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Reviews & Ratings for
Carousel More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

best musical

Author: brtor222 from Canada
20 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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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Jacques d'Amboise terrific--Better than Astaire

Author: pocomarc from United States
26 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although I have no interest in dancing, I could see there was something very unusual about the male partner of Bigelow's daughter in the dance she had in the middle of "Louise's Ballet." I watched closely and repeatedly, and I swear the guy is better than Fred Astaire (and that is saying something).

I looked him up, and it turns out he (Jacques d'Amboise) was a US born ballet dancer. He was hardly 20 years old when he did this movie.

The moves he makes during this supposed Broadway musical are far too good for that level. A number of male ballet moves are mixed in.

He does everything effortlessly (even more effortlessly than Fred Astaire) and he is strong as hell. Watch the effortless one-arm lifts of Louise, and the absolute ease during the other lifts.

In looking him up, all his biographies center on his later work educating children in dance.

If he stood out so that I, who got the video to look at Shirley Jones and hear some good Broadway singing (Gordon McRae is terrific and very convincing as the roughneck he plays) could immediately notice the quality of his contribution to this movie, then he was something very unusual.

I cannot believe that better known dancers such as Nureyev or Baryshnikov were any better than Jacques d'Amboise, even if they had bigger PR.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An old favorite, after having seen the play....

Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
2 November 2006

at the NY Jones Beach Theatre (only that one starred Bonnie Franklin as Julie Jordan's friend-imagine!).

Another review mentioned the fact that this story is more realistic as Billy Bigelow was no hero to anyone, except his family. Shirley Jones is shy Julie, and loves him despite his unpromising future as a carousel/carnival barker.

The cinematography is bold and expansive, the Rodgers and Hammerstein score sometimes haunting sometimes predictable. The story is involving, however, and is not a predictable tale. It is a bit melancholy. Shirley Jones is so likable that she transcends the predictable story, and will keep you watching. 8/10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Carousel-The Ride of Your Life ***1/2

Author: edwagreen from United States
5 January 2006

Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel, a glorious, rousing, inspirational film.

What music, what stars, what chemistry.

A rich plot revolves around beautiful music where a young girl (Shirley Jones) meets and quickly marries Billie Bigalow, How will Billie make money for his bride, who is soon pregnant as well? What will he do?

In that gorgeous soliloquy, Billie talks about his plans for his son. He never really anticipates a daughter.

Sadly, Billie falls under the influence of the dishonest Cameron Mitchell, in another gem of a performance following Love Me or Leave Me, the year before. The two are killed during a failed holdup.

A widowed Jones is comforted in the memorable You'll Never Walk Alone. Jones was absolutely perfect for the role with her rich voice and apparent vulnerability as Julie Jordan. (Hard to believe that she would cop a best supporting actress Oscar five years late in a totally completely different role- a non-singing one as a tramp in "Elmer Gantry."

While in heaven, Billie can come down from there and try to square things, especially with his troubled daughter Louise. Louise has been riled throughout her young life due to her father's iniquities. She is tough, but as a young lady, also quite vulnerable. What makes the picture so good is that the music tells the story. The soliloquy, You'll Never Walk Alone and the clambake are just inklings of what is to come. Did Cameron Mitchell do his own singing for the film? Perhaps, June is Busting Out All over is rather over-done. School children can readily tell you the excitement as that wonderful month roles around.

Bring plenty of handkerchiefs, but leave the theater knowing full well that you have seen a masterpiece. ***1/2

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
13 May 1999

Handsome film musical based on Molnar's play Liliom, with a memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein score. The cast sings and dances beautifully all the way throughout. The show is lively and full of energy. The photography in the film is also stunning, as is the use of color. Features the classic song "You'll Never Walk Alone."

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Enervated and overlong, but not without interest and some magic...

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
5 November 2005

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical-fantasy Broadway hit, originally based on Ferenc Molnar's non-musical play "Lillian" (filmed itself in 1930 and 1934), comes to the screen strangely enervated, without inspiration, with disconcerting flashback structure and sluggish pacing. Due to a misunderstanding about the way the picture was to be filmed, Frank Sinatra bowed out of playing Billy Bigelow at the eleventh hour, so the "Oklahoma" sweethearts Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones are reunited here; they have a nice rapport, though this story is much tougher in tone, and MacRae and Jones do seem a bit innocuous in these settings. MacRae swaggers about amiably, but he doesn't convince us he's abusive (he's too likable). Story begins in Heaven, with fancifully silly decor, but the narrative gets more sobering as the film continues--and yet the handling is still giddy and upbeat. It doesn't quite mesh, and there are too many songs, but with a big budget and this curious material it's certainly interesting. **1/2 from ****

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps too dated for modern audiences, but a gem of a score

Author: vincentlynch-moonoi from United States
20 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First, I've got to get something off my chest. I was reading in the discussion section the thread entitled "This film is an atrocity". Some of the dumbest comments I've ever read on IMDb. We have some reviewers who can't differentiate between "I didn't like this film" and "This is a horrible film". There is a difference. I personally can't stand opera, but that doesn't mean that I don't recognize its beauty and the talent it takes to perform one. And in fact, that's one of the things some of our reviewers don't get...more than some musicals, this film is -- in a sense -- an opera.

