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Classic R&H Musical With Superb MacRae and Jones...
Neil Doyle24 June 2001
Rodgers & Hammerstein's brilliant stage musical comes to the screen with most of the music intact--and what songs they are. Each one is a gem and fully integrated into the tragic storyline. Gordon MacRae stars as Billy Bigelow, the amusement park barker who tries to change his life when he marries Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones)-- with tragic results. MacRae's robust baritone is showcased in his big number, 'Soliloquy', performed at seaside with the ocean backdrop. Only occasionally is the use of stagebound sets a jarring note--but overall, the look and feel of the movie is one of genuinely moving musical drama.

Delightful performances from Barbara Ruick and Robert Rounseville as Mr. and Mrs. Snow. Their 'When The Children Are Asleep' is a charming highlight. Claramae Turner does an outstanding job on 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Cameron Mitchell is a slyly villainous Jigger. Filming of the 'June Is Bustin' Out All Over' number in Boothsbay Harbor, Maine is a production highlight and choreographer's dream.

Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones are in excellent voice for 'If I Loved You'. What more could you want? An exceptional movie musical that ranks with the best of Rodgers & Hammerstein's works.
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excellent Rodgers and Hammerstein musical
didi-515 November 2003
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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"He's Your Fellow And You Love Him, That's All There Is To Say"
bkoganbing6 May 2007
I saw Carousel for the very first time in its first release when it played a double bill with Oklahoma. You can't do much better than that for an introduction to the American Musical Theater.

It would get a perfect 10 had it been done with the original two leads that were set for the show, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland. Judy backed out before production started and Sinatra shortly after that, so Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones got to do a second Rodgers&Hammerstein classic.

Carousel is based on the Ferenc Molnar play Liliom and the original setting is in Molnar's native Hungary. On Broadway it was done by Eva Le Gallienne and Joseph Schildkraut and later in revival by Ingrid Bergman and Burgess Meredith. One man who did it in summer stock was Tyrone Power who if a straight dramatic version of Liliom had ever been done, would have been perfect.

Whether he's Liliom in Hungary or Billy Bigelow in 19th century New England, the part is one for a hero/heel that Tyrone Power patented on the screen. Probably Gordon MacRae benefited in no small way in having Power's favorite director Henry King in charge of Carousel.

Richard Rodgers was also used to writing for a hero/heel having done Pal Joey with his former partner Lorenz Hart. Billy is that kind of guy, a carousel barker and boy toy to owner Audrey Christie when he spots Julie Jordan and her friend Carrie Pipperidge, a couple of mill workers. It's love at first sight and marriage shortly after, but Billy's not a guy to change his layabout ways and it ends in tragedy.

One reason that Sinatra was also so right for the part was that he had made a successful hit record of Billy's Soliliquy back in 1945 when Carousel debuted on Broadway. It was a groundbreaking piece of musical theater that Dick Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein were responsible for in the Soliliquy. Billy's just been told by Julie he's about to become a father. In an almost 10 minute number he bares his soul to the audience and sings/thinks aloud the moves he's going to make. The song is almost operatic in quality, it takes a real singing actor to put it over like Sinatra, like MacRae is here, like John Raitt in the original cast on stage.

Though it's not Julie's song, Judy Garland had a successful record with You'll Never Walk Alone. I'm sure she would have sung it in the film had she seen it through. It's probably the big hit song from the score, still an inspiring number today.

Rounding out the cast is Cameron Mitchell as Billy's no good pal Jigger, Robert Rounseville and Barbara Ruick as Mr. Snow and Carrie, the second leads and from the Metropolitan Opera Claramae Turner as Julie's cousin Nettie who does sing You'll Never Walk Alone.

Two more who are perfectly cast are John Dehner as the officious mill owner that employs the girls and the heavenly star-keeper, Gene Lockhart in one of his last roles.

Even more than in Oklahoma, Agnes DeMille's ballet numbers are used to advance the plot. From the exuberant June Is Busting Out All Over to the dance that Billy and Julie's daughter does, all are done with taste and style.

