Meredith Wilson’s sparkling filmization of the landmark Broadway musical about a traveling con artist salesman and the small town he dupes. Rousing Americana’s best asset is Robert Preston’s memorable performance as Professor Harold Hill. His sunny portrayal brightens every scene he’s in. Virtually one musical number after another, there are moments of the sublime (“Seventy-Six Trombones”, “Till There Was You”) and the expendable (“Gary, Indiana”). The latter contributes to film’s inflated 151 minute running time. Perhaps a bit of editing and a less stagebound production would have made this a near-perfect adaptation. Nevertheless those minor transgressions are far outweighed by the joyous singing and dancing that is on display in this most appealing musical.
Archive for 1962
Rosalind Russell is a force to be reckoned with as Mama Rose in this biographical musical about the humble beginnings of her daughter, ‘Gypsy Rose Lee’. Natalie Wood shines in an appealing performance as the title character, a nice counterbalance to Russell’s strident display as the stage mother from hell. An eight-minute monologue at the end drags on the film’s 144min running time, but overall an entertaining, lavish movie adaptation of the 1959 Stephen Sondheim / Jules Styne musical.