Carousel is one of the screen's most intelligent musicals. Director Henry King, who had begun his career as a stage actor, does a commendable job of transferring the material from its Broadway origins, even though the structure of the Rodgers & Hammerstein play from which it was adapted was significantly altered. Gordon MacRae, a fortuitous last-minute replacement for Frank Sinatra, gives a thoughtful, vibrant performance as carnival barker Billy Bigelow, who returns from a self-inflicted death in an attempt to find redemption. The supporting cast features an unusual blend of Hollywood actors, opera stars, and Broadway dancers -- and it's fun to see Tor Johnson perform in something other than an Ed Wood film. Charles Clarke's wide-screen cinematography adds substantially to the film's ambiance. The film's often downbeat tone, however, did not resonate with 1950s audiences, making Carousel a surprising box-office flop.
by Richard Gilliam review