Carousel is both tragic and yet uplifting and inspiring. It's a musical for all the ages to come.
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Wonderful, with world's BEST love song!
mallard-625 May 1999
This is a great film, based on a great show. It is perfectly cast, and has the world's best love song (If I Loved You) in a smashingly romantic setting. I shudder to think what the film would have been like with several who were possible leads--Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly--because Gordon MacRae is so right--physically and vocally--for the role, and Shirley Jones is marvelously young and innocent and beautiful.

The new (as of 5/99) DVD production is stunning, bringing wide screen, impeccable color, sharp definition, and glorious sound to the mix.

This Rodgers and Hammerstein show is a classic, and must not be missed!
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It's a Wonderful Death
schappe11 January 2004
In recent years it has become commonplace to site Frank Kapra's `It's a Wonderful Life' as one of the greatest films ever. It has become a Christmas tradition. I feel that film is overrated. The problem I have with it is that it stacks the deck in trying to convince us of the value of human life. George Bailey is a successful banker- not exactly rich but successful enough that he contributed a lot of material things to people's lives, including a housing development named after him. He also saved his brother's life so his brother could save the men on that ship, etc. etc. The message is that you are of value if you have done the sort of things they build statues of people to honor. On top of that, without George, everybody in this town is nothing. They are all drunks or crooks or prostitutes. They have no capabilities of their own. They are all dependent on George Bailey.

I much prefer Carousel, whose hero is a bum. If you were to ask nearly everybody in town- a town that has done just fine without him, as a matter of fact, what Billy Bigelow contributed to their lives, they would say nothing- if they remembered him at all. The only people who would have anything good to say about him are those that he loved and who loved him. And that is the bottom line. If a person can be redeemed by his ability to love and to inspire love in others, we all have a chance. If you have to have a bank and town named after you, the bar is too high for most of us.

As a musical, this is as good as it gets. `If I loved you' is rivaled only by `Some Enchanted Evening' as a love song and it means more as it's revealing of the character of this crude man who can't express what's in his soul and this shy girl who wants only to love and be loved. `Soliloquy' is the dramatic highlight in the history of the musical as Billy works out all his hopes and dreams in his mind and vows to do anything he can to make his daughter's life special. By over reaching his bounds, he does the opposite. `What's the Use of Wondering' expresses the doubts anyone entering a relationship has and is doubly moving as it's sung by Julie, for whom we know the song will have special relevance. `When You Walk Through a Storm' offers hope to us all. Those old guys at graduations are really worth listening to.
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Beautifully filmed version of Rodgers & Hammerstein musical
cinemel3 March 1999
Rodgers & Hammerstein's groundbreaking musical version of Molnar's "Liliom" has been given a fine rendering on film. Gordon Macrae is the carousel barker, Billy Bigelow, who falls in love with the lovely millworker, Julie Jordan, portrayed by the talented Shirley Jones. The road to happiness is paved with wife abuse, criminal acts, and tragedy, not the usual items found in musicals.

The score of "Carousel" is probably one the greatest ever composed for the musical theatre. "If I Loved You" is sung by the couple in a lovers' lane setting where their attitudes and emotions are conveyed by Rodgers' bittersweet melody and Hammerstein's wonderful lyrics. "June is Bustin' Out All Over" is danced and sung by the ensemble of youthful denizens of the Maine town where the story is set. The choreography is delightful, somewhat reminiscent of the athletic-balletic dancing in "7 Brides for 7 Brothers". Gordon Macrae's moving performance of "Soliloquy" along the rocky seashore with its crashing waves is nothing short of perfection. Frank Sinatra was originally to have the role, but to be frank, he looked a little silly in the costume worn by the character as seen in a still photograph shown in a documentary about Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The cinematography is spectacular using the Cinemascope 55 process. Of course, the film must be seen in its widescreen version available on laserdisc and soon to be released on DVD. I first saw "Carousel" at the Roxy Theatre when it opened in 1956. The huge screen seemed like a window looking out on the world of these star-crossed characters. The sound was stereophonic and still is in its video incarnations.

