The Music Man (1962) from Tuna

The Music Man (1962) sees Robert Preston reprise his Broadway role as Professor Howard Hill, film-flam man extrordinaire. Shirley Jones plays Marion the librarian, and Ron Howard (right) plays her little brother. Buddy Hacket plays an old friend of Hill, who lives in River City, and Hermoine Gingold plays the mayor's wife. The school board is played by The Buffalo Bills. Stage director Morton DaCosta was able to give probably the best translation ever from Broadway to film with this wonderful cast. Even DP, Robert Burkes, had some magic up his sleeves, including shooting from the rafters (left) to give a beautiful prospective on the dance number Shapoopee, and something he called iris in/iris out (center) which had the same effect as a follow spot on a dark stage.

The dialogue is intelligent and hilarious:

"How far are you going, friend?"
"Wherever the people are as green as the money, friend."


"I don't believe I caught your name."
"I don't believe I dropped it."

"What do you folks do around here for excitement?"
"Mind our own business."

"Not one poop out of you, Madam."
"I think he means peep."

"He's been the raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth long enough."

DVD info from Amazon.

Widescreen letterbox. 1.85:1.

The DVD is amazing, with a sharp, saturated transfer, and loads of extras.

Even the lyrics are intelligent, and the songs are memorable as well, including:

76 Trombones
And 'Til there Was You (which the Beatles later recorded).

One interesting tidbit from the extras is that Shirley Jones found out she was pregnant 3 months into the 9 month shoot. They hid the fact with girdles and ruffles on the costumes. The Music Man won an Oscar for best adaptation of music from stage to screen, and was nominated for several others. If you are a serious film fan, this DVD is a must own.

The Critics Vote ...

  • General consensus: About three and a quarter. Apollo 81/100, epinions 4/5, Maltin 3.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: Quite consistent with the critics, IMDb voters score it 7.5, close to the top 250. Apollo voters score it 80/100.
  • With their dollars ... A hit. Gross of $76 million, on a $14 million dollar budget.

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