The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy, Musical Comedy  |   Release Date - Mar 21, 1968 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

A flat and only intermittently entertaining musical from the Disney studios, The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band features a good cast that doesn't get enough of a chance to show what they can do. The score by the Sherman Brothers is catchy and hummable, but aside from the expansive "Dakota", it's not really impressive or up to the task of anchoring a major musical film. More depth, greater inventiveness in melody and more character-driven or --revealing numbers are needed; instead, what we have is pleasant and innocuous. Still, the score is a good deal better than the screenplay, which plods terribly and features terribly leaden dialogue and a surfeit of rather boring (because they are merely repetitive) political arguments. After the dreadful response to its previous "roadshow" musical, The Happiest Millionaire, Disney made sure that Band was of a more manageable length -- but even so, Michael O'Herlihy's pacing makes it feel too long. Fortunately, Walter Brennan is his usual feisty old codger self, Buddy Ebsen gets to do a bit of a soft shoe, Lesley Ann Warren has plenty of charm and Janet Blair is serenely winning. The cast gives Band some much needed zip.