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Confidence man Harold Hill arrives at staid River City intending to cheat the community with his standard scam of offering to equip and train a boy's marching band, then skip town with the money since he has no music skill anyway. Things go awry when he falls for a librarian he tries to divert from exposing him while he inadvertently enriches the town with a love of music. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
The Music Man is a musical film that was done right and which, if anything, improves on its well regarded source material. It ranks up there with the all-time great musicals of Hollywood's golden age (and such British marvels such as "Evergreen," which starred the incomparable Jessie Matthews.
This movie has it all - wonderful music, a fine script, good production values and a top cast. What makes it really special is Robert Preston's tour-de-force performance. His performance is, quite simply, one of the most memorably great performances in the history of film.
It's one of those benchmark performances that must make any other actor who takes the role shake in their boots, for as long as the memory of Robert Preston as Prof. Hill exists all others will be compared against him and, likely, found lacking.
The rest of the cast is superior. I especially love Pert Kelton as Marian the Librarian's mother. Kelton was the original Alice on the classic "The Honeymooners" (she played Alice's mother later on in the series) and she had incredible comic timing. She reminds me of a combination of Ethel Merman, with her brassy voice and larger-than-life presence, and the comic genius of the great Patsy Kelly. It's a shame Kelton was not put to better use in the movies. She was a natural.
And then there is Shirley Jones. Lovely to look at and wonderful to hear and a good enough actor to keep up with Preston.
Buddy Hackett usually annoyed me but he's perfect as Prof. Hill's sidekick and his "Shafoofie" (sp?) number is a blast.
Funniest scene - Grecian Urns.
A splendid movie and one of the last great musicals. They truly don't make 'em like that anymore.
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