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Meredith Wilson's hit 1957 Broadway musical was transferred to the screen in larger-than-life fashion in 1962. Robert Preston repeats his legendary ...Show synopsisMeredith Wilson's hit 1957 Broadway musical was transferred to the screen in larger-than-life fashion in 1962. Robert Preston repeats his legendary stage performance as fast-talking con man Harold Hill, who goes from town to town selling citizens on starting a "boy's band," then extracts money from them by ordering instruments and uniforms, with the promise that he'll teach the kids how to be musicians. Once he's collected his bankroll, Hill skips town, leaving the kids in the lurch. Looking for new suckers in Iowa, Hill arrives in River City, where he declares that the only way to save the youth of River City from the lure of the poolroom is to organize a boy's band. He charms the mayor's wife Eulalie (Hermione Gingold) into forming a "ladies' dance committee" and sets his sights on winning over local music teacher Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones). Marian rightly considers Hill a fraud, especially when he espouses the "Think System" of learning music: if you think a tune, he claims, you can play it. But Marian becomes Hill's staunchest ally when her young brother Winthrop (Ronny Howard), sullen and withdrawn since the death of his father, exuberantly comes out of his shell at the prospect of joining Hill's band; and Marian's budding romance with the charming but unreliable Hill ultimately brings her out of her own shell as well. Marion Hargrove's script uses most of the original play, with a handful of amusing expansions, especially in the roles played by Gingold and by Buddy Hackett as Hill's comic sidekick. ~ Hal Erickson, RoviHide synopsis
TITLE: The Music Man
GENRE: Musical - broadway based comedy/romance
CAST: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, Buddy Hackett, Hermione GingoldTommy Djilas, Susan Luckey and Ronny Howard
PLOT: Short and sweet: Con man gets trapped by love and must make his con real not fake.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT: 9 of 10; Set in rural mid-America of one hundred years ago, the sets are well constructed, both interiors and exteriors. The choreography should have won an Oscar.(it did win for original score) The costumes are dazzling in the number of costume changes each character had and the design of the band uniforms which gets us back to choreography and the marching. Character development procedes for all the main roles which holds the viewer's interest.
DVD BONUS: Behind the scenes making of with S. Jones, B. Hackett and S. Luckey, some filmographies, how the title animation was accomplished.
ADDED NOTES: Preston had played heavies until this, his first song and dance effort. No crediting is done for the opening number where the song rhythm mirrors the train and the choreography (again!) has the actors jiggling and bouncing as if on a real train, one of the best parts of the production and hilarious! As is a glimpse of future stardom from Ronny Howard who pulls of the performance of a lisping tot in his first real credit as a performer in a film. Shirley Jones was quite pregnant during the filming. She carried both the child and the role as only a star could. If you have to see any Broadway musical comedy, make it this one. It's the source of "Shaboopi, shaboopi!"