Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to find a partner for "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, convincing his niece, his niece's intended, and his two clerks to travel to New York City along the way.
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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
In the original Broadway cast recording, there was a verse in the song "Rock Island" that goes, "Why it's the Uneeda biscuit made the trouble, Uneeda, Uneeda, put the crackers in a package, in a package, the Uneeda biscuit in an airtight sanitary package, made the cracker barrel obsolete!". This verse was omitted from the film version of the song. The Uneeda Biscuit was a revolutionary cracker that promised to be airier, flakier, and crisper than most other crackers. The cracker was kept fresh in a brand new concept of resealable packaging. Uneeda Biscuit was developed by the National Biscuit Company, nowadays known as Nabisco. See more »
When Harold Hill tells Mrs. Paroo about the "great cornet players ... O'Clarke, O'Mendez, and O'Klein", he's referencing the (obviously non-Irish) real life trumpet/cornet virtuosos Herbert Clarke, Rafael Mendez and Mannie Klein. Mendez and Klein would have been around six and four years old at the time of the story. See more »
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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