The Music Man (1962)

G   |    |  Comedy, Family, Musical


The Music Man (1962) Poster

Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader to con naive Iowa townsfolk.


7.7/10
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  • Shirley Jones in The Music Man (1962)
  • Robert Preston in The Music Man (1962)
  • Robert Preston in The Music Man (1962)
  • Shirley Jones and Robert Preston in The Music Man (1962)
  • Robert Preston and The Buffalo Bills in The Music Man (1962)
  • Robert Preston in The Music Man (1962)

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22 June 1999 | Marc-105
My favorite musical.
One of the best musicals ever made. So much of the movie is perfect: plot, music, most of the cast. One weak spot is Susan Luckey as Zaneeta, though the part is not well written. Another is Monique Vermont as Amaryllis, worse than average for a child actor. But the 8-year-old Ronny Howard as Winthrop is excellent. He shines at the end when Harold Hill gets his foot caught in the door. Of course, Preston is perfect, as is Shirley Jones, who never looked better. (Someone said Heaven is where all the men are 33 and all the women are 30. Jones was in her late 20s.) Paul Ford, Hermione Gingold (overdoing it once), and Pert Kelton are all outstanding.

The director Morton DaCosta uses a gimmick here and in Auntie Mame that I don't care for. At the end of some scenes, all the lights go out except those on the principals. Sometimes that's more of a jolt than necessary, because we've gone from outdoors to inside the studio.

My favorite song is Sadder But Wiser Girl. The reference to Hester winning just one more A meant nothing until 11th grade when we read The Scarlet Letter. And after Preston sings that line, he looks guiltily over his shoulder at Amaryllis to see if she understands how naughty he's been.

My second favorite is Lida Rose/Will I Ever Tell You. Such a beautiful song. It pains me that the rocking chairs at either end of the screen are sometimes out of sync. It should have been done perfectly.

One brilliant touch concerns the Buffalo Bills. Early on, Mayor Shinn says "The members of the School Board will not present a patriotic tableau. Some disagreement about costumes, I suppose." At the time, the four are dressed quite differently. As their singing progresses, they start dressing more and more alike, until at the end they're dressed alike (I'm pretty sure).

Marion's epiphany during The Wells Fargo Wagon is quite sweet.

As is a lovely line from Goodnight, My Someone: But I must depend on a wish and a star/ As long as my heart doesn't know who you are. (Sigh.)

Critic Reviews



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