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The Music Man (1962)

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0:56 | Trailer
Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader to con naive Iowa townsfolk.

Director:

Morton DaCosta

Writers:

Meredith Willson (based on: "The Music Man"), Franklin Lacey (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:
Robert Preston ... Harold Hill
Shirley Jones ... Marian Paroo
Buddy Hackett ... Marcellus Washburn
Hermione Gingold ... Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn
Paul Ford ... Mayor George Shinn
Pert Kelton ... Mrs. Paroo
The Buffalo Bills The Buffalo Bills ... School Board
Timmy Everett Timmy Everett ... Tommy Djilas
Susan Luckey ... Zaneeta Shinn
Ron Howard ... Winthrop Paroo (as Ronny Howard)
Harry Hickox ... Charlie Cowell
Charles Lane ... Constable Locke
Mary Wickes ... Mrs. Squires
Sara Seegar ... Maud Dunlop
Adnia Rice 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:

From the Broadway Play That Kept Playing Forever See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meredith Willson's the Music Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,240,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,953,846
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)| DTS | SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

River City was based on Meredith Willson's home town of Mason City, Iowa. The movie had its world premiere there. See more »

Goofs

During the 4th of July celebration Tommy Djilas puts a lighted firecracker behind Mrs. Shinn in full view of the audience, yet when the marshal asks who did it only one girl seems to know. See more »

Quotes

Harold Hill: Think, boys. Think!
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 »


Soundtracks

76 Trombones
(1957) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Performed by Robert Preston and Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Hill's the name, Professor Harold Hill--"
8 July 2001 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

It's early in the Twentieth Century, and there's trouble, my friends, in River City. Iowa, that is, in this delightful adaptation of Meredith Wilson's long running Broadway musical, `The Music Man,' directed by Morton DaCosta and starring Robert Preston as the fast-talking, fleet-footed traveling salesman, Harold Hill. `Professor Harold Hill,' as he calls himself this time around, is in the business of selling band instruments and uniforms, all with the guarantee that he will teach the youngsters of the parents who fork over the cash for his wares how to play. There's only one problem, and it's the fact that -- as one of his fellow competitors puts it-- `He don't know one note from another!' Alas, can it be the con is on?

When he jumps train in River City to escape the wrath of an angry gathering of his peers, whom he has `Given a black eye' to in the territory, thanks to his dubious business practices, he sets about plying his trade on the good folks of middle America. But right out of the chute, he runs into some problems: The Mayor of River City, George Shinn (Paul Ford) wants his credentials, the lovely young local piano teacher and librarian, Marion (Shirley Jones), has her doubts about him, and he lacks an `angle,' something to convince the local citizenry of the need for a `boys band' to get them out of the trouble they're in-- even if there isn't any until he `creates' it.

One of his problems is solved when he runs into Marcellus Washburn (Buddy Hackett), a former shill of his, who mentions the new billiard table that just arrived in town. And that's all the Professor needs; because now they've got trouble, `With a capital ‘T' that rhymes with ‘P' and that stands for ‘Pool'!' With that, he's up and running and he's got everything timed, right down to the `Last wave of the conductor's hand on the last train out of town.' Yee-gods and great honk! River City, Iowa, is about to have their very own boy's band.

Robert Preston gives the most memorable performance of his career as Hill, the silver-tongued salesman who can palaver past postulated proffered predicaments quicker'n an eggheaded egret's emblematized egression. It's just a matter of charm, style and timing, and Preston imbues Hill with ‘em all, and more. He brings a mesmerizing presence to the screen in this role that is absolutely perfect; Preston IS Harold Hill, and he makes him his own in such a way that it's impossible to visualize anyone else in the role. It certainly gave Preston a chance to demonstrate his amazing versatility, and he really made the most of it, carving out a niche for himself in cinematic history.

The beautiful and talented Shirley Jones is terrific, as well, as `Marion the Librarian,' the young woman with a heart of gold who becomes a formidable opponent for Hill as he tries to charm his way past her suspicions of him. Jones personifies everything that is pure, moral and good, without being prudish, and it makes Marion a truly endearing character. And, like Preston, her performance is so good it's impossible to picture anyone else in the part. She's simply magnificent.

The made-to-order supporting cast includes a very young Ron Howard, unforgettable as Winthrop Paroo, Marion's little brother, Hermione Gingold (Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn), Pert Kelton (Mrs. Paroo), Monique Vermont (Amaryllis), Susan Luckey (Zaneeta), Timmy Everett (Tommy Djilas), Harry Hickox (Charlie) and Mary Wickes (Mrs. Squires). Featuring a number of memorable songs, including `76 Trombones,' `Till There Was You,' `Gary, Indiana' and of course the catchy `Trouble In River City' number, `The Music Man' is an uplifting, totally transporting film that makes the world seem like a pretty good place after all. This is the `Good Old Days' the way we'd like to think they really were, and it's all courtesy of the magic of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.


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