Contemporary rethinking of the legendary Broadway musical and 1962 film, updated to reflect a few early twenty-first-century sensibilities: A masterful con artist tries to bilk a staid ... See full summary »
The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
It's the early twentieth century American Midwest. A con man currently going by the assumed name Harold Hill has used several different schemes to bilk the unsuspecting, and now travels from town to town pretending to be a professor of music - from Gary (Indiana) Conservatory of Music, class of '05 - who solves all the respective towns' youth problems by forming boys' marching bands. He takes money from the townsfolk to buy instruments, music, instructional materials, and uniforms for their sons. However, in reality he has no degree and knows nothing about music, and after all the materials arrive and are distributed, he absconds with all the money, never to be seen again. Many of the traveling salesmen in the territory have been negatively impacted by him, as the townsfolk then become suspicious of any stranger trying to sell them something. For Harold's scheme to work, he must gain the trust of the local music teacher, usually by wooing her, regardless of her appearance. And if the ...Written by
Just as Marian and Mrs. Shin don't get along in the movie; Shirley Jones and Hermione Gingold did not get along in real life. In her recent biography Jones describes Gingold as "not very friendly." See more »
When the film opens, a train is show leaving Brighton, Illinois. The conductor announces this as the last stop in Illinois and the next stop is River City, Iowa. Brighton is in southern Illinois - farther South than Iowa - on a rail line running to St. Louis, Missouri. See more »
The closing credits appear in the style of a Broadway show's curtain call. First the minor characters are shown with the performers' names. The credits then progress through the cast ending with the lead. See more »
A movie that works at many levels--and touches our hearts.
I first learned of the Music Man when my brother's fifth grade class put it on. (My brother played Mayor Shinn.) Our entire family learned the train scene, all of the monologues (especially "Trouble"), and the Music Man became part of our lives. I still remember most of those monologues, and I still love to watch Robert Preston and Shirley Jones create their magic and make their music. Like "My Fair Lady," the players have refined their parts to high art, but have not burned out; the details delight again and again. The chorus is the best I've heard (Wells Fargo Wagon), the cast is just great. When my older son was two years old, The Music Man was his favorite video; he watched it over and over, laughing and gurgling. He "outgrew" it, and is now almost ten. Last night we watched it (again): I, my wife, and both of our sons. It touched me as much as the first time I saw it. ("I always think there's a band, kid.") I hear and read criticism of Robert Preston's acting, that as a performer he is a dilettante. But I feel this criticism misses the point. Harold Hill is the dilettante, trying to pass himself off as a music expert--until he gets his foot caught in the door. Preston is perfect as Hill. I love this film, and will watch it with my loved ones for a long, long time to come.
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