The Music Man Parent Guide
This 1962 classic musical offers family friendly fare, with enough snappy melodies and energetic dance routines to engage even older kids.
Parent Movie Review
If the summer doldrums are starting to drag your kids down, maybe a dose of a big brass band is just what they need to stir things up.
In the sleepy town of River City, Iowa, the only excitement on hand for the youth is the arrival of a new billiards table. But since this adult only entertainment is off limits to kids, all they can do is try and take a peek at the action through the frosted windows of the pool hall establishment.
However that’s all about to change when a glib-tongued traveling con artist blows into town with a plan to scam the residents. Decrying the dire consequences of the cues and balls, Professor Harold Hill (Robert Preston) rouses the concerned parents of the community and promises to save their children from a slide into sin by forming a boys’ brass band complete with uniforms. All the parents have to do is give him a little earnest money upfront.
His sales pitch seems to spellbind everybody in the town except for Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones), the local librarian and piano teacher. Afraid that she will see through his lack of musical training and his novel “think plan” for teaching tunes, Harold tries to cozy up to the standoffish book lender before the town’s Fourth of July celebrations. Unable to catch her attention at the library, he befriends her Irish mother (Pert Kelton) and troubled, little brother Winthrop (Ron Howard).
Meanwhile Mayor Shin (Paul Ford) is after the ever-arguing town council to get some credentials for the slick seller who has the city citizens, including the mayor’s wife (Hermione Gingold), in an happy uproar over his formation of a ladies dance committee and the anticipation of the band.
However, Harold’s plan to grab the cash and run hits a snag when an anvil salesman (Harry Hickox) takes advantage of a train stop to expose the swindler. With one last chance to skedaddle out of town, Harold realizes he’s lost his heart to the pretty librarian. Now he has to choose between making a break for it or facing the music.
The recent success of musicals like Moulin Rouge and Chicago is triggering a resurgence of the genre. Fortunately, The Music Manfrom 1962, offers more family friendly fare and is filled with enough snappy melodies and energetic dance routines to engage even older kids. With “phraseology” being this film’s biggest content concern, most families can enjoy the high-stepping fun this movie provides.
Despite his less than honorable objectives when he arrives in town, Harold unintentionally brings a new community spirit to River City and leaves this film ending on a happy note.Directed by Morton DaCosta. Starring Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett . Running time: 151 minutes. Theatrical release June 19, 1962. Updated July 17, 2017
The Music Man
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Music Man rated Not Rated? The Music Man is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
A fast-talking con artist comes into town with a plan to form a boys band and get out of town with the money. Suddenly the town is brought alive in anticipation of the event. But the hawkers plan to grab the cash and run backfires when he falls in love with the local librarian.
Man is kicked off of train because of his dishonest reputation. Man lies repeatedly. Firework explodes and scares woman. Man angrily pushes at woman. A group of angry citizens chases man.
Sexual Content: B+\
Man tries to make advances on woman. Women decry the effects of smutty books on her community. Man warns people about the ills of fast women, falling moral standards and ragtime music. Boy kisses girl on cheek. Man makes reference about women losing virtue. Man uses derogatory name for woman. Couples kiss on at least three occasions.
At least: 9 terms of deity used as an expletive, as well as teen-agers using a phrase that sounds like a term of deity, and name-calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A\
Man plans to swindle people out of their money. Women spread gossip about fellow citizen.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for The Music Man after the break...
The Music Man Parents' Guide
When Harold Hill rolls into town, he is quick to point out problems in town. What tactics did he use to convince the people that they needed to have a boys’ band? How does a skillful salesman create a need in customers (whether it really exists or not)? How do advertisers encourage consumers to buy now?
Why did Marian hesitate to expose the Professor? How did the anticipation of forming a band change the attitudes of the local residents? Does planning for something often equal or exceed the actual event?
The most recent home video release of The Music Man movie is October 5, 2010. Here are some details…
The Music Man releases to home video (DVD) on October 5, 2010, with no bonus extras.>
Related home video titles:
For other family friendly musicals, check out the award-winning The Sound of Music about a young governess sent in to care for seven children and Singin’ In the Rain about Hollywood’s transformation from silent films to soundstages. Children On Their Birthdays also features a traveling con artist.