through his façade but also at the same time, falls in love with him. The movie ends with the famous song '76 trombones.'
The songs in this movie flowed smoothly with the storyline and there was something for everyone. The production number "The Wells Fargo Wagon" involved members of the whole town, looking and waiting for the Wells Fargo Wagon to deliver all the things that were ordered from the catalogue. Children and adults alike were all excited about the arrival, which was a big happening in this little town. Robert Preston's rendition of 'Trouble' set the tone for the movie and showed, in music, how he could incite the townspeople and get just what he wanted. Shirley Jones and Robert Preston vocalizing on 'Till There Was You' made it very clear that they cared deeply for one another and the audience knew, at that point, that he wasn't going to leave River City. The grand finale, with the marching band playing '76 Trombones' was really the high point of the movie and "...the musical's biggest hit song...which Preston makes virtually his own with every confident stride and strut" (Ted Sennett, "Hollywood Musicals"). It's a song in the movie where you just had to join in with the music.
"The Music Man" is two and a half hours of sheer pleasure. Yes, it was corny, but so were a lot of other musicals. Maybe that's what made it so appealing. If it didn't have the staying power it wouldn't be around today, being shown repeatedly on television and being sold on videocassette and DVD. Robert Preston and Shirley Jones will always be fondly remembered for their excellent portrayals in this movie.
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on July 21, 2001
I hate musicals. If a movie doesn't have anything to do with explosions, hi-jackings, car chases, guys fighting, extortion, nazis, armageddon, aliens, sports, then it is, IMHO, worthless. But there are a handful of exceptions. The Music Man is one of them. Who doesn't like GREASE, or WEST SIDE STORY? Like these other ROMEO & JULIET knock-offs, The Music Man captures the most ubiquitous theme the filmworld has to offer, and does so with a passion rarely realized. Think of Harold Hill as Romeo, and Marian as Juliet. The thought of them co-mingling disgusts everyone from the mayor, to the anvil salesman. That is, ALMOST everyone. A few River City denizens root for the union. Even encouraging it in their own subtle ways. In this great telling, they don't even die!There is so much to say. The dance routine in the library is stunning. People jumping over tables, twisting and turning in staggering unison. Even a line dance! Infact, nearly every scene is dance. These gifted players can't walk down a dirt street without dancing. Even when their not dancing, their dancing! So, chalk one up for the choreographers as well as the players.Meredith Wilson's score (he also penned), is as cool today as it must've been in 1960. Top tunes include "Trouble", "76 Trombones", "Madame Librian", "Gary Indiana", and "til There Was You". Another customer commenter brlliantly noted that "til There Was You", was actually recorded by the Beatles on one of their early albums. How cool is that! The songs and music are simply awesome.Tiled with talented character actors, this fascinating and highly entertaining film is an absolute must see for anyone who loves musicals, and especially for those, like myself, who can barely tolerate them. One of the best of the best.But back to Romeo and Juliet. Shirley Jones, as Juliet, seems to approach her role as a seasoned pro giving it her usual all. Robert Preston, as Romeo, seems to realize this is the role of alifetime. He'd won a Tony for his stage rendition of Professor Harold Hill, and sinks his teeth into the film adaptation with a superb alacrity. It is often said he became hopelessly typecast because of his sunny performance, but after looking him up in film books, that appears to be part of the MUSIC MAN mythology. He was never without work. Hermione Gingold appears as the Mayor's wife and is best remembered for her portrayal as a wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. Paul Ford is at his bumblng best as the tongue-tied mayor. A young Ronnie Howard displays his gifts as the kid who wants to believe in Hill, but can't decide if he should. Many others round out the powerhouse cast, and all contribute to this triumphant tale of the turn of the century heartland. "Just think....".
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