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The Music Man (1962)

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Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader to con naive Iowa townsfolk.

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(based on: "The Music Man"), (written in collaboration with) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Harold Hill
... Marian Paroo
... Marcellus Washburn
... Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn
... Mayor George Shinn
... Mrs. Paroo
The Buffalo Bills ... School Board
Timmy Everett ... Tommy Djilas
... Zaneeta Shinn
... Winthrop Paroo (as Ronny Howard)
... Charlie Cowell
... Constable Locke
... Mrs. Squires
... Maud Dunlop
Adnia Rice ... Alma Hix
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Storyline

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, and now travels from town to town pretending to be a professor of music - from Gary (Indiana) Conservatory of Music, class of '05 - who solves all the respective towns' youth problems by forming boys' marching bands. He takes money from the townsfolk to buy instruments, music, instructional materials, and uniforms for their sons. However, in reality he has no degree and knows nothing about music, and after all the materials arrive and are distributed, he absconds 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 must gain the trust of the local music teacher, usually by wooing her, regardless of her appearance. And if the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

We're getting ready to blow our horn like we've never blown it before... We've got Meredith Wilson's [The Music Man] See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 June 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Meredith Willson's The Music Man  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$14,953,846
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to a "Behind the Scenes" text with the movie in the Special Edition DVD, a number of stars turned down the role of Harold Hill. Among them, Dan Dailey, Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly and Phil Harris. But, after Morton DeCosta saw Robert Preston in a stage performance of "The Front Page," he knew he had found his lead for "The Music Man." See more »

Goofs

Interior scenes that feature the windows of the library front doors show frosted and etched glass designs sometimes, and at other times only a plain frosted glass. See more »

Quotes

[in song]
Mrs. Paroo: When a woman's got a husband, and you've got none, why should she take advice from you? Even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-falutin' Greeks.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Project Moonbase (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean
(1843) (uncredited)
Written by David T. Shaw
Played and Sung by students at school
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Lively Fantasy With Spirit and Fun; Preston and Jones Are Wonderful
3 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

This was a very difficult musical, I suspect, for Morton da Costa to direct. To his great credit, it never looks to me like a stage musical; taking his cue from a few famous examples of adaptations done on non-musical films, he has used the entire River City, Iowa, USA town as his stage, moving his mobile cameras wherever the action could best be served. But I suggest "The Music Man" is most important not for its entertainment qualities, which are considerable perhaps, but for its importance as a fantasy-for-the-sake-of-an-idea plot. Without it, we might never have had "Finian's Rainbow", "Chicago" or "City of Angels" for instance. Hollywood's studio tsars, despite their surrealized applying of pseudo-Christian endings to plots, were always very cautious about introducing any "fantasy" element into a film. (Note the lengthy apologia by David Selznick for "Portrait of Jenny", for instance.) In this story, Meredith Wilson used his personal knowledge of the people and ways-of-thinking of Iowa to ground a charming and genial fantasy about music-course salesman Harold Hill firmly within its milieu--one of a group of U.S minds in need of more imagination. The town's kindly folk, in fact, are shown as barely tolerant toward its librarian, who inherited the institution from its elderly compiler; they are suspicious of how Marian Paroo acquired the stock, and suspicious of her desire to teach their young minds to think for themselves. Enter Professor Hill--to change the lives of the almost charming but repressed early twentieth-century denizens forever. The basic plot is very simple to state. Professor Hill comes to towns, sells the town's citizens on the idea of starting a boy's band, and then skips out before they can ever perform. Here, he is brought to the point of leading his troops, trained by his "think system", in a concert; and the townsfolk are enthralled by hearing their sons play. This simple tale starred Robert Preston as the wily city-bred Hill, Shirley

Jones as the lovely but doubting 'Marian the Librarian', Pert Kelton as her mother, Buddy Hackett as his fine friend, Paul Ford and Hermione Gingold as the pretentious Mayor and his wife, plus many citizens of the town young and old, Harry Hickox as the envious rival who exposes Hill and the Buffalo Bills singing quartet. Well-known songs in this sprightly US romp include, "Till There Was You", "Somethin' Special", "Goodnight My Someone", "Marian the Librarian" and "Trouble", among others. In the film, the leads are award caliber, everyone else from Ronnie Howard to Susan Luckey to the quartet do very well. Marion Hargrove adapted Wilson's libretto and songs written by Wilson and Franklin Lacey. The cinematography by Robert Burks was vivid and stylishly old-fashioned. Paul Groesse did the art direction, with set decorations being supplied by George James Hopkins and his staff. The very elaborate costumes were the work of the brilliant designer Dorothy Jeakins. This is a sense of life film written by, about and for non-practicing Christians of the last century that was mounted somehow in 1962, as an homage to a simpler and more optimistic time. We can all be grateful it was; it is a great deal of fun and its ending is a happy part of the fantasy, which needs to be seen to be appreciated.


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