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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Music Man [Blu-ray]

 

(Morton DaCosta, 1962)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:31:16.108

Disc Size: 36,336,947,070 bytes

Feature Size: 35,017,371,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.29 Mbps

Chapters: 45

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 2nd, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4064 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4064 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Bulgarian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

Introduction by Shirley Jones (2:00 in SD)

• 'Right Here In River City' vintage featurette (22:01 in SD)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A con man, masquerading as a music professor, convinces a small town to form a brass band as a way for him to pocket some dough. Although he knows nothing about music, somehow he is able to magically transform the townsfolk into acceptable performers. This joyful film of the 1,375-performance Broadway smash remains irresistible. Robert Preston recreates his winning Broadway triumph as con artist Harold Hill. Meredith Willson’s sassy, brassy score – featuring the unforgettable "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "Till There Was You" among other marvelous melodies – is orchestrated to brilliant Oscar effect by Ray Heindorf.

 

 

The Film:

Nobody thought Meredith Willson could turn out a hit musical back in 1949 when he started working on a story inspired by his Iowa childhood and the time he spent playing piccolo for John Philip Sousa. He'd never written a musical before, just incidental numbers for Broadway, film and radio, and the background score for Charles Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940). His original producers dropped him as work dragged on over eight years. But his mentor, songwriter Frank Loesser, stuck by him and ended up producing The Music Man, one of Broadway's biggest hits of the '50s.

Leading man Robert Preston went into the project an underdog, too. He had been the perennial second lead in Hollywood during the '40s, usually dying before the final reel. In the '50s, as the studios were cutting back production, he moved to the stage, where he had enjoyed a few modest hits. But he had never done a musical before. Nor was he first choice to play Harold Hill, the musical con artist. Wilson had written the role for his friend, bandleader Phil Harris, but Harris had decided not to risk the move to Broadway. Then it was offered to and rejected by Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye and Ray Bolger before they settled for the perfect man for the part, Preston.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

The Music Man underwent an extensive restoration a few years back and this upgrade to Blu-ray from Warner can really show off the magnificence of the visuals. I'm happy to report Warner's VC-1 encoded, dual-layered, transfer supports the 1962 film like never before for a home theater digital presentation. The extremely clean image quality shows minor grain but detail is often striking and colors can look positively brilliant. Skin tones seem a tad warm but contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels helping to further enhance the sharpness. Daylight scenes are more impressive but everything is bright and cheerful creating a warm aura. This Blu-ray has an authentic feel filling the 2.35 frame with a wonderfully fun, almost 50-year old, widescreen musical experience. The Music Man advances here well beyond the previous DVD editions in several key areas - notably detail and colors. The image can be quite dramatically appealing with the film's lavish pageantry.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4064 kbps supports the film so well. Meredith Willson's music and lyrics sound bountiful and crisp with my only detraction being at around 1 hour 9-minutes I noted the volume level decrease slightly with dialogue sounded a bit more labored than previously (enough for me to notice). This may be an issue with my system so I can't yet fault the transfer. Aside from that the audio quality is quite remarkable with strong range from bass to high-end. There are plenty of optional subtitle choices and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

The supplements don't seem to include all that was on the last DVD edition (although I don't own to verify this). There is a 2-minute 4:3 SD Introduction by Shirley Jones and the 22-minute Making Of... entitled 'Right Here In River City' - a vintage featurette that has some of the cast reminiscing about the production and Morton DaCosta including Shirley Jones again and Buddy Hackett etc. There is no commentary, although the film is quite long, no trailer - which is a shame - and nothing available is in HD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Music Man is another in the vein of grandiose, extensively-costumed, fun musicals that we don't find gracing our cinemas today. It has a lot of appeal with a homespun 'Rockwell-ish' small-town and the congenial salesman conman promising exactly what the residents want, later satirized on such shows as The Simpsons. For those who crave nostalgic, and lively, Technicolor brilliance they can find it in the bright red band uniforms or pink dresses of the girls in the park. This is a decent choice to bring to Blu-ray as it can look and sound so amazing with the enthusiastic dance sequences. It's a great family film too and the, unfortunately bare on extras, Blu-ray promises a joy-filled night in the home theater. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 19th, 2010

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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