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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.

Director:

Morton DaCosta

Writers:

Meredith Willson (based on: "The Music Man"), Franklin Lacey (written in collaboration with) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,652 ( 4,425)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Preston ... Harold Hill
Shirley Jones ... Marian Paroo
Buddy Hackett ... Marcellus Washburn
Hermione Gingold ... Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn
Paul Ford ... Mayor George Shinn
Pert Kelton ... Mrs. Paroo
The Buffalo Bills The Buffalo Bills ... School Board
Timmy Everett Timmy Everett ... Tommy Djilas
Susan Luckey ... Zaneeta Shinn
Ron Howard ... Winthrop Paroo (as Ronny Howard)
Harry Hickox ... Charlie Cowell
Charles Lane ... Constable Locke
Mary Wickes ... Mrs. Squires
Sara Seegar ... Maud Dunlop
Adnia Rice 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meredith Willson's The Music Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,240,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,953,846
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)| DTS | SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has 17 of some 40 songs in all that Meredith Wilson wrote for the musical. Not all were used on the stage either. See more »

Goofs

Set in 1912, the song "Trouble" mentions both the beverage Bevo (first offered in 1916) and the magazine "Captain Billy's Whiz-Bang" (first published in 1919). "Whiz-Bang" is named for a type of artillery round in World War I (1914-1918)--the publisher was a veteran of that war. See more »

Quotes

Harold Hill: Oh this is a refined operation son, and I've got it timed down to the last wave of the brakeman's hand on the last train outta town.
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 »


Soundtracks

Sincere
(1957) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Performed by The Buffalo Bills
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

My favorite musical.
22 June 1999 | by Marc-105See all my reviews

One of the best musicals ever made. So much of the movie is perfect: plot, music, most of the cast. One weak spot is Susan Luckey as Zaneeta, though the part is not well written. Another is Monique Vermont as Amaryllis, worse than average for a child actor. But the 8-year-old Ronny Howard as Winthrop is excellent. He shines at the end when Harold Hill gets his foot caught in the door. Of course, Preston is perfect, as is Shirley Jones, who never looked better. (Someone said Heaven is where all the men are 33 and all the women are 30. Jones was in her late 20s.) Paul Ford, Hermione Gingold (overdoing it once), and Pert Kelton are all outstanding.

The director Morton DaCosta uses a gimmick here and in Auntie Mame that I don't care for. At the end of some scenes, all the lights go out except those on the principals. Sometimes that's more of a jolt than necessary, because we've gone from outdoors to inside the studio.

My favorite song is Sadder But Wiser Girl. The reference to Hester winning just one more A meant nothing until 11th grade when we read The Scarlet Letter. And after Preston sings that line, he looks guiltily over his shoulder at Amaryllis to see if she understands how naughty he's been.

My second favorite is Lida Rose/Will I Ever Tell You. Such a beautiful song. It pains me that the rocking chairs at either end of the screen are sometimes out of sync. It should have been done perfectly.

One brilliant touch concerns the Buffalo Bills. Early on, Mayor Shinn says "The members of the School Board will not present a patriotic tableau. Some disagreement about costumes, I suppose." At the time, the four are dressed quite differently. As their singing progresses, they start dressing more and more alike, until at the end they're dressed alike (I'm pretty sure).

Marion's epiphany during The Wells Fargo Wagon is quite sweet.

As is a lovely line from Goodnight, My Someone: But I must depend on a wish and a star/ As long as my heart doesn't know who you are. (Sigh.)


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