Supporting performances are also fine. Cameron Mitchell is Billy's bad influence. Barbara Ruick and Robert Rounsville have magnificent voices and sing the lovely "When the Children Are Asleep" against the panoramic scenery of a June sailboat ride to a clambake. At the clambake, the chorus lead by Claramae Turner sings the heart out of "A Real Nice Clambake". Turner also sings the anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" at a tragic turning point in the film.

The best way to see "Carousel" is in a theatre, but see it. It is sometimes shown on American Movie Classics cable channel in its original widescreen version. Lean back and enjoy.
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A musical and artistic masterpiece
michaelhills3 May 2008
Being born the same year as the film version of "Carousel" was released, it took me a while to get hold of it to finally see it. The first time I did, I was disappointed. This is no "Sound of Music" or "King and I" I muttered. I thought the songs were beautiful, but the film heavy handed, uneven and the story too dark, no wonder it was one of the least successful R&H film musicals! However, over subsequent viewings on better formats (Laser Disc and now DVD) I have come to realize this is quite possibly one of the greatest film Musicals ever made (!!!) and without a doubt the ultimate masterpiece in the Rogers and Hammerstein canon. The cast is flawless, the story almost unbearably tragic and at the same time uplifting and inspiring. There really are no words to describe this wonderful work of art, and like all great works of art, you not only look at it, but it looks back at you, which is why it is so relevant and so incredibly moving. Bravo to all involved!.
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Beautiful and inspiring
Registered_User17 February 2002
Shirley Jones is very believable as Julie Jordan, the lovely and ever patient mill worker who falls for a carousel barker, Billy Bigelow. With such heart felt ballads as "If I Loved You" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" it definitely ranks as one of the essential Hollywood musicals. Carousel is just about the only musical made during this period that deals with darker themes (i.e. date rape, domestic abuse). One could say that it even argues in favor of birth control. Carousel will never look dated because its themes are timeless and apply to the human spirit no matter what year it is. Everybody can identify with Billy to a degree and everybody can not help but feel a deep respect for Julie by the end of her personal journey. Fans of musical drama will treasure Carousel for years to come.
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This ranks as my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein
mark.waltz3 April 2001
For years, I searched for this film on TV, plus the old Magnetic video copy released during the late 1970's. However, other than the occasional pay channel, it was never on. Local channels would play all of the other Rodgers and Hammerstein films, but this one was not one of them for some reason. I had heard the score before. It was perhaps Rodgers and Hammerstein's most RECORDED score. There were two major Broadway cast albums, both starring John Raitt, as well as a variety of studio-recorded albums. It was even done for TV in the 1960's with Robert Goulet, a version I hope eventually will be released. The score is one of the most beautiful to listen to, and the lyrics are inspiring. The movie leads, Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, are perfectly cast, and their singing voices beautifully fill the roles. They are even better in this than they were in "Oklahoma!". As Julie's best friend, Carrie, Barbara Ruick is a perfect contrast to Jones' innocent Julie. She is unintentionally flirtatious, yet not "easy" like Gloria Grahame's Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!". Those two roles are very similar in the sense that they are both the second leads with a comic twist, but I found Ruick's Carrie more developed character wise. As her leading man, Robert Rouseville's Mr. Snow can seem a bit stuffy, but his character is a product of his times: quietly macho, not in the romantic sense, but that a girl like Carrie simply wanting a home and family would be perfect for him. Cameron Mitchell's Jigger Crane, the "Jud Fry" of the story, comes on as a some-what light-hearted villain; it is his actions which will ultimately affect the destinies of our lovers Julie and Billy. As the pricklish Mrs. Mullins, owner of the carousel, delightful Audrey Christie was perfectly shrewish. Finally, as the sweet and wise Aunt Nettie, Claramae Turner was wonderful as the musical's voice of reason, a role often scene in Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Her rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" is unforgettable.

It is totally believable that Julie and Billy would fall for each other. They are both attractive young adults. Yes, he did beat her, and she stayed with him in spite of this. This was the 1870's, and women did stay with the men they loved in spite of things like this. One of the reasons things like this are important to be seen today is to show how far women have come. In the man-dominated New England of that time, women were secondary citizens, so it is realistic to portray Julie in this light. Sad yes, but a part of history.

