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 firewo... more »rks. Robert Preston and Shirley J Year: 1962« less
Karen R. from SALISBURY, MD Reviewed on 7/9/2010...
Great movie--Robert Preston is the best ever!
Davida E. from HEALDSBURG, CA Reviewed on 12/26/2009...
What a great family movie! Super clean and entertaining too. This earlier version is better than the new one.
Ahhhhh, widescreen! And lots of additional goodies!
Brian Jay Jones | Damascus, MD USA | 04/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Looking for the musical that beat WEST SIDE STORY for the Tony Award? You've found it here, in Meredith Willson's THE MUSIC MAN -- and its appearance on DVD, in widescreen format and with all the bells and whistles, is long overdue.Pop the disc in, and you'll immediately be taken to the "Right Here In River City" documentary (you'll have to press the MENU button on your DVD controls to get to the main menu so you can actually view the movie -- why the disc goes immediately to the documentary is rather odd). Hosted by Shirley Jones, who still looks great, the top-notch, too-short documentary is crammed with lots of good stories and bits of trivia, in the words of several of Those Who Were There. You'll find out, for instance, which segments were actually filmed first, how amazed Susan Luckey was at Robert Preston's ability to lip-synch "Trouble" during filming, and why Shirley Jones wore so many frills and flowers on her dress in the scene at the footbridge. As for the film itself -- the print is beautiful, and as someone who had only experienced the film in pan-and-scan format, it is a delight to finally see entire dance sequences without the cropping. And you'll finally be able to see all four members of The Buffalo Bills barber shop quartet (the poor fellow singing bass could never be seen in TV-formatted versions).There are other, smaller moments that have always cried our for the letterbox format, and if you watch both versions closely, you'll notice the real advantages in seeing the entire scene as it was shot. For example, one particularly disorienting scene in pan-and-scan format is the "Pick A Little, Talk A Little/Goodnight, Ladies" sequence, when Professor Hill is speaking with Mrs. Shinn and the town ladies about Old Miser Madison, and dismebodied voices drift in from off camera. At one point, Mrs. Shinn says, "Miser," and an off-camera voice says, "Madison," causing Mrs. Shinn to grimace. In pan-and-scan, it looks like a mistake; in widescreen format, the speaker is finally visible to Mrs. Shinn's right, bringing the scene together in a logical fashion. Sounds like a trivial moment, I know, but that scene in pan-and-scan has grated me for years!The DVD also contains a theatrical trailer, but it's not the trailer for the original 1962 release, but for the re-release a number of years later. It's still an interesting curiosity, featuring a reworked version of the "76 Trombones" sequence with Preston signing new lyrics about the film.If there's any shortcoming in the disc, it lies in the sound quality. You'll have to crank the volume up a bit to hear everything properly, but beware -- the moment you hit the MENU button, you'll be blasted by and ear-splitting version of "76 Trombones" on the menu screen. Ouch. Hit MUTE right before you touch MENU. You'll thank me later.It's a worn out cliche, but they really DON'T make musicals like this any more. And if your only experience with THE MUSIC MAN has been with the pan-and-scan format, do yourself a favor and pick up either the DVD or the letterboxed VHS format. You really WILL realize what you've been missing."
Use the think system! It really works!
Scott Grau | Iowa City, Iowa United States | 05/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this movie. As silly as it is -- a goofy plot, absurd over-the-top characters, the wacky "think system" -- it is just a whole lot of fun. Robert Preston sparkles as the fly-by-night con artist/salesman who just happens this time to get his foot caught in the door, and who better to catch that foot than Shirley Jones, who is as beautiful and talented a leading lady as has ever graced a big screen musical. Ron Howard is as funny as a kid can be in the movies, and the music will stay with you long after the movie is over. The film also has a great cast of supporting character actors and comedians, not to mention the fabulous Buffalo Bills. I love the anvil salesman character (THAT'S a great line of merchandise for a traveling salesman!), and my favorite song has to be the pool hall song, "There's trouble in River City." The movie, funny as it is, also has its touching moments, especially when Professor Harold Hill, standing on the footbridge, confronts the gap between his dreams and his life for the first time, and really realizes he is in love with the beautiful librarian. For pure fun and entertainment, it's hard to find a better movie than this lively but affectionate kidding of the Hawkeye State, and hard to find a more fun couple than the engaging Robert Preston and the lovely Shirley Jones."
