Robert Preston takes Harold Hill to Hollywood
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Music Man" is the most American of all the great American musicals, with a performance by Robert Preston as Professor Harold Hill that arguably ranks as the best of all time. Compare it to the few that come close and decide for yourself: Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady," Richard Kiley in "The Man of La Mancha," Michael Crawford in "The Phantom of the Opera." THEN think of how rare it is for the Broadway star to actually make it to the Hollywood film version. Preston only got to do the movie because when they offered the part to Cary Grant he told the studio if they did not use Preston not only would Grant not be in the movie, he would not SEE it.Preston turns in an absolutely perfect performance, made all the more amazing by the fact he was a movie actor who played villains who really could not sing or dance. Although he had some assistance with the story from Franklin Lacey, the credit for "The Music Man" goes to Meredith Wilson who did the book, music and lyrics. This is a score that features not only the last great marching band song of the century in "Seventy-Six Trombones," but what is arguably the first "rap" song in the rhythmic "Rock Island" that opens the show. For his songs Wilson makes use of piano scales ("Piano Lesson" and "Goodnight My Someone") and barbershop quartets ("Sincere" and "Lida Rose"), but the most memorable numbers are those he gives his fast-talking salesman ("Ya Got Trouble" and "Seventy-Six Trombones." This original cast album features Barbara Cook as Marion the Librarian, a singer who certainly should have done a lot more on Broadway than just this one staring role. Just listen to her sing "My White Knight," "Will I Ever Tell You?" and especially "Till There Was You" (the only Broadway song ever recorded by the Beatles). I prefer the Movie Soundtrack to the Original Broadway Cast album, not only because I like Shirley Jones' voice over Barbara Cook's (that is quibbling between an A+ and an A), but because the tempo is slightly up on several numbers. Besides, I think Preston's performance is just that much better on this one as well. But of course, there is not real reason not to have both albums in your collection."
One of the two or three greatest musicals ever...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 01/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just like several of the other reviewers, I like the Broadway version of this show just a hair better than the movie soundtrack. However, when I decided to get a "Music Man" CD last month to replace my vinyl Broadway one, I lucked into a great price for the film rendition. Since I do love the movie anyway, the purchase was a no-brainer. Both have Robert Preston, and he is the true essential. I miss "My White Knight" and I love Barbara Cook, and Buddy Hackett can't sing...all true complaints of some other reviewers here. But those are really minor flaws. Buy whatever version YOU can afford, and let Robert Preston and composer Meredith Willson each make you proud to be an American and a music lover."
The "Only" Music Man
Michael G. Batcho | McAdoo, PA (USA) | 01/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Among the many fine things which can be said regarding this Original Soundtrack Recording of "The Music man", the most impressive would be to simply say "Robert Preston"! Robert Preston IS The Music Man - the one and only Music Man! Robert didn't simply perform this role . . . he was the personification of The Music Man. I really can't imagine any one else coming even close to his characterization. Just listen to Preston's delivery of "Ya Got Trouble" and every thing you need to know about "The Music man" is there!
This album has it all: great "marching band music", great performers like Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, The Buffalo Bills, and Robert Preston, and great songs. (The Buffalo Bills/Shirley Jones' "Lida Rose/Goodnight My Someone" sticks in your musical mind and you find yourself humming and singing it throughout the day/night for inexplicable reasons at the oddest times.
I have loved this recording since it was first issued. On cd it keeps the beauty of this music and these performers more alive than ever."