The Music Man (Special Edition)
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Let 76 trombones lead the big parade from the Great White Way into your home. It's the Music Man, the screen version of one of Broadway's all-time blockbusters, a skyburst of Americana as irresistible as 4th of July fireworks. Robert Preston and Shirley J Year: 1962
- Amazon Sales Rank: #22964 in DVD
- Brand: Warner Manufacturing
- Released on: 1999-02-23
- Rating: G (General Audience)
- Aspect ratio: 2.20:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Formats: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
- Original language: English
- Subtitled in: English, French
- Number of discs: 1
- Dimensions: .60" h x 5.38" w x 7.50" l, .25 pounds
- Running time: 181 minutes
The Music Man was one of the last great movie musicals from any studio, and it proved to be that rarest of events: a Broadway show that was measurably improved by its transition to the screen. Robert Preston made his musical debut--both live and on film--as "Professor" Harold Hill, the upbeat charlatan who promises to teach a small-town boys band by the "think system." But it's the part Preston was born to play and the one for which he will always be best remembered. Composer Meredith Willson based The Music Man on his own small-town Midwestern boyhood, circa 1912, a quasi-mythical place where the old-maid librarian looks and sings like Shirley Jones. The boy himself is an adorable Ron Howard, lisp-singing "Gary, Indiana." Willson's entire score, featuring a combination of what are now standards, such as "Goodnight My Someone" and "Till There Was You" and show-specific numbers ("Trouble," "76 Trombones"), is never less than infectious. This dazzling special edition is also as bright and sunny as any 4th of July in Iowa could ever hope to be. --Robert Windeler
The DVD includes Right Here in River City: The Making of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man", a 30-minute documentary hosted by Shirley Jones and featuring interviews with Buddy Hackett, Susan Luckey (who played Zaneeta Shinn), and choreographer Onna White. Trivia tidbits: Frank Sinatra, not Robert Preston, was the first choice for the title role, and Shirley Jones was pregnant during the film's shooting. --David Horiuchi
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
An absolutely endearing musical about America's heartland
By Phil Berardelli
Director Morton DaCosta spent most of his career acting and directing on the New York stage, doing only two other movies. This one – his version of the Broadway hit – is as charming a screen musical as you are likely to see. It’s great fun and a treat for all ages. Robert Preston stars as Professor Harold Hill, an alias the character uses as a traveling salesman and small-time hustler of band uniforms and instruments. Hill’s trade brings him to the little town of River City, Iowa, where he meets his comeuppance but also finds love and happiness. And as Hill, Preston reprises to perfection the Tony Award-winning role he played for several years on Broadway. But the real stars are composer Meredith Willson’s songs. They’re wonderful, including the sweet ballad “Goodnight, My Someone,” the gorgeous “Till There Was You,” and the grand finale “76 Trombones,” which gives the cast a rousing curtain call. Some of the songs are among the most unusual ever written, including “Rock Island,” in which traveling salesmen aboard a train mimic its rhythm en route from one town to the next; “Piano Lesson,” where the sung lyrics follow the notes of a keyboard exercise; the rapid-fire “Trouble;” the charming “Pick a Little, Talk a Little,” sung by a chorus of the town’s dowagers who flock together like barnyard hens; and the crisply choreographed “Marian the Librarian,” as subtle a portrayal of romance and sexual awakening as ever presented on the screen. In a sense, The Music Man might be the most musical musical ever, because even the dialogue, or much of it, is spoken with a rhythmic cadence – and delightfully so. There’s also the happiest of happy endings, one that is sure to leave you smiling and humming the theme song for days. Shirley Jones co-stars as “lovely Marian,” the aforementioned librarian, and the great supporting cast includes Buddy Hackett as a pixie-ish fellow huckster, Paul Ford as the dotty mayor of River City, and eight-year-old Ron (Ronny in the credits) Howard at the beginning of his acting career as Marian’s brother, Winthrop.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
Blu-ray Revives a Classic Musical
By H. Snyder
The Music Man, Meredith Willson's fond remembrance of his early 1900s childhood in Iowa, was one of the most successful transitions from a Broadway musical to a film version. While the movie opened up the scope with street scenes, it also retained many of the stage effects such as isolated singing of duets on a blackout stage, with singers highlighted by spotlights, and soundstage settings like the library and the picnic. The DVD was fine for the era of 26-inch televisions, but the color and fine detail suffered on large modern screens. A Blu-ray transcription was eagerly awaited.
No films benefit more from high-definition treatment than old musicals, given that their enjoyment depends heavily on quality sound reproduction, and the accurate presentation of a vibrant color scheme. The Blu-ray edition of The Music Man brings this film to life as it has not been seen since its original theatrical showings in 1962. Compared side-by-side with the DVD, the Blu-ray offers greatly improved video, with sharply resolved fine detail. The 5.1 surround sound does justice to Shirley Jones' beautiful voice in her role as Marian the Librarian, and to Robert Preston's rapid-fire flights of musical fantasy, as he weaves his con-man story of Professor Harold Hill, the Music Man.
Many of the finest character actors in Hollywood make up the population of River City, Iowa. Of special note are Paul Ford and Hermoine Gingold as Mayor and Mrs. Shinn, and Ron Howard as Marian the Librarian's younger brother Winthrop. This film is pure enjoyment from the opening credits all the way through to the triumphal march of the 76 trombones at the end. If I seem enthusiastic, it is because this is a perfect high-definition realization of a film that has been my favorite musical since childhood.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
By DIY Mom
Shapoopie. Yup, a song that says shapoopie always makes me feel silly and smile. If you feel down, put on the music man and get a big jolt of silly and roll your eyes as you tap your feet to the maniacal manipulation of Robert Preston. I do just love the trouble song where he beautifully convinces the town they need his band gear, full of every bad argument and deception and misdirection, he should have been a politician by trade!
Pick a little talk a little, grew up saying that, singing that... I grew up in a house of six women, gossip and nagging always make me think pick a little talk a little. At 31, this silly musical has really made a big impression on my life, having seen it over the years on TCM and later buying it and gifting it. I don't think Robert Preston is attractive, I think he does a heck of a job though and his smile is plain creepy.
I am grateful this film was made and I will never tire of watching it, singing it and attempting to dance along.