Movie Review: The Music Man (1960)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1962 musical starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.

Synopsis: A traveling salesman/con man arrives in a small Iowa town in 1912 and attempts to sell the residents musical instruments and uniforms on the pretense he will help them form a band. He quickly gains the town's trust, except for the local librarian and piano teacher, who is convinced he is lying to her and everyone else.

Not One of Our Favorites

My oldest daughter and I had an opportunity to watch another movie together yesterday evening and, even though it was tempting to watch another monster film with her, I decided, instead, to watch a musical. And, since I hadn't seen "The Music Man" before, I figured it would be a good first time experience for both of us. Unfortunately, while the movie definitely wasn't the worst film we've watched together, this wasn't one of our favorites either.

As far as the overall plot goes, I honestly was a little surprised by the movie. I liked the idea of the main star (Preston) being a con man because it did make the overall story less predictable. He was a likable guy doing a somewhat rotten thing. This meant the movie could have ended in a variety of ways and, since I hadn't seen it before, I had to watch to find out whether or not he somehow got away with it or decided to confess.

I will also admit, the way he managed to stay one step ahead of the local authorities was also somewhat funny, though the whole barbershop quartet thing did get a little old by the third time he used it.

I think my biggest complaint about this film, ironically, was the large number of song and dance numbers in it. There were just too many, even for a musical and, by about mid-way through the film, it just seemed to drag on as a result, partly because there were times when they seemed to be singing just for the sake of singing rather than performing the song to move the story forward. Even I was starting to get antsy so I'm really surprised my daughter sat long enough to finish the movie.

I think the worst part about that was the songs themselves weren't even as good as we were expecting them to be. Normally, we'll watch a classic musical like this and will be humming at least a half dozen songs afterwards. The only song we even remembered from this film was Hackett's "Shipoopi." And, to be fair, a big part of the reason why we remembered that song was we've seen the animated character Peter Griffin sing it on the show "Family Guy." We even ended up having a short debate about whether the "Family Guy" version was actually better.

Music Man, The

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 Am...

View on Amazon

Final Opinion

This is a classic musical so I won't be too harsh when grading it. And, I'm sure there are some people out there who love this movie. However, even though I won't say I hated the film, I just didn't think it was as good as most of the other classic musicals we've watched and, unlike those films, don't see us making any serious effort to watch this one again.

My Grade: C

More By This Writer

Mike and the Really Hard Homework Question

Mike is the smartest student at North Southernbrook Elementary School. At least that’s what he believes. So, when he gets an impossible-to-answer homework question one night, he...

View on Amazon

A Messy House is a Home: Poems About Love, Marriage, Parenting and Everyday Life

In this companion book to "Love Poems for My Wife," Steven Helmer uses poetry to express his feelings about being a husband, a parent and about life in general.

View on Amazon

Updated: 02/21/2016, StevenHelmer
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
DerdriuMarriner on 04/04/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here does have The Music Man catalogued amongst its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I expect to be watching it in the near future, after Lent ends.

It's surprising to me that there have been no prequels, reboots, remakes or sequels to such a musical classic. But then perhaps others share your disappointments in the dance-and-song numbers.

Who would step into Robert Preston's dancing and singing shoes nowadays in the event of a prequel, reboot, remake or sequel?

You might also like

Movie Review: Odd Thomas (2013)

A review of the 2013 thriller starring Anton Yelchin as an clairvoyant detect...

Movie Review: Island of Terror (1966)

A review of the 1966 horror movie starring Peter Cushing and Carole Gray.

Movie Review: It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

A review of the 1958 science fiction film that stars Ray Corrigan as a blood-...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...