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 fireworks. Robert Preston and Shirley J Year: 1962
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The Music Man was one of the last great movie musicals from any studio, and it proved to be that rarest of events: a Broadway show that was measurably improved by its transition to the screen. Robert Preston made his musical debut--both live and on film--as "Professor" Harold Hill, the upbeat charlatan who promises to teach a small-town boys band by the "think system." But it's the part Preston was born to play and the one for which he will always be best remembered. Composer Meredith Willson based The Music Man on his own small-town Midwestern boyhood, circa 1912, a quasi-mythical place where the old-maid librarian looks and sings like Shirley Jones. The boy himself is an adorable Ron Howard, lisp-singing "Gary, Indiana." Willson's entire score, featuring a combination of what are now standards, such as "Goodnight My Someone" and "Till There Was You" and show-specific numbers ("Trouble," "76 Trombones"), is never less than infectious. This dazzling special edition is also as bright and sunny as any 4th of July in Iowa could ever hope to be. --Robert WindelerAdditional Features:
The DVD includes Right Here in River City: The Making of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man", a 30-minute documentary hosted by Shirley Jones and featuring interviews with Buddy Hackett, Susan Luckey (who played Zaneeta Shinn), and choreographer Onna White. Trivia tidbits: Frank Sinatra, not Robert Preston, was the first choice for the title role, and Shirley Jones was pregnant during the film's shooting. --David Horiuchi
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