Shirley Jones & Gordon MacRae are unforgettable in ‘Carousel’ (1956)

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CAROUSEL, Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae,

CAROUSEL, Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae

Movie review: Carousel

Carousel” is CinemaScope’s “answer” to Todd-AO and its “Oklahoma!” — and, on the strength of the rough cut we caught, a pretty eloquent answer it is. It has the same stars, Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, and is the first film to be shot in a 55mm process, which, reduced for use in a 35mm projector, eliminates grain and increases sharpness.

In effect, “Carousel” is almost a dramatic opera (it’s from the play “Liliom”), and it shook us most of all when MacRae, by turns boastful and humble, sang in “Soliloquy” of the son — or daughter — soon to be his. Other hits: “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” If I Loved You,” “What’s the Use of Wond’rin?”

Here is a musical that really touched us emotionally. In De Luxe Color. (20th Century Fox) – Family Circle, April 1956

CAROUSEL, Shirley Jones


Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic, “Carousel,” produced in its new CinemaScope 55 photographic process and color, opened at the Michigan theater Friday. This milestone in the progress of motion picture entertainment was ushered in with all the fanfare of a Hollywood premiere.

The studio gave it an incomparable group of singing artists to bring the unforgettable folk story to the screen. Heading the cast are Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, both of whom won critical praise for their work in “Oklahoma.”

In the principal supporting roles are Cameron Mitchell. Barbara Ruick, Claramae Turner of Metropolitan opera fame, Robert Rounseyille, Gene Lockhart, Audrey Christie, Susan Luckey, William Le Massena, John Dehner and Jacques D’Amboise.

All the rich Rodgers and Hammerstein music which helped make “Carousel” a stage hit have been woven into the screen presentation. Among the 12 songs heard in the picture are the very popular “If I Loved You,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” What’s the Use of Wondrin'” and “When the Children Are Asleep.”

These popular songs gains in effectiveness and brilliance through their staging in the picturesque New England forests and seacoast. Director Henry King transported the entire company and a troupe of 40 dancers to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where the exterior scenes for the picture were filmed, thus giving great authenticity to the story of “Billy Bigelow,” the swaggering Carousel barker, and his love for “Julie Jordan,” a factory worker.

This romance, which ends in Billy’s tragic death, his sojourn in heaven and return to earth, stirs up the entire Maine coast town and gives poignancy to the story. – Lansing State Journal
(Lansing, Michigan) – March 31, 1956

Carousel movie poster

Shirley Jones with MacRae from Carousel 1956

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