First of all, thank you Quinn! And everyone who said what a wonderful musical this is. You are all completely right - it's marvelous. I can't understand how it didn't make AFI's top 25 list. From the first scene on a train, I was impressed by how the words make the music in this show. It fits because of how words are the main character, Harold Hill's stock in trade. The patter of his songs are just impressive too - I'll already say "Ya Got Trouble" is my favorite song from the show with Harold's persuasive, conversational and completely brilliant warning against the evils of a pool table. The catchy cadence of the words and how the backing vocals of his audience adds to the music of it is genius.
Genius is pretty much how I describe this show though - the music and lyrics are exceptional, Robert Preston as Harold is practically dripping charm and assurance and makes his brand of con-man so very attractive. Even though Marian the librarian is a very sensible and intelligent woman, it's completely believable that Harold wins her over in the end! That romance is another exceptional aspect to the musical. Because Marian is 'the sadder and wiser girl', I found her already very appealing, and perfect for Harold who eventually becomes a better person because of her. And Harold also makes Marian a better person too - so it's the best kind of romance.
Watching this, I was also struck by how appealing the setting of turn of the century America. I love the music from the time (barbershop quartets are so good!) and the style, and the aesthetic. At least as it has been filtered to me through popular culture. So this movie also appealed to me for that.
Even though Harold is a liar and a cheat, there's something about him that makes you want him to get the girl, and be a winner. And The Music Man delivers on that, and is imbued with so much joy and wonder and humor that it's absolutely a film everyone should watch!