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|Index||72 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is possibly the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical I like best or, to put it another way, the one I dislike least. When it comes to Rodgers and Hart versus Rodgers and Hammerstein it Larry Hart, no contest, as far as I'm concerned. There's no question that Rodgers was directly affected by his lyricists, with Larry he was sassy, bright and had balls, with Oscar he trades all those for a more lyrical quality that was also portentous. Film-wise it doesn't help that Sinatra walked after a couple of days shooting thus opening the way for the bland, insipid Gordon McCrea, who, it must be said, does give it the old college try but Soliloquy had been in Sinatra's repertoire since the show opened on Broadway and he recorded it twice, once for Columbia in the forties and again for Reprise in the 60s so right from the off McCrae was on a hiding to nothing. Other negatives are the missing numbers - You're A Queer One, Julie Jordan etc but there are positives; although there is a healthy amount of sentiment it's not quite as schmaltzy as it might have been and there are detachable songs - both If I Loved You and When The Children Are Asleep, for instance, could be sung by any shy lovers and any young parents - and they get the best out of production numbers like June Is Bustin' Out All Over and This Was A Real Nice Clambake. Overall it's pleasant and enjoyable but Oh, What It Could Have Been.
A few reader comments have said "wish I could have seen this film in a theatre"....well, went to the Redford Theatre in Detroit(www.RedfordTheatre.com)tonight (historic theater that shows classic films) (March 2006) and was very disappointed. First of all the film is sort of lame...the print that was shown was poor quality, faded from being in the can too long, lots of color washed out and lines in the print. A few good songs, and loved seeing it in Cinemascope but that is about it. Gordon McCrae does not show much personality and is rather dry throughout.....Shirely Jones acts so sweet she is literally dripping sugar....if McCrae pointed a gun at her in the film and was going to shoot her, she probably would have said "I love you Billy" ugh!! Cameron Mitchell about as boring as could be in his role....funny scenes seeing women dancers dancing on the roof of a pier at a fishing village. Got a kick also seeing Gene Lockhart, the old Bob Cratchit himself in the film and Audrie Christy who a few years later would be Natalie's Wood's mother in "Splendor in the Grass". I too wonder how Billy Bigelow got to "heaven" - he was a bum and a misfit throughout the film and an attempted murderer...the acting throughout the film was very dry to me....no one developed much of a personality in the film....just a bunch of dubbed in songs. Film leaves you wondering why the director did not let Billy talk in person to his 15 yr. old daughter where she knew it was him, instead of a strange man. Films ends with Jones mopey-dopying in her front yard rusing about her dead husband. Not the best R&H film, very average compared to "Oklahoma" with the same stars.
I really wanted to love this musical. It was beautifully filmed on location in Maine, all the songs are great and the dancing is amazing. The problem? Gordon MacRae. I like him, he's very handsome and has a great voice--not a bad actor either. It's just that his character was so unpleasant in this movie that it got annoying to watch. Shirley Jones' character was a problem too--way too sweet. I wondered more than once why she loved the guy and didn't just divorce him. So basically, I didn't like or respect the two main characters. Still, the songs were fantastic (especially "You'll Never Walk Alone") and the choreography during "June is Bursting Out All Over" was staggering. So, worth seeing for the songs and dancing--ignore the story and characterizations. Also, see it letter-boxed, it doesn't work otherwise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was expecting this film to be the tiniest bit cheesy, and I was right, but it is still enjoyable in places. Basically it is all about Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae) who is in a Heaven like place telling his story of how met, fell in love with and married Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones) at the Carousel, where he used to work. The only thing is that he pretty much ruined his life, and ended it by trying to commit a crime, which ended up with a fatal escape attempt. However, he was given the chance to see his daughter he never saw, at 15 years old, and his wife. Anyway, that is the main story, accompanied with her friend Carrie Pipperidge (Barbara Ruick) and her husband Mr. Enoch Snow (Robert Rounseville) and a load of music and dancing. Also starring Cameron Mitchell as Jigger Craigin, Claramae Turner as Cousin Nettie, Gene Lockhart as Starkeeper/Dr. Selden and Audrey Christie as Mrs. Mullin. It is a corny film, but definitely worth a try. It was number 41 on The 100 Greatest Musicals. Worth watching!
Rogers and Hammerstein considered this their best musical, showing that
artists often have no appreciation of their own work. Some of the messages
are appallingly dated -- most importantly, the baldly stated message that if
a man hits you it's because he really loves you. Julie Johnson is a weak
character -- R&H's least interesting female lead -- and would most likely
nowadays end up on Ricky Lake in a "Women with low self-esteem who love
Billy Bigelow is a good character, but portrayed as such a jerk that it's hard to be sympathetic. He screws up everything in his life and doesn't even have to courage to make it right in the end (other than singing a song at the end). Further, the song "Soliloquy" is by far R&H's worst -- banal and cliched and preachy and straining for rhymes. Even worse, its placement in the plot makes it clear that its message that a sign of a good father is a willingness to steal.
