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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:

The story of that man and his 76 trombones, and the wonderful, wonderful tune he played on every heart in town! 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

Budget:

$4,240,000 (estimated)

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

When Harold Hill and Marian Paroo are standing on the footbridge, Marcellus Washburn appears in the nearby bushes, trying to get Harold's attention. Harold tells Marian, "Excuse me. I've been expecting a telegram from Rudy Friml. This may be it." Rudolf Friml was a Czech-born composer of operettas, whose best-known works were The Firefly (1937), _Rose Marie (1935)_, and _The Vagabond King (1929)_. See more »

Goofs

When the film opens, a train is show leaving Brighton, IL. The conductor announces this as the last stop in Illinois and the next stop is River City, IA. Brighton is in southern Illinois - farther South than Iowa - on a rail line running to St. Louis, MO. See more »

Quotes

Harold Hill: I always think there's a band, kid.
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 Pinky and the Brain: My Feldmans, My Friends (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodnight My Someone
(1957) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Performed by Robert Preston and Shirley Jones
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

But he doesn't know the territory!
28 February 2001 | by See all my reviews

It seems redundant to add my comments when so many people have already done justice to it, but I'm still in the glow of having finally seen this movie as God intended--in Cinemascope! When I saw it long ago on TV, I was struck by how unusual it was but kept noticing certain distracting bits around the edge of the screen--it was the fade-outs and split-screen effects I was missing! Watch this film in letterboxed form ONLY please--it's visually, musically and dramatically innovative.

Its splendors have already been mentioned. I add two minor treats: 1) appearance of lanky character actor Hank Worden (of "The Searchers" and "Twin Peaks") as the undertaker, and 2) script so full of bizarre slang and expressions, it's as if P.G. Wodehouse or Damon Runyan were writing turn-of-the-century Americana.

My two carps are minor: I would have told Morton Da Costa to lose all the heavy-handed cutaways to the train wheels ("Rock Island") and chickens ("Pick a Little, Talk a Little") because we already got the point, and Ron Howard's cute lithp is a turn-off for me, but I never like cute kids. However, he's good at the climax, and when Shirley Jones hears him singing "Wells Fargo Wagon" and tears the evidence against Harold Hill out of the book (a librarian!), it's one of the most convincing turnarounds in musical history. Especially because she's still not fooled by the hucksterism, she just perceives it differently in comparison with the easily manipulated small-towners around her. She realizes that he's selling hope and joy despite himself ("There's always a band.") And when she just thanks him for his gift ("Till There Was You") and doesn't mind if he flees, of course he realizes he would be insane to leave. Another heartfelt turnaround.

One of the most graceful musicals, marked by blurring of the line between straight dialogue and songs--as the line "there was love all around but I never heard it singing" implies, you can hear the singing if you listen for it in the world. It's in the trains and the chickens and the bands you hear in your head and the pride in your children playing that clarinet by the "think system." Moving.


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