An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.
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.
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
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 BEST adaptation of a Broadway musical to film.
I will go on record to say that THE MUSIC MAN is the BEST film adaptation of a Broadway musical. Unlike MY FAIR LADY (another fine acievement) which was translated almost verbatim from the stage libretto to film, THE MUSIC MAN is NOT that great a musical comedy on stage. In fact, it's pretty mediocre. Comparing the original stage libretto to what Marion Hargrove did with her incredible screenplay, one counts over forty additional scenes or pieces of dialogue that open out and/ or add character to the principals. Her screenplay is such a VAST improvement over the original it is truly what makes the film so special. A number of reviewers on this site loathe the film, but I imagine they would loathe any musical. This is top rate acting, singing, dancing, with fast paced direction and a constantly moving camera for the dance numbers - the absolute best mise en scene I've ever experienced in a filmed musical comedy. (Mind you, musical play adaptations are a different category - I'm talking musical comedies here). Get the letterboxed version if you can as this was beautifully composed for wide screen. I remember seeing it in the balmy summer days of one of our nation's last years of innocence. Everyone was seeing it, talking about it, theaters extending their runs for a number of months to early autumn. It brought together all the nostalgia of what we best remember of another golden era (just before WW I) when America was still basically an agrarian economy. A real gem, this one.
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