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
Hill uses a training melody which the boys render as "la-dee-dah-dee-dah-dee-dah-dee-dah, la-dee-dah, la-dee-dah." The song is Ludwig van Beethoven's Minuet in G. See more »
During the "Shipoopi" number, Marcellus Washburn gives his hat to the little boy twice. See more »
No, please, not tonight. Maybe tomorrow.
Oh, my dear little librarian. You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you've collected nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering.
Oh, so would I.
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The letters in the film's title, in producer-director Morton DaCosta's name, and in Meredith Willson's name (the first time it appears onscreen) are formed by a miniaturized, stop-motion animated marching band, who also form themselves into musical instruments on which the rest of the opening credits appear. See more »
The Music Man is a musical film that was done right and which, if anything, improves on its well regarded source material. It ranks up there with the all-time great musicals of Hollywood's golden age (and such British marvels such as "Evergreen," which starred the incomparable Jessie Matthews.
This movie has it all - wonderful music, a fine script, good production values and a top cast. What makes it really special is Robert Preston's tour-de-force performance. His performance is, quite simply, one of the most memorably great performances in the history of film.
It's one of those benchmark performances that must make any other actor who takes the role shake in their boots, for as long as the memory of Robert Preston as Prof. Hill exists all others will be compared against him and, likely, found lacking.
The rest of the cast is superior. I especially love Pert Kelton as Marian the Librarian's mother. Kelton was the original Alice on the classic "The Honeymooners" (she played Alice's mother later on in the series) and she had incredible comic timing. She reminds me of a combination of Ethel Merman, with her brassy voice and larger-than-life presence, and the comic genius of the great Patsy Kelly. It's a shame Kelton was not put to better use in the movies. She was a natural.
And then there is Shirley Jones. Lovely to look at and wonderful to hear and a good enough actor to keep up with Preston.
Buddy Hackett usually annoyed me but he's perfect as Prof. Hill's sidekick and his "Shafoofie" (sp?) number is a blast.
Funniest scene - Grecian Urns.
A splendid movie and one of the last great musicals. They truly don't make 'em like that anymore.
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