Fun. Right Here in River City
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 03/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Professor Harold Hill makes his living conning small town residence by telling them he's going to start a boys' band then leaving with their money before the promised direction begins. Taking an unintended challenge, he gets off in River City, Iowa. While the locals at first appear cold, his charm soon changes their minds. Or almost all of them. Marion, the local librarian and piano teacher, is convenienced that the professor isn't all he claims to be. Meanwhile, Harold has set his sites on wooing the spinster librarian. Will he win her heart or hurt her? Will the townspeople find out the truth, or will this encounter change everyone for the better?As much as I love musicals, I had missed this one until the recent ABC movie version. I fell immediately under its charming spell. The story is fun and the music is fantastic. After enjoying the remake so much, I was looking forward to watching the original, and it didn't disappointment. The cast, lead by Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, is strong. The chorography makes me want to join in the fun (always a must for a musical), and the story fleshes out a couple minor points I had missed in the remake. And I simply must praise the work of the Buffalo Bills as the school board. They've inspired me in my search for good barbershop quartet music.The DVD preserves the movie well. The widescreen picture is sharp and clear and the sound is just fine. Watching the trailer for the reissue shows just how much work has gone into the restoration. Shirley Jones provides an interesting intro and serves as host for the behind the scenes special.This is a classic musical that everyone will enjoy. It tells a fun story with wonderful music and evokes a simpler time and place. If you haven't watched yet, pick up a copy and enjoy tonight."
A family musical even a curmudgeon can love
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I have to be honest here: I don't like "family entertainment." If I go to Blockbuster, I usually avoid the Family section entirely for something a bit edgier or darker. And although I love Fred Astaire and most Gene Kelly, I am not at all a fan of Hollywood musicals from the fifties and early sixties, when they were becoming more "epic" as the movies tried to provide something that television could not. Nonetheless, I find THE MUSIC MAN to be one of the most thoroughly enjoyable pieces of light entertainment ever. Primarily there are two reasons for this. First, there is the great score, the most famous tune notwithstanding (maybe I have heard it too often, but "Seventy-Six Trombones" really leaves me cold). But nearly every other song is utterly delightful, especially the magnificent "Till There Was You." Am I a dork if I confess that I love the barbershop quartet numbers (I was second tenor in a high school quartet)? But as fine as the score is, take away Robert Preston and you have at best an average, forgettable film. Preston today is remembered almost exclusively for his role as Professor Harold Hill, which is a reflection not so much on his prior career as on the extraordinary job he did in performing this role. There is a similar parallel with Rex Harrison, who despite a long career on stage and screen, is primarily remembered for MY FAIR LADY. Interestingly, in both MY FAIR LADY and THE MUSIC MAN, other actors were considered for the lead role, although both Preston and Harrison created the roles for Broadway. Interestingly, Cary Grant was considered for both films (though Grant very famously responded that he wouldn't star in the film and if Preston weren't cast in the lead, he wouldn't even go see it), though Warners first choice was Frank Sinatra. Luckily, things worked out, and Robert Preston "owns" the role of Professor Harold Hill like few actors own a role.The film is also helped by a rich supporting cast. Shirley Jones was her usual excellent self in the film (though it is well known that she was pregnant during the shooting), and the film provided the late Buddy Hackett with one of his finest screen roles. Paul Ford, best known as the colonel on the Phil Silvers Show, turns in a nice screen performance as the Mayor. Hermione Gingold, who spent most of her career on stage and had as a result a surprisingly small screen career, excels as the mayor's wife and the leading light for culture in the town.But mainly, this is a great, great vehicle for a great leading man who has utterly nailed a great role. If Frank Sinatra or Cary Grant had been enticed to play the lead, perhaps we would still be watching this film today, but for some reason I am sceptical. But I am certain that this is one family film that all but the hardest of hearts will enjoy."
Blu-Ray - so good and yet so bad...
Rick | East Hanover, NJ USA | 02/04/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous DVD releases of The Music Man were basically OK in terms of sound, color, brightness, and contrast. But MY! Did they ever mess up the picture with edge enhancement! I don't mean just a little ghost line to the right, but also to the left. At times, the "enhancement" made it difficult to make out facial details on a large-screen TV. My guess is that it was transferred using a 19" monitor from a distance of a couple of feet, where the enhancement wouldn't be as noticeable.
Fortunately all this video gunk is corrected in teh Blu-Ray addition. The colors are bright, the sound noticeable better, and the movie just comes more alive in blu-ray.
But - there always seems to be a flip side. In this case it's noticeable in the opening train scene, where blue edges to people and slightly off masking at the windows clearly shows that it was shot against a blue screen. But, what you see is what people saw in the theaters when it was released. If the artifacts didn't bother moviegoers at the time, they shouldn't really bother us in the present. Little glitches like this are just part of the technology available at the time, and shouldn't be used to rate the movie...
...and I'm really not, just pointing out that seeing more can mean seeing more of the bad, as well as more than the good.
Aside from little things like this which caught my eye - and don't really bother me - I hope you'll consider picking up the best release of an old favorite. Improved sound, improved picture - what more could you want. I doubt it'll look better unless George Lucas gets involved in cleaning up the blue-screen artifacts. And who knows what he'd feel like adding!
Fun. A couple of hours well spent. And for me, a new appreciation of Hermione Gingold as Ms. Eulalie Shinn. Her looks and voice in "Pick a little" really steal the show, as she does in other scenes she's in.
It's hard not to enjoy such a high-spirited musical as this, end even harder not to like it in Blu-Ray. A real gem."