The New England sets are breath-taking, particularly during the "June is Bustin' Out All Over" number, and in the climactic clambake. They are beautifully photographed, making the film mesmerizing to look at. Between the sumptuous singing of MacRae and Jones and the wonderful cinemascope technicolor, the film is simply outstanding. I find it hard to find any faults with this film, and could simply watch it over and over.
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Another Black Sheep, But Still Not A Turkey!
It's amazing how many people can dislike a movie that's rated as high as a 7.2, but public opinion against this ingenious musical actually runs extremely high. People hate the story, they hate having to deal with the marital issues discussed herein, they hate the songs... they go on and on and on and don't realize what a clever piece of work this film really is!

I'd take this over most other Rodgers & Hammerstein movies any day (well, I think I'd watch "South Pacific" first, the 1958 version, of course) for its jaw-dropping Cinemascope 55 imagery and varied range of emotions, from shout-from-the-rooftops happy to please-kill-me-now sad. And the "Starkeeper" premise is not, per se, a very enjoyable or original one, but (I have to say it) it sure as heck beats the everybody-sing-like-you've-got-golden-lungs jubilation of "Sound of Music". It's nice to have a little melancholy in a musical! So sue me!

I know exactly why this isn't considered as great as its inferiors: people don't like dealing with it. But this is a movie that should be dealt with: a movie with heart, brains, *and* tear ducts. All you doubters out there, call me when you can come up with another movie with that trifecta down to an art form.
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The very finest of Rodgers and Hammerstein!
hamlet-161 January 2003
The film of this classic musical is a joy to watch and listen to.

The music is undoubtedly the finest Rodgers and Hammerstein


Of the many fine moments in the film two astounding highlights

must be Billy's Soliloquy and the Shirley Jones' and Gordon

MacRae's lover's duet "If I loved you".

To this is added two great ballet sequences "June is Bustin' out all

Over" and Louise's ballet.

The film is Rogers and Hammerstein at their most dark and

introspective, which may account for the film's relatively lacklustre

reception at the time of its initial release but the at the same time

explains the ongoing appeal of this truly timeless classic film.

It is a fine memorial to both composer and lyricist and to the

artistry of Gordon MacRae whose performance of the soliloquy is

the benchmark against which all performances are judged.

The film was produced in Cinemascope 55 a large film fomat

which overcame many of the problems that were inherent in early

Cinemascope films (even though the film was actually released

only in standard 35mm form ..a bit like a 35mm print of a 70mm

film this still results in a far better image) and gives the film its

immaculate look.

The Fox DVD is crisp and the sound, though very clearly a 1950s

recording is clean and well balanced.

I just wish I could see this film in a cinema on the biggest of

screens... it would be an even more special experience!
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Another awesome film by Rodgers and Hammerstein!
Zoes30 July 1999
Being the theater freak that I am, I love to watch movies, especially the musicals! "Carousel" is definitely one of my favorites, with Shirley Jones and Gordon McRae pairing up again in another love story. The story line is terrific, although I have to admit that the ending totally bugged me! I really thought that Billy Biggelow should have let Julie see him when he came back down to Earth. Although you could tell that Julie felt his presence then, I still think it would have been a stronger, happier ending if they had seen each other. Many of you probably disagree, but I really thought they should have seen each other one last time.

The music in "Carousel" is great! From the cheerful number, "June is Bustin' Out All Over," to the movie's finale, "You'll Never Walk Alone," all of the songs featured in this movie are well performed. Shirley Jones' rendition of "What's the Use of Wonderin'" was just as well done as her performance of "Many A New Day," in "Oklahoma!" (1955) Her character, Julie Jordan, was portrayed very well by the young Shirley Jones.

