The Music Man (1962, Morton DaCosta)

The last movie Katy and I watched together in our old apartment.

A small-town nostalgic escapist flick, the inspiration for the monorail episode of The Simpsons, which we watched afterwards. Unfortunately they’re not all that similar. For one, Music Man is two and a half hours long. Writers of musicals seem to write full-length movies and then add the music, making all their movies two and a half hours long. It’s a shame that there are so many non-musical movies that seem way too long at 90-120 minutes. When that happens, the producers should really chop out the boring bits and add some musical numbers, sort of the opposite of what happened to “I’ll Do Anything”. Ah, in a perfect world.

Sham salesman Harold Hill (Robert Preston) moves in on a small town and convinces them that all their problems are due to not having a boy’s band. Coincidentally, Hill can solve these problems, because it just so happens that he is a salesman of musical instruments and uniforms, and he soon signs everyone up, with the help of his local ex-partner Buddy Hacket. But Hill falls for Marian The Librarian and decides to stay in town instead of running off with the money. Songs that I can still remember include “76 Trombones”, “Gary Indiana”, “Wells Fargo Wagon” and “Till There Was You”.

Really quite a good movie, one of the better musicals we’ve watched. The music is written cohesively, all flows very nicely with the themes from one song showing up in the next song and in the incidental music.

Music Man Robert Preston was a 40’s actor who popped back up in ’62 for this and “How The West Was Won” then disappeared again. Shirley Jones was in John Ford’s “Two Rode Together” the year before. Buddy Hacket voiced the seagull in the Little Mermaid movies, and little Ronny Howard grew up to direct “Ed TV”, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The DaVinci Code”.

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