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Carousel [VHS]

4.5 out of 5 stars 693 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Ruick, Claramae Turner
  • Directors: Henry King
  • Writers: Henry Ephron, Benjamin Glazer, Ferenc Molnár, Oscar Hammerstein II, Phoebe Ephron
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck, Henry Ephron
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording remastered, THX, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: March 9, 1999
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (693 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305282854
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,446 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gordon MacRae is Billy Bigelow, a smooth-talking carny barker who falls in love with a millworker (Shirley Jones) on the colorful coast of Maine. Filmed on location, with a beautiful seaside setting as a backdrop and a thrilling score for accompaniment, their romance unfolds. But right before the birth of his daughter, Billy is killed while committing a robbery. Now in heaven, years later, he returns to earth for one day to attend his daughter's high school graduation and teach her one very important lesson.

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Like its immediate predecessor, Oklahoma!, this 1956 screen musical boasted then state-of-the-art widescreen cinematography, stereophonic sound, a starring romantic duo with onscreen chemistry, and the Rodgers & Hammerstein imprimatur. Adding to its promise was a source (the venerable Ferenc Molnar play Liliom) that had already been filmed three times. Yet unlike the original Broadway production, and despite evident craft, Carousel proved a box-office disappointment. Why? Hindsight argues that '50s moviegoers may have been unprepared for its tragic narrative, the sometimes unsympathetic protagonist, and a spiritual subtext addressing life after death.

Whatever the obstacle, Carousel may well be a revelation to first-time viewers. The score is among the composers' most affecting, from the glorious instrumental "Carousel Waltz" to a succession of exquisite love songs ("If I Loved You"), a heart-rending secular hymn ("You'll Never Walk Alone"), and the expectant father's poignant reverie, "Soliloquy." Top-lined stars Shirley Jones (as factory worker Julie Jordan) and Gordon MacRae (as Billy Bigelow, the carnival barker who woos and weds her) achieve greater dramatic urgency here than in the more successful Oklahoma!, with MacRae in particular attaining a personal best as the conflicted Billy, whose anxiety and wounded pride after losing his job are crucial to the plot. It's Billy's impatience to support his new family that drives him to an ill-fated decision that transforms the fable into a ghost story.

Adding to the luster are the coastal Maine locations where 20th Century Fox filmed principal photography. Newly remastered by THX, Carousel looks and sounds better than ever, but VHS tape buyers take heed: as a movie conceived for the then-new widescreen platform (it was the first to be shot in the studio's second-generation CinemaScope 55 format), this is one film that doesn't benefit from pan-and-scan editing, which lops off half the screen's image, virtually eliminating the sweep and spectacle of big production numbers. The widescreen version is vastly superior. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Oh, what a beautiful collection! These 6 films from the most successful writing team in the American musical theater have been available on DVD for years--but not like this! All 6 have now been fully remastered to meet the demands of the latest TV and computer equipment. They have always been great, but they've truly never looked and sounded better than they do now.

But wait--there's more! This package includes a generous bunch of extras: documentaries, deleted material, alternate versions, interviews, running commentaries, soundtrack albums, performances by stars from the original stage productions, even a remake of STATE FAIR from 1962. The extras alone are a good reason to upgrade your copies--or to get them for the first time.

If you're looking for colorful, romantic stories with brilliant performances and a virtual catalogue of nearly 100 of the very best show tunes in history, you couldn't make a better purchase. These are, quite simply, the finest films of their kind. No serious DVD collection is complete without them. Watch. Listen. Enjoy!