Gordon McRae also portrayed his character well, the carousel-barker Billy Biggelow, whose life came to an end after falling upon his knife while attempting to rob someone with his sidekick, Jigger. He was sweet and sensitive in the appropriate parts, and rough and boisterous in others. Although he didn't admit it until his death, you could tell throughout the entire film that he really did love Julie Jordan. Their duet "If I Loved You," was similar to "People Will Say We're in Love," from "Oklahoma!", but it also had its own personality.

As for supporting actors, the actors who portrayed Cousin Nettie, Carrie Pipperidge, and Enoch Snow, did an excellent job becoming the character and bringing their roles to life. Without the help of these smaller roles, the movie wouldn't have been as well done.

This film is great for laughs, smiles, and tears, and a definite winner if you love musicals. You definitely want to see this movie me, you'll love it too!
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50th Anniversary DVD
blue-714 November 2006
There are several things that make the 50th Anniversary DVD Edition of CAROUSEL worth up grading for:

1) Finally the picture is Anamorphic processed, resulting in a more detailed image.

2) The excellent "Turns on the Carousel" featurette is very informative and interesting.

3) The delightful commentary track with star Shirley Jones and filmmaker Nick Redman is a joy to listen to.

4) The option to play the songs only or listen to the isolated musical score.

5) And most of the all the opportunity to see a very nice print of the 1934 French motion picture, "Liliom" featuring a very young Charles Boyer, directed by Fritz Lang with music by Franz Waxman (who would shortly do the score for the now classic, "Bride of Frankenstein".) It is fascinating to see the source material for "Carousel". What amazes is how much of the dialog was retained for Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical adaptation.

Sadly the much desired recent release of this film as a Blu-ray has turned out to be a major disappointment. So the above DVD is the best rendering of this wonderful musical that we are likely to have.
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More special than "Oklahoma" movie
gkeith_118 October 2003
The underdog of the two movies, but not in my book. "Carousel" so sweet, but I hate the darker parts. Hard to watch Jigger & Billy in their evil planning & trying to carry it out. I like all the song-and-dance movies. Here, "Louise's Ballet" really special, with Jacques d'Amboise now an older ballet teacher & mentor of youth. This movie shows him when he was borrowed as a young star (prodigy) from American Ballet Theater (?). Hate the part where Louise is taunted by all those rich kids. Liked the part at the end where Julie is older & more mature; wiser. Still misses her ne'er-do-well husband.

Loved the boat song with Julie's two friends: "When the Children Are Asleep". A tearjerker, but how true.

This story gives a midwesterner a view of late 1800s New England life, about uneducated young people. A female mill hand, and a male carousel barker. No wonder they had no money. People were going to college in those days, but not very many apparently. Billy's other money-making alternative was to steal. So sad.

Gordon MacRae had such an awesome voice. Shirley Jones' voice is beautiful, as is that of Claramae Turner (Cousin Nettie). The big group dance off Nettie's roof is totally excellent & breathtaking. Reminds me of "7 Brides for 7 Brothers".

Too bad people these days only know of Shirley Jones from "Partridge Family".

9/10 (dark violence)
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best musical
brtor22220 August 2010
I can't remember how old I was when I first saw this on TV, but it was a long time ago (we had a B&W TV!)...but even though I saw it in B&W, it had an impact that has lasted. This musical has the most gorgeous score by the great Richard Rodgers. Also believe this music got me hooked onto opera later in my youth and that opened an entirely other world of music to me.

But back to Carousel, the story is beautiful and moving, sad and romantic. The stuff of great musicals. And the music is wonderfully scored by the Fox maestro of the time, Alfred Newman and the superb Fox orchestra!! I think that if Fox had made this film earlier (like in the 40's, the orchestrations might have been sparser. In 1956, with bigger production spending (to get audiences away from their TVs and back into theatres), the musicals are also beefed up orchestrally (with improved stereo recording techniques) to make the most of the score. (The soundtrack is also an enjoyable one to experience on its own.)

I loved the scenery of the Maine coast...I have even travelled to Maine and made a special stop in Boothbay Harbor--much changed since 1956 I am sure, but it felt wonderful to visit there. I only wish that the town would make more of an effort to promote the fact that Carousel's location filmwork was done there.

