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Blu-ray Reviews

The Music Man Blu-Ray



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#1 of 103 Cameron Yee

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Posted January 31 2010 - 04:29 PM

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The Music Man

Release Date: February 2, 2010
Studio: Warner Brothers
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray case
Year: 1962
Rating: G
Running Time: 2:31:00
MSRP: $28.99

Video
1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 5.1 Stereo and mono
Subtitles English SDH, French, and Spanish English SDH and Spanish

The Feature: 4.5/5

Professor Harold Hill (Robert Preston) doesn't know a thing about music, but the con man is as good as any virtuoso musician when it comes to playing the human heart. Traveling through the Midwest in the early 1900s, he poses as a teacher promising the restorative benefits of a town music program, namely a boys marching band. Though the purchased instruments, songbooks and uniforms may actually arrive as promised, Hill will skip town with the good people's money before anyone has learned to play a note.

For the latest con in River City, Iowa, Hill exploits the citizens' fears of juvenile delinquency (what with the recent addition of a pool table to the downtown entertainment options), making the wholesome qualities of musical education that much more attractive. That's for everyone except Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones), the town librarian and piano teacher, who sees through Hill's hucksterism from day one. But Hill also knows about librarians and piano teachers. Romantically wooing away their opposition is usually just icing on the cake, but Miss Paroo will challenge the professor in a way he least he expected. After all his years of stealing people's money, for once Professor Harold Hill will have something stolen from him.

The 1962 production of "The Music Man" is by all accounts incredibly faithful to Meredith Wilson's highly successful Broadway stage musical. Not only does it retain its original lead actor (despite initial attempts by Warner Brothers to recast the part with Frank Sinatra), but its director (Morton DaCosta), choreographer (Onna White), and a number of supporting cast members (actress Pert Kelton and the Buffalo Bills barbershop quartet) were also involved in the stage production. Of course faithfulness to source material is not always a good thing, especially when a film demands, among other things, greater physical scope. But the use of Warner Brothers' now-iconic, town square back lot, the excellent casting of Jones as Preston's romantic interest, and retaining almost all of the original musical numbers, help make the production's transition from stage to screen feel quite natural. Though there were certainly no guarantees that the film would meet with the same success as the stage musical, the filmmakers ultimately made a lot of smart choices, resulting in "The Music Man" being one of the few musicals produced in the 1960s that got it all right.

Video Quality: 4.5/5

The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. Though black levels are not always the deepest, the instances when shadow areas look too opened up seem to be mostly nighttime scenes, suggesting a limitation with the source material rather than the transfer. Otherwise, scenes in daylight or brightly lit studio environments show excellent depth and range of contrast. Colors are uniformly satisfying, the technicolor reds in particular holding up very well with no signs of bleed or bloom. Detail is similarly excellent, most often showcased in the variety of fine textile patterns, straw hats, and wardrobe fringe and feathers. At times things can look a little too sharp, almost edgy, as in the second musical number "Iowa Stubborn," but the overall clarity in its deep focus shots is nevertheless impressive. Healthy grain structure is consistently visible, indicating the absence of aggressive noise reduction measures, but the picture is also prone to moments of background flicker or flutter and there are a few instances of white "sparkle" dotting the image. Still, it's an overall excellent looking picture and no doubt the best it has ever looked on home video.

Audio Quality: 4/5

I admit I was expecting the mix on the the DTS-HD Master Audio track to be a straightforward one, but I was pleasantly surprised by the breadth of the front sound stage and the vocal mixes in the musical numbers. Choral elements get the widest staging, filling up the front array and stretching a little into the rear surrounds. Solos, on the other hand, tend to be more localized at the center. The combination of the two elements in the larger musical numbers makes for a great aural experience, clearly inspired by the one that would happen at a live stage performance. Overall detail and dynamic range of the track is also exceptional - everything from instruments to voices (both singing and dialogue) have great clarity and depth.

Special Features: 1.5/5

Extras, pulled from the 1999 DVD release, are noticeably meager and primarily promotional in nature. Given the popularity of the film, I would have expected a little more content.

Introduction by Shirley Jones (2:00, SD): Jones hits a few high points about the film before letting the film speak for itself.

Right Here in River City: The Making of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man (22:01, SD): Though Jones serving as both the host and occasional talking-head interview subject is a little unusual, the featurette hits all the requisite points about the film's inspiration, adaptation, and production, albeit in a rather promotional and effusive tone. Additional interview subjects include Buddy Hackett (Marcellus Washburn), Choreographer Onna White, and Susan Luckey (Zaneeta Shinn).

