6.6/10
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93 user 24 critic

Carousel (1956)

Approved | | Drama, Fantasy, Musical | 16 February 1956 (USA)
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1:23 | Clip
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 »
Reviews
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:

CinemaScope 55! It brings you - four times more photographic detail - Greater depth - Increased sharpness - Heightened audience participation! It makes every seat the perfect seat! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was not successful at the box office despite the positive reviews, but the soundtrack album became a national best seller. See more »

Goofs

Billy uses the term "midway" while describing the scene around the carousel. The first use of "midway" to describe the area of a circus or carnival containing sideshows and other amusements was during the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. It referred "Midway Plaisance", a narrow strip of land connecting Jackson and Washington Parks which contained tawdry exhibits. 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'.
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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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Mantis (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Loved You
(1945) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Performed by Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae
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User Reviews

It's a Wonderful Death
1 January 2004 | by schappe1See all my reviews

In recent years it has become commonplace to site Frank Kapra's `It's a Wonderful Life' as one of the greatest films ever. It has become a Christmas tradition. I feel that film is overrated. The problem I have with it is that it stacks the deck in trying to convince us of the value of human life. George Bailey is a successful banker- not exactly rich but successful enough that he contributed a lot of material things to people's lives, including a housing development named after him. He also saved his brother's life so his brother could save the men on that ship, etc. etc. The message is that you are of value if you have done the sort of things they build statues of people to honor. On top of that, without George, everybody in this town is nothing. They are all drunks or crooks or prostitutes. They have no capabilities of their own. They are all dependent on George Bailey.

I much prefer Carousel, whose hero is a bum. If you were to ask nearly everybody in town- a town that has done just fine without him, as a matter of fact, what Billy Bigelow contributed to their lives, they would say nothing- if they remembered him at all. The only people who would have anything good to say about him are those that he loved and who loved him. And that is the bottom line. If a person can be redeemed by his ability to love and to inspire love in others, we all have a chance. If you have to have a bank and town named after you, the bar is too high for most of us.

As a musical, this is as good as it gets. `If I loved you' is rivaled only by `Some Enchanted Evening' as a love song and it means more as it's revealing of the character of this crude man who can't express what's in his soul and this shy girl who wants only to love and be loved. `Soliloquy' is the dramatic highlight in the history of the musical as Billy works out all his hopes and dreams in his mind and vows to do anything he can to make his daughter's life special. By over reaching his bounds, he does the opposite. `What's the Use of Wondering' expresses the doubts anyone entering a relationship has and is doubly moving as it's sung by Julie, for whom we know the song will have special relevance. `When You Walk Through a Storm' offers hope to us all. Those old guys at graduations are really worth listening to.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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
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