Home > 1950 - 1959 > Carousel

Carousel

Carousel title card

Year - 1956
Studio - 20th Century Fox
Stars - Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Cameron Mitchell, Gene Lockhart, Barbara Ruick, Claramae Turner, Robert Rounseville, Audrey Christie, Susan Luckey, John Dehner
Director - Henry King
Writing Credits - Screenplay by Phoebe & Henry Ephron, Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, from Frerenc Molnar's Liliom, adapted by Benjamin F. Glazer
Music - Richard Rodgers

Synopsis

Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae) is polishing stars in heaven when he is offered the possibility of returning to Earth for one day, as his "kinfolk" are having problems. But he must first give the Starkeeper (Gene Lockhart) an honest account of his life. Billy describes how, as a brash barker for a carousel ride, he met and fell in love with Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones). They were married, but he was unable to find employment and they lived with her cousin Nettie (Claramae Turner). Frustrated with his life, Billy sometimes hit his wife, but she continued to love and believe in him.

Julie tells Billy that she is pregnant, and he realizes that he must make money in order to raise his new child.

Carousel poster

At an annual clambake party, Billy's amoral friend Jigger Craigin (Cameron Mitchell) talks him into helping him rob the wealthy Mr. Bascombe (John Dehner). But Bascombe has a gun and Billy, attempting to escape, falls on his knife. He dies in Julie's arms.

Billy is allowed to return to Earth where he observes his now 15-year old daughter, Louise (Susan Luckey), having difficulties with her life because of Billy's reputation. At her high school graduation ceremony, he is at her side as they listen to the speaker, town doctor Selden (Gene Lockhart) urging the graduates to find their own way in the world. He silently urges Louise to take the message to heart. Both she and Julie appear to sense his presence, and he says to Julie, over and over, "I love you", words he never expressed in their life together. The class and parents sing "You'll never walk alone".

Show Spoilers

Carousel was adapted from the 1934 film blanc, Liliom, from a play by Frerenc Molnar.