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Meredith Willson's The Music Man (TV Film)

141 customer reviews

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(Nov 11, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the executive producers of the Academy Award(R)-winning musical CHICAGO (Best Picture, 2002) comes a fresh interpretation of an all-time classic. Featuring some of the most beloved songs in history, THE MUSIC MAN "is impossible to resist" raves TV Guide. Con man "Professor" Harold Hill (Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick, 1995 Best Actor, Musical) arrives in River City, Iowa, promising that he can teach the small town's children how to play in a magnificent marching band. It's all part of a big swindle, but falling in love with the town librarian (Kristin Chenoweth) wasn't part of the deal. Also starring Victor Garber and Molly Shannon, THE MUSIC MAN is an irresistible production the whole family will enjoy.

Meredith Willson's musical masterpiece is such an American classic, it deserves to be known by each new generation--and this sprightly TV-movie version spiffs it up nicely for the young folk. It's a testament to Willson's achievement that this 2003 production can survive a casting flub: the usually engaging Matthew Broderick's low-key charm is an exact mismatch for the brassy energy of traveling salesman Professor Harold Hill. When Broderick sings the words "thundering, thundering!" from "Seventy-Six Trombones," he sounds as though he's murmuring, murmuring. But he wears well (especially in a nifty "Marian the Librarian"), and he has lyrical support from Kristin Chenoweth's crystal-clear singing. Director Jeff Bleckner has a maddening tendency to cut away from the crucial moment of a scene, but the atmosphere of small-town Iowa is ably created. Adding zip is Molly Shannon, hilarious as chief busybody Mrs. Shinn. In short, the "Think System" still works. --Robert Horton

Special Features

Behind-The-Scenes Making Of A Musical|Special Exclusive Perfomance Of "Till There Was You"

Product Details

  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth, Debra Monk, David Aaron Baker, Linda Kash
  • Directors: Jeff Bleckner
  • Writers: Sally Robinson, Meredith Willson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2003
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000BWVMQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,367 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Meredith Willson's The Music Man (TV Film)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Willard C. Smith on December 15, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Comparisons between the 1962 and 2003 versions of the Music Man are inevitable. And such comparisons are going to center on the different approaches that Robert Preston and Matthew Broderick used to create the character of Professor Harold Hill. While many critics have dismissed Matthew Broderick's characterization, I believe that these critics have overlooked a significant interpretation of the Music Man. I like both versions of The Music Man, because they complement each other.

Robert Preston interpreted Harold Hill as a fast talking con man who doubled as a sort of Pied Piper. He would lead and the town people would follow right along. It is fun to watch, but also a little confusing. Here are all these stubborn, stiff-necked Iowa folk being gullibly conned left and right. One would think that the citizens of River City wouldn't have agreed to the creation of a Boys Band unless there was something else going on.

On the other hand, Broderick's Harold Hill is someone who can somehow appeal to a person's innermost wants and dreams. He isn't fast talking; instead he is able to get them to invoke their own dreams and wants, and he is able to do this because he is trying to realize his own frustrated dreams. In contrast to Preston, Broderick underplays Harold Hill and it works.

No where is this interpretation more evident than in the "Marian the Librarian" sequence. Preston's Hill creates havoc in the library by behaving like a Pied Piper and everyone else is swept up in the process. Even Shirley Jones' Marian is temporally swept away.

Broderick's Hill mesmerizes Kristin Chenoweth's Marian so that she invokes her dream in an unusual interlude in this number.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2004
Format: DVD
Professor Harold Hill has come to River City, Iowa, to get them to start a boys' marching band. He claims he can teach the students to play; all the parents need to do is buy the instruments and uniforms. Only the mayor and Marian, the local librarian and piano teacher, seem at all suspicious of this fast talking smooth salesman. Can they find the proof they need to stop him from swindling the rest of the town? Will they want to?
I'm almost ashamed to say that this was my introduction to this classic American musical only because it took me this long to see it. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, however. Since I had nothing to compare it to, I thought it was wonderful. I have since seen the original film, and I can see differences. Matthew Broderick plans a toned down version of Harold Hill, but I find his charm more appealing as a selling point to the town's people. Kristin Chenoweth shines as Marion. That woman can sing and brings real warmth to the roll. The rest of the cast is wonderful as well, especially Victor Garber as the mayor and Molly Shannon as his wife. Considering Victor Garber's past musical experience, I was surprised at how small his part here really was, but he makes every appearance memorable. This version takes better advantage of the film format for some truly inventive, fun dance numbers, especially in "Seventy-six Trombones" and "Marian the Librarian."
Those hoping for some nice bonus features on the DVD like I was will be disappointed. There is only a short (7 or 8 minute) documentary on the making of the film that barely scratches the surface and a special recording of Kristin Chenoweth singing "Till there was You." The movie itself is presented in full frame, which makes sense considering it was made for TV.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Jarvie on September 26, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not being a huge Matthew Broderick fan, I stayed away from this when it came out. I just couldn't see him as Professor Harold Hill. Broderick did a find job in The Producers though; and that, as well as an overwhelming desire to see the lovely, multi-talented Kristen Chenoweth as Marion led me to finally purchase a used copy of this. Chenoweth did not disappoint in the least. She has the voice of an angel (and is beautiful and charming as well); and is one of the few women - maybe the only one - that I could see in a role originated by Barbara Cook. Victor Garber was also wonderful as the mayor; but he's always wonderful. The supporting cast pretty much ranged from good to adequate. I wasn't in love with the camera work, but it didn't bother me as much as it did others; and I did liked the sets quite a lot . Now to Broderick. In a word: terrible. Too young, not enough swagger, nowhere near the personality and charisma necessary for this role. If I watch this again, it will be solely to see and hear Kristen Chenoweth's Marion.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on January 13, 2004
Format: DVD
Though it was a highly promoted production, not everyone was all that thrilled with a made for television version of THE MUISC MAN. Some viewed this production as blasphemy of a great American musical. Robert Preston and Shirley Jones did a good enough job in the original, so why tamper with a classic? Without a doubt, the original film version is a classic and is the better production. This is not to say, however, that the made for television production starring Matthew Broderick as Professor Harold Hill and Kristen Chenoweth as River City's faithful librarian Marion does not have its good points. Broderick does a wonderful job presenting his interpretation of Harold Hill. He has the same mischivios charm and charisma that made FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF such a success and I suppose we can easily imagine the fictional Ferris Bueller growing up and becoming a Harold Hill. Broderick uses his many talents to make the role come to life and does more than an adequate job. The musical numbers are lively and the dance scenes are superb. Molly Shannon adds to the cast. I will have to admit that the barbershop quartet in the made for T.V. Version will never rival the Buffalo Bills, and no one can match Buddy Hackett's version of "Shipoopie".
If the purpose is to present an enjoyable version of an all time classic, this it does rather well.
Is this version as good as the stage version or movie? No, but I'm not sure that anyone involved in the production ever expected that it would. They simply wanted to entertain and this version is entertaining.
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