The cinematography is splendid and lush. I love the way the camera is used in the Carousel Waltz sequence, with the music dominating any dialogue. Modern directors wouldn't dare try that today!

I can live with the juxtapositional mixes of location photography vs. the in-studio filming. Not all the dancing could be done on a real beach. And I was very pleased that the entire Soliloquy scene was shot outdoors, very beautiful camera-work following Mr. MacRae's movements. And he sings that song like it was written for him. I agree with most other reviewers here, that Mr. Sinatra was not right for this part.

Shirley Jones is just gorgeous to look at and so believable in this role. Too bad, she only really has two songs, one being the duet with MacRae. Claramae Turner's rendition of the classic You'll Never Walk Alone always brings tears to me, even now after all these years.

Even at the end, I am teary-eyed. That tells me this movie is timeless.

I hope anyone who has never seen it, and reads the reviews here, that you will be able to find as much joy and love from this great music and story that we all have.
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Not Dark Enough
evanston_dad14 August 2006
The dark, brooding Rodgers & Hammerstein stage musical gets the big-budget screen treatment in this 1956 release, and the results are only moderately successful. The actors have great voices -- and certainly the score to "Carousel" is the lushest and densest R&H produced -- but they're simply not good enough actors to explore the depths of the musical's book. Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones were fine as perky country folk in "Oklahoma!" from a year earlier, but MacRae is not a dangerous enough presence to pull off the rough character of Billy Bigelow.

Still, as mentioned, the score sounds wonderful and remains mostly intact for the film. And Agnes DeMille provides some characteristically stunning screen choreography, especially in the trademark R&H ballet sequence.

Grade: B
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A Lovely Screen Version of a Classic Musical
ijonesiii4 January 2006
1956's CAROUSEL was definitely one of the stronger screen adaptations of a screen musical despite its troubled beginnings. Frank Sinatra had originally been cast as Billy and walked because the film was being filmed using two different films requiring everything to be done twice. Doris Day was the producers' first choice for Julie but she was having health problems at the time and was unavailable. These circumstances created the reunion of "Oklahoma" stars Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, who even though this film was made right after "Oklahoma" seem much more adult, mature, and sexy than they did in the previous film. For the uninitiated, CAROUSEL is the story of Billy Bigelow, a carnival barker who offers Julie a free ride on his carousel one night and the attraction between the two is instantaneous...almost animal...they both get fired from their jobs as a result but they don't care. I love the relationship between Billy and Julie, as opposed to Curly and Laurey, because Billy and Julie's relationship is clearly sexual, evidenced in Julie's pregnancy. There is violence and fantasy mixed with the romance here to produce one of the loveliest musicals ever filmed. MacRae and Jones shine alone and as a duo...the "If I loved You" scene is enchanting as are his "Soliloquy" and her "What's the Use of Wondrin?". Barbara Ruick is cute as Carrie, Julie's best friend, Robert Rounseville makes a robust Mr. Snow, Cameron Mitchell is amusing as Billy's shady pal Jigger and Claramae Turner's rendition of the show's most famous song "You'll Never Walk Alone" is breathtaking. Filmed on beautiful Maine locations, director Henry King has brought us a lush and lovely musical that has everything a musical should offer, even if it is a tad overlong. Still worth the trip.
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Stunning score!
kdsurfing4 November 2005
This is a very deep and moving musical that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved Shirley Jones and Gordan MacRae in Oklahoma! and the pair was just as amazing in "Carousel". A work of art in every aspect, although a very sad movie in general. The two songs that really stand out in this musical were "If I Loved You" and "You'll Never Walk Alone". Some of the lines in "You'll Never Walk Alone" go like, "When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark." Which is really true of any of our lives and it easy to make connections with the troubles in our life to the troubles in theirs, that are reflected in this outstanding musical. Be ready to be moved in many different ways. Both were amazing while songs like "June is Bustin' Out All Over" provided a bit of "happy" relief. I recommend it for anybody looking for a truly touching and romantic experience with an amazing score of songs. You'll love it.
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Great musical
Rose-3522 December 1999
This is a really good movie and has wonderful music. One of the best by Rodgers & Hammerstein. Shirley Jones and Gordon Macrae are perfect for their roles. Personally, I think the best parts are during the end of the film when Macrae finally gets to see his little girl. I thought I could make it through without crying. Boy, was I wrong. The ending is great and just tugs at your heart and makes you want more. If you like musicals, you'll love this. If you don't then you're missing out on a wonderful movie.
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The Best R & H Score and Nearly Their Best Film
twanurit25 June 2000
This score, which includes "You'll Never Walk Alone", "If I Loved You", "June Is Bustin' Out All Over", "What's the Use of Wondrin'", "A Real Nice Clambake", the title "Carousel Waltz" and many more (although 2 1/2 were cut), is entrancing and moving. But the flashback method (like the recent "Titanic" where we know who DOESN'T die), a poor performance by the juvenile lead, Susan Luckey, a DANCER, and indoor beach sets unevenly interwoven with spectacular real beach scenery, fleetingly detract from the film. But superb performances, sung and acted, by Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, lovely Maine scenery, expert direction by Fox "house" director Henry King ("The Song of Bernadette", "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing", many more), an emotional finale and that evergreen score and you have got a musical almost on the level of "The Sound of Music" and "The King and I"
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Good music, but awful, awful story
yakimuckus9 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I was having a hard time understanding all the positive reviews on this movie. Was the musical supposed to be a tragedy and I just didn't get it? Was I supposed to sympathize with the characters in any way whatsoever? Did it have anything more than drivel to say about love or redemption? I still can't think of any positive answers to those questions.