Theatrical Trailer (:56, SD)

Recap

The Feature: 4.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5


Warner Brothers turns in an excellent audio and video presentation for one of the more successful musicals of the 1960s. Fans of the film will likely be disappointed in the spartan special features package but should be very pleased by the technical presentation.




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#2 of 103 Mike Frezon

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Posted February 01 2010 - 06:43 AM

I'm all right with limited special features, Cameron.  I'll just be really happy to have a nice new HD transfer with what sounds like a much-improved audio track.  /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif">

What vintage is that bonus feature "Right Here in River City?"  Is it recently done...or something many years ago? 

Now I've just got to get notification from amazon that they've shipped the darn thing.  They actually split an order on me "to expedite things" (shipping the first item a coupole of days ago)...but have yet to ship The Music Man (even though release day is tomorrow)!  <br /></span>

					
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There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#3 of 103 Cameron Yee

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Posted February 01 2010 - 07:04 AM

The featurette is the same as the one found on the 1999 DVD release. So I guess it could be considered "vintage" now that it's past the 10-year mark. :)


I also updated the review regarding the date of the extras; it was something I was meaning to mention but spaced.


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#4 of 103 Cameron Yee

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Posted February 02 2010 - 07:17 AM

Movie Haiku

The Music Man sells
A boys' band that cures all woes.
Notes not included.

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#5 of 103 Mike Frezon

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Posted February 02 2010 - 07:28 AM

Fun!


The con man decries,
"Trouble in River City!"
But foot sticks in door.


I need something to pass the time while I wait for my copy to be delivered!  /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#6 of 103 Cameron Yee

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Posted February 02 2010 - 07:37 AM

 Great one! I really appreciate it when they incorporate dialogue or metaphors from the film.
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#7 of 103 Robert Harris

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Posted February 02 2010 - 09:27 AM

Cameron,

I must disagree with one comment, in that The Music Man was one of the few '60s musicals to get it right.

While the overall numbers of quality musicals in that decade may not have measured up to the previous, we did have a number of primary productions, such as The Sound of Music, West Side Story, My Fair Lady (all in 70mm), in addition to Mary Poppins and Oliver! in 35.  

While at the lower end we had titles such as Lost Horizon and Paint Your Wagon, there was a middle ground which included Camelot, Sweet Charity, Hello Dolly!, On a Clear Day... and others.

Let's not give the musicals of the '60s too short a shrift.  There's a great deal of pleasure to be found there.

RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#8 of 103 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted February 02 2010 - 09:31 AM

The DVD is still my go-to demo disk when someone asks me what edge enhancement is.  This sounds like a tremendous improvement, and I cannot wait to see it!

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#9 of 103 Dave Scarpa

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Posted February 03 2010 - 01:42 PM

My Wife is watching it from netflix, the sound is amazing, black levels are terrible but I agree it appears to be the source.

My DVD Collection

The Megaplex

#10 of 103 Mike Frezon

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Posted February 05 2010 - 04:34 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden 

The DVD is still my go-to demo disk when someone asks me what edge enhancement is.  This sounds like a tremendous improvement, and I cannot wait to see it!
I got my copy delivered yesterday (only two days after release date! Thanks, amazon.) and watched the first half-hour last night. 

Everything looks beautiful on my new 1080p 32" Vizio.  This is the kind of movie that really makes me with I had a bigger screen.  I actually stuck the DVD in to do a rough A/B comparison (of the "Piano lesson" scene) and was blown away by the difference!  I'm not the most discerning viewer around but when you get to see how "good" something can look it can really serve to show you how "bad" another version can look.  Stunning.

I have always paid closer attention to audio issues and agree with Cameron's words that they did a nice job filling the soundstage during the musical numbers.  I was a little concerned during Iowa Stubborn that there were some volume fluctuations during the early part of the song (which consists mostly of Robert Preston vocals).  I'll have to go back and give that another listen. 

But what a great film.  What fun!  Eminently quotable.  Our household has nearly every line committed to memory.  This is oneof those upgrades from DVD that I didn't even need to think twice about.

Little boy:  "Good morning, Mayor Shinn!"

Mayor Shinn: "It is, if you want to go around in your drawers all day..."



