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The Music Man (1962)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 19 June 1962 (USA)
Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader to con naive Iowa townsfolk.

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(based on: "The Music Man"), (written in collaboration with) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The Buffalo Bills ...
School Board
Timmy Everett ...
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Winthrop Paroo (as Ronny Howard)
Harry Hickox ...
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Adnia Rice ...
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Storyline

It's the early twentieth century American Midwest. A con man, currently going by the assumed name Harold Hill, has used several different schemes to bilk the unsuspecting, he now traveling from town to town pretending to be a professor of music - Gary (Indiana) Conservatory of Music, class of '05 - being able to solve all the respective towns' youth problems by forming a boys' marching band. He takes money from the townsfolk to buy instruments, music, instructional materials and uniforms for their sons. However, he, in reality, has no degree, knows nothing about music, and after all the materials arrive and are distributed, hightails it out to move to the next town with all the money never to be seen again. Many of the traveling salesmen in the territory have been negatively impacted by him, as the townsfolk then become suspicious of any stranger trying to sell them something. For Harold's scheme to work, he has to gain the trust of the local music teacher, he usually doing so by ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of that man and his 76 trombones, and the wonderful, wonderful tune he played on every heart in town!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

19 June 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Meredith Willson's The Music Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Ford, who plays Mayor Shinn in this film, also plays Horace Vandergelder in The Matchmaker (1958). David Burns, the actor who played Mayor Shinn in the original Broadway production of "The Music Man", played Vandergelder in the original Broadway production of "Hello, Dolly!" (which is adapted from "The Matchmaker"). See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, the train is traveling from the Illinois Iowa. The background visual scroll only shows flat cornfields. We never see it crossing a river, let alone the Mississippi, which is the only way to get between the states in question. See more »

Quotes

Marcellus Washburn: This is where I work.
Harold Hill: You mean you *live* in this town?
Marcellus Washburn: Yeah, I like it, too. I mean it's not Brooklyn, New York. It's not the City of Homes and Churches and...
Harold Hill: [amazed] "Brooklyn"? Marce, this isn't even *Dubuque*!
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits appear in the style of a Broadway show's curtain call. First the minor characters are shown with the performers' names. The credits then progress through the cast ending with the lead. See more »

Connections

Referenced in To Rome with Love (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Gary, Indiana
(1957) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Performed by Robert Preston
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Robert Preston brilliantly recreates his Broadway role.
9 December 2000 | by (Eastbourne, Sussex, England) – See all my reviews

One of the greatest musicals ever put onto film is how I would describe "The Music Man" with its show stopping numbers like "Ya Got Trouble Right Here in River City", "The Sadder But Wiser Girl For Me", "Wells Fargo Wagon", "Seventy Six Trombones" and many more.

Confidence trickster Harold Hill arrives in River City with the intention of setting up a boy's band and taking money for costumes and instruments but intends to leave town with the money before these arrive. Things don't exactly work out to plan when he finds himself falling for the town's librarian and he becomes involved with the lives of many of the River City citizens. Meanwhile, the mayor tries his best to have Hill run out of town but one by one the River City townspeople begin to realise that Hill has actually brought much happiness and contentment to several of them since his arrival. Marian the librarian gradually succumbs to Hill's charms and defends him against the wild accusations of the mayor.

A high class ensemble of players make this a captivating film - in addition to Robert Preston himself (absolutely brilliant as Professor Harold Hill) we have Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo (the librarian), Buddy Hackett as Hill's friend Marcellus Washburn, Harry Hickox as another salesman determined to expose Hill, Paul Ford as Mayor Shinn and Hermione Gingold as Mrs Eulalie Shinn. Paul Ford's excellent portrayal of Mayor Shinn was not that far removed from his role as Colonel Hall in the long running "Sergeant Bilko" TV series. (I half expected to see Phil Silvers turn up in River City with some new gambling scheme on his mind!). Also in the "Music Man" cast was a very young Ron Howard (aged only eight) as Winthrop Paroo who was outstanding in his featured number "Gary, Indiana" which he had to sing with a lisp!! (He is of course now well established as a competent film director). I was surprised to see the talented actor Max Showalter (also known as Casey Adams) only used in one scene at the opening of the film. An actor of his calibre should have had a much larger part I consider. I was delighted to see Percy Helton (albeit briefly), one of my favourite character actors, pop up as the train conductor at the beginning of the film. Percy Helton has appeared in hundreds of films and is instantly recognisable with his distinctive voice and chubby frame. A word of praise is due to "The Buffalo Bills" who provide many delightful musical interludes throughout the film. "The Music Man" was produced and directed by Morton da Costa and I loved his theatrical device when the screen went dark after some of the musical numbers - a fascinating innovation.

Some favourite lines from the film:-

Harry Hickox: "But he doesn't know the territory!".

Robert Preston: "Gentlemen, you intrigue me - I think I'll have to give Iowa a try!".

Paul Ford: "I said all along - get his credentials didn't I?".

Paul Ford: "Where's the band? Where's the band?".

Preston (to the boy's band): "Now think, men, think!".

In 1958 Robert Preston won the prestigious "Tony" Award as Best Actor in a musical (on Broadway) for "The Music Man" but was overlooked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when it came to the "Oscars". Why Preston wasn't even nominated as "Best Actor" is a mystery to me as this was the perfect role for him having performed it so long on Broadway. He was ideally suited in the part of Harold Hill and played it to perfection. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards (including one for best picture but was beaten by "Lawrence of Arabia").

A fabulous musical with entertaining storyline, noteworthy acting talent, and impeccably photographed in ravishing colour. "The Music Man" is an exceptional musical which can be viewed again and again with increasing enjoyment. 10/10. Clive Roberts.


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