Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Music Man and Shakespeare

The Music Man. Dir. Morton DaCosta. Perf. Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, and Buddy Hackett. 1961. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1999.

A few small allusions to Shakespeare in The Music Man recently caught my attention. The first is from Mayor Shin's daughter; the second is provide by Harold Hill himself. Interestingly, neither is a direct quotation:

Of course, the poet actually said (though Caesar, which is an important qualification) this:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once. (Julius Caesar, II.ii.32-33)
I'm curious as to whether this misquotation is part of Harold Hill's character (surely Marion would recognize a misquotation on this scale if so) or if it's meant to be taken as a direct line from the bard. In any case, it's interesting to think how Caesar's line got to be put down in eight and six and then attributed to "the poet."

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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heilprin said...

There are probably other references to Shakespeare in "The Music Man" - for example: "Gary, Indiana, as a Shakespeare would say, Trips along softly on the tongue this way." This is not just a hypothetical line by a Shakespeare, but an actual line by Shakespeare: "Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue" (Act 3, Scene 2).

kj said...

Oh, fantastic! I missed that one. Thank you very much!


Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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