I recently obtained a DVD of this long forgotten television production. It was a part of Armstrongs Circle Theater series of four Broadway Musicals to television adaptations, the others being Brigadoon, Kismet,and Kiss Me Kate.
At 105 minutes it did need some major abridgments. The Carousel waltz prologue is shortened to about 4 minutes, Louise"s ballet is shorted somewhat, and the songs Germaniums In The Window, and Stonecutters Cut It On Stone are cut. Musically all the rest is intact, with the lengthy Bench Scene (If I Loved You) performed mostly as written.
Robert Goulet performs well, though he does indulge in some brassy Broadway singing. Mary Grover sings beautifully as Julie Jorden, but her performance lacks an emotional center. The rest of the cast all sing well and the performances in general are good.
Hapilly, there is no flashback as in the film, so the impact of the original play's tragic turn are not diminished.
They have recently done remakes of Oklahoma. and South Pacific (as well as the horrible animated The King and I for theatrical release) for television with varied results. Certainly this Rogers and Hammmerstsein masterpiece could use a definitive filmed production, that honors both the beauty and darkness of the work. After all, the hero is a wife beater and thief, and the brilliance of the work is watching him grow into a caring soul.
This was Richard Rodger's favorite of all his shows, as well as his favorite score. It veers very close to opera at time, which makes it all the more unique among musical shows of the time.
This television production is a nicely done companion piece to the 1956 film, and should be made available, as well as the other productions in the Armstrong Circle series, on DVD. But the definitive Carousel has yet to be committed to film or tape. It would sad if Carousel was only to be seen by a few on stage, such as the Cameron Mackintosh's Royal National Theatre brilliant stage revival a decade or more ago. It is a timeless classic that needs it's dark brilliance committed to film without over-sentimentality for the ages.
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