Robert Preston couldn't be any more perfect as Harold Hill, the smiling scoundrel who plans to trick tiny River City, Iowa out of its hard-earned cash through a bizarre plan: He creates bands using the local kids (which allegedly keeps them from getting into trouble at, gasp, pool halls and the like). Only Hill skips town with the money for the instruments before their first concert. Of course, it doesn't pan out that way when Hill falls in love... and when his detractors close in on him, well, sparks will fly. A great adaptation of a great musical, with all the parts working perfectly.
Think of it as the flipside of Breakfast at Tiffany's: Here's what happens when a brassy city-girl socialite winds up with an orphaned nephew in her care and marries a southern plantation owner. Hilarity ensues as cultures clash galore. Set during the Great Depression, Auntie Mame is a very funny and touching story, even if it rambles endlessly, clocking in at nearly 2 1/2 hours long.