Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to find a partner for "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, convincing his niece, his niece's intended, and his two clerks to travel to New York City along the way.
An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.
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
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 »
In the last scene in the school room (before the parade and closing credits), there are two U.S. flags drawn in chalk on the blackboard. Instead of having 7 red stripes, one has 8 and the other has 9. See more »
The letters in the film's title, in producer-director Morton da Costa'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 »
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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