The film begins with Magnolia, daughter of Captain Andy Hawks and his domineering wife Parthy, enjoying her childhood aboard her father's show boat. Parthy, irritated over the supposed influence of leading lady Julie (Magnolia's idol and best friend) fires her, despite her husband's objections. Many years later, Magnolia is a young woman and becomes a leading lady. Her leading man is Gaylord Ravenal, a riverboat gambler with whom she falls in love and elopes. But the sudden and unexpected death of Captain Andy forces the couple to leave the boat and move to Chicago rather than endure the disapproving Parthy, and Ravenal's gambling luck soon runs out. Then, Parthy announces she's coming to visit. Written by
Albert Sanchez Moreno
The prologue gives modern audiences a rare chance to see white actress Tess Gardella play Queenie, the African-American cook, in blackface. Although frowned upon by today's standards, it is nevertheless a fascinating curio from a different era. See more »
The first Show Boat performance depicted happens at night. But when Captain Andy rushes Julie Dozier along the deck to get on stage, they are in bright sunlight. See more »
Herald of summer - the whistle of the show boat just around the bend.
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All performers in the prologue are identified verbally. See more »
worth a look, although the 1951 version is still the best
It's such a pity that so much of the audio has been lost. I realize some of the film is supposed to be silent, but those scenes with obviously missing dialogue, are frustrating indeed. If it weren't for that, and the cowardly decision to eliminate the racial angle of Julie's storyline, I'd probably give this version of "Show Boat" 7/10. Despite it's flaws, the performances are very good and emotionally engaging. The actors are more subtle and natural than I expected them to be. I only hope that more of the lost score and audio tracks are discovered and restored someday. Shame on the studio for not taking better care of this historically important film.
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