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an utter drag
What a miserable use of two hours. Aside from the grating music, nothing about this film works because of its story. There's a miserable marriage as focus, miserable because they decided to get married the night they met! Even allowing for this being the 1950s, the gender politics are inexcusable - "He hits me with love, so it doesn't hurt!" Fuck that.
I think it could have been so much better than it was. The man was given a second chance and rather than making it a story of redemption, he blows the second chance as well. Didn't find it very satisfying as a result.
|Shirley Jones||Julie Jordan|
|Barbara Ruick||Carrie Pipperidge|
|Cameron Mitchell||Jigger Craigin|
|Gordon MacRae||Billy Bigelow|
|Claramae Turner||Cousin Nettie|
|Robert Rounseville||Mr. Enoch Snow|
|Gene Lockhart||Starkeeper / Dr. Selden|
|Audrey Christie||Mrs. Mullin|
|Susan Luckey||Louise Bigelow|
|William LeMassena||Heavenly Friend|
|John Dehner||Mr. Bascombe|
|Jacques d'Amboise||Louise's 'Starlight Carnival' Dancing Partner|
"More than your eyes have ever seen!"
The story revolves around Billy Bigelow, a rough-talking, macho, handsome carousel barker, and Julie Jordan, a young, innocent mill worker. They fall in love, but both are fired from their jobs for different reasons – Billy because he paid too much attention to Julie and incurred the wrath of the jealous carousel owner Mrs. Mullin, and Julie because she stayed out past the curfew imposed by the understanding but stern mill owner, Mr. Bascombe. Billy and Julie marry and go to live at the seaside spa of her cousin Nettie, but Billy becomes bitter because he is unable to find work, and in his frustration, strikes Julie (this moment is not shown at all in the film). Mrs. Mullin, the jealous carousel owner who is infatuated with him, hears of this and goes to Nettie's to offer Billy his old job back, but will not re-hire him unless he leaves his wife. Billy seems to be considering the idea when Julie asks to talk privately. Julie, fearing he will be enraged, timidly tells him she is pregnant. But Billy is overjoyed and now firmly refuses Mrs. Mullin's offer. However, newly worried about not having enough money to provide for his child, and unskilled at anything except being a carousel barker, Billy secretly agrees to join his pal Jigger Craigin in robbing the wealthy Bascombe.During a clambake, held on a nearby island, Billy and Jigger sneak to the mainland to commit the robbery, but Bascombe, who is usually unarmed, carries a gun and the robbery is foiled. While Bascombe is momentarily distracted, Jigger flees and leaves Billy at the mercy of the police. Cornered, but trying to escape, Billy climbs atop a pile of crates, whereupon the pile collapses and Billy accidentally falls on his own knife. The others return from the clambake, and Julie sees the mortally wounded Billy. She rushes over to him and he dies after saying his last words to her. Julie is devastated because she truly loved him, even though she never had the courage to say it out loud.Fifteen years later, in the other world (apparently the back door of Heaven), Billy is told that he can return to Earth for one day to make amends. Billy returns to find his daughter Louise emotionally scarred because she is constantly taunted over the fact that her father tried to commit a robbery. Billy, not telling her who he is, makes himself visible, tries to cheer her up, and gives her a star that he stole from Heaven. Louise refuses it, frightened, and Billy, in desperation, slaps her hand. She rushes inside the house and informs Julie of what happened, saying that she did not feel a slap, but a kiss. Billy tries to make himself invisible before Julie can see him, but she has glimpsed him for just a split second, and senses that he has come back for a reason. Billy asks his Heavenly Guide for permission to go to Louise's high school graduation, and there he silently gives both her and Julie the confidence they need and the knowledge that, in spite of everything, he loved Julie.