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
While appearing in a nightclub act with his wife at Lake Tahoe, Gordon MacRae received an emergency phone call to replace Frank Sinatra as Billy Bigelow, after Sinatra walked out before filming began. Originally, MacRae was told that Sinatra left when he discovered that every scene was to be filmed twice, once for regular CinemaScope and once for CinemaScope 55. Within three days MacRae, who was already familiar with the Broadway show and had wanted to play the role, reported to the set. Shirley Jones later revealed that Sinatra really left because he got a call from Ava Gardner. She was in Africa, shooting Mogambo (1953) with Clark Gable. She'd said something to the effect that if Sinatra didn't fly to her immediately, she was going to have an affair with Gable. Fortunately, the producers discovered a way to shoot in CinemaScope 55 and then convert it to regular CinemaScope without filming the movie twice. See more »
The film is set in Maine, but kelp beds are plainly visible offshore during the Soliloquy scene. Kelp only grows on the west coast. See more »
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 »
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 calling a slut? Slut yourself!" and Julie says "Yeah, slut yourself!" was edited out. The line was kept on all local station telecasts of the film, and on all video releases. See more »
Shirley Jones is very believable as Julie Jordan, the lovely and ever patient mill worker who falls for a carousel barker, Billy Bigelow. With such heart felt ballads as "If I Loved You" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" it definitely ranks as one of the essential Hollywood musicals. Carousel is just about the only musical made during this period that deals with darker themes (i.e. date rape, domestic abuse). One could say that it even argues in favor of birth control. Carousel will never look dated because its themes are timeless and apply to the human spirit no matter what year it is. Everybody can identify with Billy to a degree and everybody can not help but feel a deep respect for Julie by the end of her personal journey. Fans of musical drama will treasure Carousel for years to come.
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