Begin with a girl who falls in love with a total bum because he puffs out his chest a lot, a loser who makes no secret of his utter lack of respect for women. Throughout the song, "If I Loved You" (which was a nice song, btw, if removed from its context) I couldn't get her stupidity out of my head. Next a marriage where the guy treats her with utter disdain and abuse, and somehow she still loves him, even though he has yet to show a single redeeming quality in the movie.

When he finds out she is pregnant he actually pauses for reflection on his life. During "Soliloquy" I thought perhaps this would be the beginning of a redemption story. Alas, he turns to crime and gets himself killed. When in heaven (or whatever it is) he puffs out his chest again and declares that he won't apologize for anything at all. This is one of the most awful characters I have ever seen.

So finally he is given a chance to go back and make things right for his now-grown daughter (and needs to be brow-beaten into taking that chance, btw), how does he do it? He whispers into her ear to believe her high school graduation speech and then walks away self- satisfied. Oh job well-done, man!

One reviewer said that the characters had emotional maturity of five-year-olds, and this hit the nail on the head for me. There was nothing redeeming about them, except perhaps that the wife patiently suffers and the complete loser of a husband never obviously cheats on her. Was this supposed to be a love story? I don't get it.

The music was good, though, and because of that I regretfully gave the movie as high as a 3-star rating.
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Great musical, passable flick (and George Bailey still resonates more than Billy Bigelow)
schell-73 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Of the quintessential Rodgers-Hammerstein musicals, this one comes in just behind Oklahoma, South Pacific, and the King and I. From a jazz musician's viewpoint, it offers fewer enticing songs than anything by Rodgers & Hart and most of the collaborations with Hammerstein as well. Yet in the context of the times, a song such as "You'll Never Walk Alone" helped heal, provide consolation and hope to the ones who were left behind after the war. "If I Loved You" is certainly a gorgeous melody and sensitive lyric, but the highlight, at least for any expectant father, has got to be "Soliloquy." (Listen to Sinatra's unsurpassed, timeless reading of this one as well as "You'll Never Walk Alone" on "The Concert Sinatra".)

Sinatra's instincts were right in backing out of this movie, which is the most wooden, flat, artificial and leaden of all the filmed adaptations of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals (it makes "Sound of Music" look like "Citizen Kane"). It's simply not good movie-making-- partly because the filmmakers got carried away with the technology, thinking that bright colors and a wider Cinemascope image, requiring two final takes of each scene (the reason Sinatra split), would be "realism" enough for the public.

