An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.
Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to find a partner for "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, convincing his niece, his niece's intended, and his two clerks to travel to New York City along the way.
Billy Bigelow has been dead for fifteen years, and now outside the pearly gates, he long waived his right to go back to Earth for a day. But he has heard that there is a problem with his family, namely his wife Julie Bigelow née Jordan and the child he never met, that problem with which he would now like to head back to Earth to assist in rectifying. Before he is allowed back to Earth, he has to get the OK from the gatekeeper, to who he tells his story... Immediately attracted to each other, he and Julie met when he worked as a carousel barker. Both stated to the other that they did not believe in love or marriage, but they did get married. Because the shrewish carousel owner, Mrs. Mullin, was attracted to Billy herself, and since she believed he was only of use as a barker if he was single to attract the young women to the carousel, she fired him. With no other job skills and unwilling to take just any job, Billy did not provide for Julie but rather lived off Julie's Aunt Nettie. But... Written by
Mockingbird calls are heard in a scene between Billy and Louise near the end. At the time the film is set (between the early 1870s and the late 1880s), the mockingbird range was entirely in the American South. There were no mockingbirds in Maine - not even in the year the film was made (by which time the mockingbird's range had extended to New York and New Jersey). See more »
A star hurtles downward and explodes in mid-air; out of this appears the credit "Twentieth-Century Fox presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Carousel'". The other credits all appear in a straightforward fashion. See more »
This is the musical which gave Gordon MacRae his greatest solo song, namely the 7 minutes long "Soliloquy", in which Billy the circus barker speculates about his unborn child, first with bluster and pride if it is a boy, and then with insecurity and despair if it is a girl he can't buy things for. Billy, as we have seen in the opening sequence of the film, is telling his story to one of the angels in heaven, where he has gone after a violent and premature death. So we see his tale unfold, as he meets pretty little Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones, excellent), marries her, and through fate and bad luck, gets separated from her.
The subject matter is darker than Oklahoma (the film version of which also starred MacRae and Jones) but the sheer exuberance of songs such as "June is Bustin' Out All Over"; "A Real Nice Clambake"; "When The Children Are Asleep" and "If I Loved You", plus of course the best-known song from the show, "You'll Never Walk Alone" takes the story to another level and makes this film enjoyable to watch. Robert Rounsville makes a fine bombastic Mr Snow and has a fabulous voice; MacRae and Jones have their memorable duet to the lovely melody of Rodgers' score. There is also an excellent dance sequence, not as extensive as on stage, but still effective, where the daughter of Billy and Julie imagines an escape from her lonely and ostracised life.
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