11 July 2016

The Music Man

The Music Man 1962
  • Director: Morton DaCosta
  • Based on the book: no
  • Cast: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, Ronny Howard
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Robert Preston – Victor/Victoria
    • Shirley Jones – Elmer Gantry, Carousel, Oklahoma, TV series
    • Buddy Hackett – Laugh-In, It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World
    • Hermione Gingold – Gigi, Around the World in Eighty Days
    • Paul Ford – The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming!, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Tea House of the August Moon
    • Ronny Howard – American Graffiti
  • Why? an old favourite
  • Seen: Several times. Now: 8 July 2016      

       What is it about these old musicals that I can’t resist? Well, the lyrics and the music? Obviously. In this one the line, ‘And if he occasionally ponders what makes Beethoven and Shakespeare great, him I could love till I die,’ has come back to me since I myself have fallen in love with both Beethoven and Shakespeare.
       And it’s about librarians and music. What more could one ask? Not to mention tiny little Ronny Howard.
       I’ve said it before about other films and I’ll say it about this one: I love this movie. Besides my Swedish ancestors settled in Iowa and one of my favourite in-laws, Emilie, lives in Iowa.
       I’m seriously allergic to Americana but this makes affectionate fun of small towns and it’s spot on. I grew up in one and I hated it, fleeing as soon as I could.  But I loved our own Marian the Librarian. Her name was actually Marie. Close.
       I love librarians. I love this movie. Right. I already said that. Sorry.
       The story. Professor Harold Hill is a fraud. He comes to River City, Iowa, ca 1910 to con the people into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band on the promise that the boys will learn to play using the Think System (actually not totally absurd; many people learn to play by ear). No-nonsense librarian Marian reveals his fraudulence. They fall in love. The boys learn to play. Tears come to my eyes (as always) as ‘Seventy-Six Trombones’ starts up.
       So in spite of the silly parts, the pathetic stereotypes and the sentimental sweetness:

6 * of 7

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