Second, thank god that Frank Sinatra walked away from this film. First, it would have been type casting. But second, he was all wrong -- including physically wrong -- for the part of Billy Bigelow. Having said that, I see Sinatra's Reprise recording of "Soliloquy" to be the definitive recording of the song.

Now, more directly to the film. I can see why modern audiences might not enjoy this film. It has a slow pace in a few places. Some of the modern interpretive dance, which really is quite good, might not appeal to many. And, the film excuses hitting women.

On the other hand, when you think about it, the film tackles more substance than musicals often do. The plot is a little thin, but that's so you can fit in the music. And the music here is truly notable: "Soliloquy", "If I Loved You", and the stunning "You'll Never Walk Alone" (although I was a bit disappointed with the orchestral arrangement here, particularly in the first appearance of the song).

Shirley Jones's performance was -- once again -- virtually flawless. It's a travesty that her type of film virtually disappeared from movie screens, relegating much of her later career to weak films, few of which are notable.

Gordon MacRae is excellent here, and I say that as no fan of his.

Claramae Turner's part gets little screen time, but her nearly-operatic performance of "You'll Never Walk Alone" is timeless. Cameron Mitchell...well, I never quite saw what Hollywood saw in him...and still don't. Gene Lockhart is worth mentioning here. He was a character actor with a long and substantial career, and this movie was filmed just about a year before his death, although he performed in 2 films after this, including "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit".

All in all, despite what some of our reviewers have written, this is a significant film, though it may not be entertaining to modern audiences. It will be remembered more for several of its musical pieces, rather than for its plot. I'm glad I finally watched it -- once -- but I probably will not view it again. That era has passed, and personally I don't feel this is the best of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. However, still recommended from an historical point of view in film history.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Just Splendid!

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
8 April 2009

I think this is better than Oklahoma, though both are very good indeed. Carousel is a beautifully-filmed musical, though I didn't completely understand the beginning. The choreography was fantastic, specially in the number in the fishing village, and I found little problem with the direction. The songs and score by Rodgers and Hammerstein was just outstanding. After Sound of Music, this is possibly their best work. I have the rousing title number in my head, after watching it just last night, and I love "You'll Never Walk Alone". As for the performances, just brilliant. As Billy Bigelow, Gordon McRae put a lot of passion into the character, especially with the singing about his unborn child. As Julie, Shirley Jones was also lovely, though she was better in Oklahoma. I loved this film. It is just so colourful, and sometimes moving. 9/10 Bethany Cox.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Gordon Macrae's masterclass

Author: IzAguirreWrathofGod from United Kingdom
2 October 2008

Carousel is the musical that did not quite make it, probably because the "hero" is A) Dead B) A Criminal C) A known wife-beater D) A Braggart

But, it does have some of the greatest songs ever written and a masterclass in singing by Gordon Macrae. His interpretation of "Soliloquy" is the most complete 8 minutes of music you may ever experience. Starting with the noisy, boisterous first part which is about "My boy Bill" he sings the other half about "My little girl" with a tenderness which is as gently careful as the first section is confidently brash. This song was a great favourite of Sinatra, but, to my mind, it belongs to Macrae. The only other song he sings in the movie is "If I loved you" with its wistful lyrics. An expression of shy regret and missed opportunity, again sung with a depth of understanding and coherent expressiveness. The film also includes the anthem "You'll never walk alone" but there are lots of gaps in the way the story is told that may persuade you to feel that you are watching the Trailer rather than the actual movie. This, unfortunately, was Gordon Macrae's last musical. Regrettably, he became a victim of alcoholism and denied us the pleasure of hearing more of his wonderful voice.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful, story

Author: kwilson55 from United States
31 July 2006

The first time I saw Carousel, I was ten years old and staying up late on a weekend. As I turned the dial, I came across the opening scene as Billy was sitting on a ladder in Purgatory (not heaven), polishing stars. This scene fascinated me. At this point I became engrossed in the movie which was to be my favorite for a lifetime. The music is perfect as it ranges from the dynamic "Carousel Waltz" to the simple and beautiful "If I loved You". As in The other R&H musicals that address social issues (racial prejudice in South Pacific and sexual harassment in Oklaholma), Carousel takes on spousal abuse and social discrimination. The scene, where Julie puts Billie's star in her pocket, as her daughter asks, if it was possible to be hit and for it not to hurt, has such deep emotion. Gordon Macrae and Shirley Jones are so right together in their roles as Julie and Billie. Frank Sinatra could never have pulled it off. I'm so glad he walked out on the role of Billy Bigelow. My only regret is that at least two numbers, that I am aware of, were edited out of the final version, "You're a Queer One Julie Jordan" and "A Whaling We Will Go" (not sure if this is the correct title). They were cut do to the extended length of the film. Another hour would have been fine with me.

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