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Carousel (1956)

Approved | | Drama, Fantasy, Musical | 16 February 1956 (USA)
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1:24 | Clip

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Fifteen years after his death, a carousel barker is granted permission to return to Earth for one day to make amends to his widow and their daughter.

Director:

Henry King

Writers:

Phoebe Ephron (screenplay), Henry Ephron (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gordon MacRae ... Billy Bigelow
Shirley Jones ... Julie Jordan
Cameron Mitchell ... Jigger Craigin
Barbara Ruick ... Carrie Pipperidge
Claramae Turner Claramae Turner ... Cousin Nettie
Robert Rounseville Robert Rounseville ... Mr. Enoch Snow
Gene Lockhart ... Starkeeper / Dr. Selden
Audrey Christie ... Mrs. Mullin
Susan Luckey ... Louise Bigelow
William LeMassena William LeMassena ... Heavenly Friend (as William Le Massena)
John Dehner ... Mr. Bascombe
Jacques d'Amboise Jacques d'Amboise ... Louise's 'Starlight Carnival' Dancing Partner (as Jacques D'Amboise)
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Storyline

Billy Bigelow has been dead for fifteen years, and now outside the pearly gates, he long waived his right to go back to Earth for a day. But he has heard that there is a problem with his family, namely his wife Julie Bigelow née Jordan and the child he never met, that problem with which he would now like to head back to Earth to assist in rectifying. Before he is allowed back to Earth, he has to get the OK from the gatekeeper, to who he tells his story... Immediately attracted to each other, he and Julie met when he worked as a carousel barker. Both stated to the other that they did not believe in love or marriage, but they did get married. Because the shrewish carousel owner, Mrs. Mullin, was attracted to Billy herself, and since she believed he was only of use as a barker if he was single to attract the young women to the carousel, she fired him. With no other job skills and unwilling to take just any job, Billy did not provide for Julie but rather lived off Julie's Aunt Nettie. But... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

20th Century-Fox proudly presents the first motion picture in the new CINEMASCOPE 55 See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel See more »

Filming Locations:

Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (Stereo)| Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (Stereo)

Color:

Color (CinemaScope 55)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original stage production opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York on April 19, 1945, and ran for 890 performances. See more »

Goofs

During Susan Luckey's ballet with Jacques d'Amboise, she finally throws herself onto a cartwheel. The studio 'beach' is a hard grayish surface that transforms into very well-trodden yellow sand on a real beach. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Heavenly Friend: Bigelow...
Billy Bigelow: [impatiently] Well, what'd I do now?
Heavenly Friend: Nothing. I just thought you'd wanna know - there's trouble.
Billy Bigelow: Huh! Thought you said I didn't do nothin'.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A star hurtles downward and explodes in mid-air; out of this appears the credit "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel". The other credits all appear in a straightforward fashion. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the film's first two telecasts on ABC-TV in 1966, Mrs. Mullin's line "I don't run my business for a lot of sluts!" followed by Carrie's retort "Who you callin' a slut? Slut yourself!" was edited out. The line was kept on all local station telecasts of the film, and on all video releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

The Carousel Waltz
(1945) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Performed by 20th Century-Fox Studio Orchestra
Conducted by Alfred Newman
Played over the opening credits and during the scene on the carousel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

This version does not do justice to a great musical
22 June 1999 | by LBX DudeSee all my reviews

I have had the relatively rare privilege of performing "Carousel" on stage, uncut, and with a full orchestra. The original "Carousel" that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote for the stage is practically an opera, employing extended musical scenes that cover great stretches of plot and character by alternating music and dialogue. When one sees the "Carousel" on stage (with good voices and the original orchestrations), one begins to understand why this is considered one of the greatest musicals ever written.

"Carousel" on film is not nearly as overwhelming. The story is still there, as are the songs, for the most part. But they are just songs in the movie, scenes distilled to the bare bones of the melody on which the original sequence was based. You don't get the feeling, after hearing them sung, that you have learned anything new about the characters (excepting, of course, Billy Bigelow's "Soliloquy" which is left entirely intact).

For example, the "If I Loved You" bench scene between Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones) and Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae) lasts almost fifteen minutes once the music starts. What the characters don't tell us about themselves, the music does, throwing melodies left and right until it finally culminates in the release of the famous love song. The scene has built up to this moment until it becomes the only way that Julie can tell Billy that she loves him. In the movie, however, it is all talk until Julie starts singing "If I Loved You". The song seems to come much more out of left field and does not seem nearly as satisfying. Billy repeats the song and the scene ends. As a result, their falling in love with each other doesn't make much sense because the scene really hasn't built up to it.

Several songs which delineate the supporting characters are either severely truncated (such as the musical/character sequence between Carrie Pipperidge (Barbara Ruick) and Enoch Snow (Robert Rounseville)) or cut entirely (such as "Blow High, Blow Low" which could have been a choreographer's dream). As for the choreography itself, surely "June is Bustin' Out All Over" could have been staged with a little more imagination instead of confining itself to the roof and deck of Nettie Fowler's spa. And it does feel confined. This is a song about abandoning the human spirit to the glories of the summer season, a feeling that covers much more territory than just a dining patio.

I do like the casting in the film, although I believe that they were badly underdirected. Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones seem a little lost here. Their talent is not in question as evidenced by their stellar performances in the movie version of "Oklahoma!". Clearly this movie, which had the potential to be a cinema classic, was helmed by someone who didn't understand the genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein. In other words, don't try to fix what ain't broke.


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