This film is an adaptation of Meredith Wilson's hit 1957 Broadway musical of the same name. Set in 1912 Iowa, The Music Man features "Professor" Harold Hill (Robert Preston) as a likable scoundrel. He's a con artist who sells a community on the idea of forming a youth band, then sells them instruments and uniforms with a promise of teaching the young people how to play. Once the instruments and uniforms are delivered and he's collected payment, he's on the next train out of town. The fact is, he can't even read music, much less play any instruments. When he hits River City, Iowa, his scheme is working as usual, but there is an unforeseen snag -- Marion the librarian (Shirley Jones) steals his heart while he's stealing the townsfolks' money. Lots of laughs and good music delivered by a superb cast that includes Buddy Hacket, Paul Ford, Hermione Gingold and Ronnie Howard (before he became Opie of Mayberry).
Preston had played the role on Broadway but Jack Warner wanted Frank Sinatra for the film because he had more "star power." (What a miscasting that would have been.) Fortunately, Meredith Wilson insisted on Preston.
1962, Directed by Morton DaCosta
Watch a Musical Number from The Music Man
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