Rodgers and Hammerstein’s brilliant stage musical came to the big screen in 1956 with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae in the lead roles.
Pretty, innocent and impressionable young factory girl Julie Jordan (Jones) meets and quickly marries – against the warnings of the townsfolk – carnival barker and ne’er-do-well Billy Bigelow (MacRae) and is soon expecting his child.
Billy – being unemployed and worried about not having enough money to provide for the child – falls under the influence of his shifty sailor friend Jigger Craigin (Cameron Mitchell), and Billy is killed during a failed robbery.
After 15 years languishing in purgatory, Billy is given the opportunity by The Starkeeper (Gene Lockhart) to return to Earth for 24 hours and try to square things, especially with his troubled 15-year-old daughter Louise (Susan Luckey), who has suffered throughout her young life because of her father’s iniquities.
The film was shot on location at Boothbay Harbour, Maine, with stunning effect in the new CinemaScope 55 medium.
Despite being a critical success and receiving many positive reviews, the film was unsuccessful at the box office, but the soundtrack album became a best seller. A version of the song You’ll Never Walk Alone was a huge hit for Gerry & The Pacemakers in the 1960s and became the club song for Liverpool Football (soccer) Club.
Frank Sinatra was initially cast as Billy Bigelow but walked off the production before filming began.
Mr Enoch Snow