The score is no where near R&H's best. The Carousel Waltz is fine, as is "If I Love You." "June is Busting Out All Over" is a strange mix of the good (the first line) and the forgettable (quick -- sing the rest of the song). "You'll Never Walk Alone" is popular, certainly, but that sort of smarmy preachiness enveloped in a strained metaphor is extremely annoying. Its use in the film really doesn't make much sense. The rest of the songs are undistingushed.
R&H had done some classic musicals, but this ain't one of them.
Other than a couple of flashy song and dance numbers, this was a fairly laid back musical. Still, a very enjoyable 2 hour tale of the no good bum Billy Bigalow; a conniver of the first order who married the innocent young girl only to ignore and abuse her later. This was a bittersweet story of love and hope with a few laughs thrown in for good measure. Some nice scenes shot at the beach as well as a pleasant array of props and scenery went well with the theme of the film.
Honestly, I have no idea if I'm just getting older, or if this movie
caught me on the wrong day, but I had many problems with Carousel,
which is surprising as a lot of movies just slide right past me. Don't
get me wrong, I liked this movie, but most of the characters are just
plain difficult to like. Let's start with Joel Mcrea, he plays Billy, a
womanizing, lying thief and would be murderer who is always looking for
the next scam. He soon picks up Shirley Jones, who despite having a
comfy job and nice friends, is attracted to him for reasons that are
not abundantly clear. They marry (I think) and since Billy has no job,
they sort of float around, living with relatives. It turns out he also
beats her, but don't worry, we find out later in the film, that she
LIKES it. More despicable characters wander in and out of the film,
such as Shirley Jones' best friend, who is attracted to a smelt
fisherman, but is just looking for a good time as everyone else, and
the owner of the carousel who used to hire Mcrea but gets all jealous
at Shirley Jones and so fires Mcrea! The ending to this film I will not
spoil, but let's just say no one learns their lesson, and the sons and
daughters look to just to be repeating the cycle. Oh yes, the music?
What was so odd about Carousel is how about 90% of the music was
inappropriate for the movie. I mean, the 'Spring Is Busting Out All
Over' just really puts the story on hold to have this number (albeit,
it's a great number). And there's hardly any believability in the
Solliquy number, as the character pauses to sing the song, and you feel
that the movie is taking a turn.
But then people return to being scummy again.
This is admittedly more of a critique against the musical "Carousel"
and not the film. The acting and singing and especially dancing are all
well-done in the film, but I felt the content itself highly
As someone who generally likes a lot of musicals, I wanted to see Carousel, having heard that it was one of the classics. But upon watching the film, I found it quite mediocre, at best. The songs were hardly memorable at all, especially compared to other R & H scores, and other musicals of the time (Music Man, Damn Yankees), and the story and characters had little or no redeeming qualities. Particularly Billy Bigelow. This is supposedly one of the great musical characters of all-time? Just a jerk, if you ask me, and not even an interesting one at that. One-dimensional. And coming back to earth briefly to say a few hollow words to his fatherless daughter and widow at the end is supposed to make everything alright? Sheesh... And the women saying it's ok for a man to hit them... ??? Bizarre. And earlier, Billy hates his marriage and wife, but suddenly she tells him she's pregnant, and now he's suddenly going to be excited. Scumbag, eh? I don't know, I just felt repelled by the general idea of this whole show, and worse yet, the songs were just ho-hum at best. Actually, the first song about the fish guy was amusing, and showed some promise for the rest of the show, but it did not live up to it at all.
By far the best thing about this film, and the only thing worth seeing, IMO, were the two big dance sequences. Very creative and well-executed.
Both Shirley Jones and the girl who plays her daughter were put to far better use in "The Music Man". Think I'll go watch that again...
I got the boxed set of Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, and Carousel and
State Fair let me down. This one has two good songs (heck, beautiful songs)
but at least the first one ('If I Loved You') seems totally out of place, as
if it were written for something else and patched in. I don't mind the
heavy themes so much - I expect that in an R & H musical - but the plot,
"psychology" and so on here is just a big old mess.
'You'll Never Walk Alone' is the second great song, and it fits with the low point of events in the drama, but there again, it may easily have been written for another show.
The dreamy surreal jumping around from the heavens to earth and in time didn't help much. The female lead was scarcely developed at all, except that she apparently didn't mind taking a punch because she was in love. The fishermen and sailors ballet was pretty, but what the heck?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Whatever merits the musical play may have on the stage die quickly in
this ridiculously over-blown film. By half-time (when Billy falls on
his knife and dies) the story has died with him. All the audience can
do at this point, is to try to endure it to the end. A good example of
a play that was difficult to film at best, and terrible if you try to
expand or modify it.
Among the mysteries: 1)Why did they feel they had to go all the way to Maine for exteriors, when half the movie is obviously filmed on a sound stage anyway? 2) Why start with that silly prequel in Heaven? It wasn't in the play at all...
Performances are wooden and obvious. Many songs from the play were cut, Cameron Mitchell is the only "real character", and even he is wasted.(One the best songs, with him in the lead, was cut altogether).
I think Frank Sinatra got out just in time, when he realized this was going to be a bomb (and it was)! Might have more to say at a later date...
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