There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#11 of 103 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted February 05 2010 - 07:58 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon View Post

Everything looks beautiful on my new 1080p 32" Vizio.  This is the kind of movie that really makes me with I had a bigger screen.  I actually stuck the DVD in to do a rough A/B comparison (of the "Piano lesson" scene) and was blown away by the difference!  I'm not the most discerning viewer around but when you get to see how "good" something can look it can really serve to show you how "bad" another version can look.  Stunning.
 
The improvement was so remarkable, I nearly Shipoopied.
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#12 of 103 Guest__*

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Posted February 05 2010 - 08:08 AM

This was one of the first plays that I ever did. I was in third grade and asked to perform in The Music Man with the high-school kids. I was in the chorus, but got the chance to be the little boy who says "Good Mornin', Mayor Shinn!" Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the actual performance, so I bought this in honor of a great musical theater experience!

#13 of 103 Mike Frezon

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Posted February 05 2010 - 08:23 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden 

The improvement was so remarkable, I nearly Shipoopied.
/img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Scott Richard 

Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the actual performance, so I bought this in honor of a great musical theater experience!
Coincidentally, next month is when Eric will receive his Kennedy Center Honor in commemoration of that performance.  /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

/img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif


There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#14 of 103 Scott Merryfield

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Posted February 06 2010 - 01:18 AM

Great honk!  This transfer is a huge improvement over the old SD-DVD. Anyone who is a fan of this film should not hesitate to upgrade.

My only complaint is that since watching the film last night, I cannot get the "Wells Fargo Wagon" song out of my head. /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif


#15 of 103 Mike Frezon

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Posted February 06 2010 - 07:04 AM

"Is it a pre-paid surprise or C-O-D?

It could be curtains...or dishes...or a DOUBLE BOILER!"

Or it could be, yes, you;'re right, it surely could be...something special..something very very special....just for me."

Today's viewing yielded something I had never caught before:  Zaneeta telling Tommy that she couldn't rendezvous with him after supper because of a meeting of the "Epworth League."  It's a line I didn't ever remember hearing before and I had to put on the subtitles to understand what she said.  Then I had to look up Epworth League on WikiPedia!  /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif">

=======================
The most exciting part of this viewing for me?!?  When my wife turned to me during the patriotic tableau inside the Madison Gym and said with determination, "What the heck did they do to this film to get it to look SO GOOD?!?"  I couldn't stop smiling as I paused 76 Trombones and explained the whole high-def vs. SD thing (as best I could).  She specifically was amazed at details like the dust on the gymnasium floor. 

That absolutely ROCKED!  <br /></span>

					
					<br />
					
				</div>
				
				
								
				
					<div class=

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#16 of 103 Doug Wallen

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Posted February 07 2010 - 10:23 AM

"Great honk!"

"You watch your phraseology."/img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif
Just finished this and I was totally bowled over by the clarity of the picture.  Thanks WB for another great looking classic film.

Doug
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#17 of 103 William Miller

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Posted February 20 2011 - 12:00 PM

Why did this go out of print so fast?


I love this movie and I was going to buy it eventually but it quickly disappeared.


I saw a HD version on HDNet Movies before the Blu-Ray was released. But there was something wrong with the video.  There were numerous scenes that had kind of a white shadow over the image that made the color look a little washed out. It did not look good.  It was the only movie on HDNet that I have seen that did not look nice.  Did the BD have this same problem? I guess not because nobody has mentioned this.



#18 of 103 Mark-P

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Posted February 20 2011 - 12:34 PM

We don't know for sure that it is out of print, but most of the online retailers I just checked are out of stock on it. Perhaps it was such a big seller that they have sold out the first pressing already and another pressing is in the works? Even Warners own website has it listed as for sale though they are currently out of stock.

Originally Posted by William Miller 

Why did this go out of print so fast?


I love this movie and I was going to buy it eventually but it quickly disappeared.






#19 of 103 Matt Hough

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Posted February 20 2011 - 01:56 PM



Originally Posted by William Miller 

I saw a HD version on HDNet Movies before the Blu-Ray was released. But there was something wrong with the video.  There were numerous scenes that had kind of a white shadow over the image that made the color look a little washed out. It did not look good.  It was the only movie on HDNet that I have seen that did not look nice.  Did the BD have this same problem? I guess not because nobody has mentioned this.


I thought the video quality was quite wonderful apart from some anemic black levels.



#20 of 103 GMpasqua

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Posted February 20 2011 - 04:05 PM

this is out of print??? Next year is the films 50th Anniversary so I wouldn't be surprised if WB re-releases it in a Digibook format (just like "A Clockwork Orange"