That's one reason this film, contrary to another reviewer's evaluation, can't compare with Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." But he also misses the point about George Bailey. True, he's not the bum that Billy Bigelow is. But he's become so self-righteous about his "indispensability" to his community that he commits suicide all because of the loss of a mere thousand bucks. (In the movie version of "Carousel" Billy falls on his knife accidentally after the stick-up goes awry.) Billy comes back as an angel to provide comfort, hope, and encouragement, "earning his wings" by doing well by his daughter. But George Bailey has earned too many wings--in fact, his good deeds and his savior complex are his problem. The wingless angel Clarence is sent on a mission to Bedford Falls to restore to George Bailey his humanity, with all its flaws and failings. Compared to Carousel, it's a darker, more profound story about tragic pride (even archetypal, given its parallels with Sophocles' Oedipus Rex), and ultimately it's more cathartic and life affirming, since it conveys faith in a world not overrun by Mr. Potters: ordinary people do have the capacity to be unselfish and forgiving. This is not to cast aspersions on the deeply felt sentiments of the Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece. It's just unfortunate that Carousel was not filmed in the 1940s by a creative, inspired giant like Frank Capra.
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I got a feeling it's per-fect...
ptb-820 November 2006
I am haunted by this breathtaking musical. Seeing it again in DVD clarity in widescreen, I suggest any educated person might just believe, like me, that CAROUSEL might actually be the perfect musical. Ilove Singin in the Rain and other 50s hits... but this one, so grim so tough and so sexual even between the generations, well, for a 50s blockbuster musical, it is a mature and complex drama in imaginary deep and saddened (wistful?) overtures and drops, it is supremely

satisfying. If you have the DVD play it on 'orchestral' only and get the full spooky and brooding melancholy of its musical score... the re run it with the songs ...and then let the robust and desirable full blown effect take hold... as it would have in cinema-scope and huge screen in 2000 seat palaces would have oiled and serviced the senses as it did in 1956. CAROUSEL is a sublimely bitter and cruel musical about desire sex refusal and rejection... and ultimately 'what could have been' and even tougher, what rejection your ripe and intelligent kid would have been pained by, when ready for teenage love.... if they had have lived, and worse still, if they had had rotten lousy you for a parent. This is THE masterpiece musical for the new century made in 1956... in the middle of the startling disillusioned 50s. (see also It's Always Fair Weather... and the Man In The Grey Flannel Suit). CAROUSEL has the most collapsingly breathtaking beautiful photography... scenes in the open on the water in Maine are just incredible to see. The 'Spring Is bustin out all over" dance sequence clearly comes from "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" and influenced "Hello Dolly"... but as a stand-alone musically robust spectacle... well, just marvel. CAROUSEL is genuinely a massive and supremely crafted musical when the genre was at its most mature and most perfectly honed and technically supreme.
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A Splendid Rodgers & Hammerstein Musical
mathhater4life5 July 2001
This is nicely acted and beautifully sung musical drama. Shirley Jones is very believable as Julie Jordan, the lovely and ever patient mill worker, who falls for a carousel barker, Billy Bigelow, the town heartthrob. Portrayed by Gordon MacCrae. With such heart felt ballads such as "If I Loved You" and "Mr. Snow" its no wonder that it is still popular today. I also like Carousel because its the only Rodgers and Hammerstein concept that deals with darker themes. Any fan of musicals will delight in this classic. Tissues will be mandatory. My score: 8
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Not like 'Sound of Music' (or) 'Oklahoma'
Srikumar Krishna Iyer28 February 2015
In the process of exploring the great works of Rodgers & Hammerstein, I came across this musical, again, one of their earlier works remade into a Hollywood movie.

But it was a complete disappointment- Both the plot as well as the music. Although I didn't expect the plot to be very interesting since it was made such a long time ago, when slow movies had audience, I expected the music to compensate for the sloppy plot, but unfortunately, the music was also a letdown. Except a couple of songs, others didn't register well with me.

I will try to revisit the music sometime later, and find out if it is more appealing on multiple listens.
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