PS: You'll also want to add FLOWER DRUM SONG to your collection. It's now (finally) available on DVD, and it's every bit as lovely as these films.
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Format: DVD
This is one of the finest DVD collections ever produced. Fox has added the same three anniversary editions from last year--"Oklahoma," "State Fair," and "The Sound Of Music"--to a thin-pack set with this year's bonanzas: "Carousel," "The King And I," and for good measure, although it's not an anniversary, "South Pacific." Extras abound here with such delight that it should take the dedicated viewer many nights to fully appreciate all the contents. For example, the 1934 "Liliom," the French film based on Ferenc Molnar's play, that establishes the story of "Carousel" as a drama, is a special gift from Fox. The 55mm and Todd- AO versions of several films are now fully available and the Road Show version of "South Pacific" is presented. Richard Barrios, one of our major experts in film musicals provides the commentary (with others) for "State Fair," "The King And I," and "South Pacific." There are excerpts from TV and Broadway versions of songs and numerous other bonuses that are exhilarating.

Remember, too, that "South Pacific" had what was in 1958 considered by many in the industry to be the finest example of sound design and engineering to that time, and it won the Oscar for Best Sound.

The compact set, which is apparently the new industry standard, also features a short but very useful booklet. If you love Richard Rodgers and his second partner, Oscar Hammerstein II, this box set should be number one on your list right now.
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Format: DVD
This review is about the DVD presentation only. The movies are ALL CLASSICS and worth the price of admission. But I must caution the investor of the this Box Set.
THE GOOD NEWS: These are the greatest Rodgers & Hammerstien II musicals now in a Box set. They have all been digitally remastered both picture & sound. The colors, picture quality excellent and the sound crystal clear. THE BAD NEWS: All this work but "State Fair" is lost in the WideScreen aspect ratio presentation.
Qualifying Statement: I am a Home Theatre, HDTV - 55" x 16:9 WidesScreen, Progressive Scan DVD, Dolby Prologic Sound System owner. I have over 400 DVD movies ,mostly remastered, WideScreen (preserved in the original theatrical aspect ratio), Anamorphic or enhanced for 16:9 TV's.
NOTE: Full Screen - 4:3 (1:33 to 1 ratio) made for TV or film before 1953. WideScreen - 4:3 letterbox (horizontal top & bottom black bars adjusted for any aspect ratio 165/185/225 to 1 etc. It is still letterbox) are movies made after 1953. (to compete with the popularity of Television) ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN IS THE ONLY TRUE HDTV 16:9 PRESENTATION. This format automatically adjusts to the Television being used. To get the High Definition picture the DVD MUST BE ANAMORPHIC & ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS!!!!!!
Now in SUMMARY: STATE FAIR Full Screen Technicolor is the best presentation and the movie. Oklahoma, Carousal, The King & I and South Pacific are WideScreen (4:3 Letterbox - small picture horizontal & vertical black bars) great color, music but small picture very disappointing. Finally the Sound of Music was adjusted to an Anamorphic WideScreen but was not enhanced for the HDTV 16:9 format. The results is a very grainy picture.
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Format: DVD
The films in this collection are truly some of the most memorable films of the American musical genre. These are movies with great stories set to music, song and dance which have lived on in our culture for many years. Who can forget the images of Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr dancing around the palace in The King and I? Or Gordon MacRae and Rod Steiger lamented the death of poor ol' Jud Fry while contesting for the attention Shirley Jones' Laurey? Or how about Rossano Brazzi serenading Mitzi Gaynor on one enchanted evening? Certainly everyone remembers Julie Andrews singing her way into the heart of Christopher Plummer and the von Trapp children as her voice soared above the Austrian Alps. The travels of the farm-raised Frake to the Iowa State Fair are accompanied my much fun and romance. And MacRae and Jones team up again in the beautifully-filmed and heartfelt Carousel.
These films, as much as the songs that made them famous, are a legacy from Rogers and Hammerstein to all of us. Born originally from theatrical stage productions, each has an individual beauty and identity that makes them impossible to ignore. Those who have been fortunate enough to see these works performed on the stage know well what I mean and can share the joy and wonder that I first felt hearing my mother play recordings of these musicals when I was growing up. As much as any other, I highly recommend this collection of films. If you ever saw these films, you will appreciate making them part of your collection!
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Question about DVD Features
It means "pan and scan"
Jan 13, 2007 by Ricardo Zaldivar |  See all 2 posts
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