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Adaptation of the Broadway musical. Magnolia Hawks is the lovely but protected, and thus very naive, daughter of Cap'n Andy Hawks, the genial proprietor of a show boat that cruises the Missisippi, and his nagging wife, Parthy. She is best friends with the show boat's star, Julie LaVerne, but Julie and her husband Steve are forced to leave when it is revealed that Julie has "Negro" blood in her, thereby breaking the state law by being married to the white Steve. Magnolia replaces Julie as the show boat's female star, and the show's new male star is the suave gambler Gaylord Ravenal. "Nola" and Gaylord fall in love and marry against Parthy's wishes. They and their young daughter lead the high life when Gaylord is lucky in gambling, but live like dirt when he's unlucky. During one such unlucky streak, a broken Gaylord leaves Nola, and she is forced to start over by returning to the stage. Like Old Man River, as the famous song from this show goes, she just keeps rollin' along. Written by
"Ah Still Suits Me" was written especially for the film to give Paul Robeson a larger role. See more »
As Ellie May is applying cold cream on her face, the amount she puts on changes from shot to shot. See more »
Who cares if my boat goes upstream? Or if the gale bids me go with the river's flow? I drift along with my fancy; sometimes I thank my lucky stars my heart is free...
[as Ellie looks admiringly after Gaylord]
What are you lookin' at?
Ellie May Chipley:
Bet he's some aristocrat.
Yeah? Look at the cracks in his shoes.
... and other times I wonder, where's the mate for me?
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The credits for this film say "A James Whale Production" although Whale did not produce the film, while the film's posters say "A Carl Laemmle, Jr. Production", and Laemmle did produce the film. See more »
This movie is a wonderful stage-to-screen musical film. It stuck to the original musical play and had wonderful stars. Irene Dunne as the young innocent Magnolia Hawks, Allan Jones as the charming gambler Gaylord Ravenal, Charles Winninger as Cap'n Andy Hawks, Paul Robenson as Joe, and Helen Morgan, in the role she originated on stage, as Julie LaVerne. This film is a musical drama with comedy and racial references. This film is a great musical about racial differences and the reactions of people, back then, with different races. That is what makes this film a landmark musical and also one of AFI's 100 Years of Musicals and was #24 out of 25 musicals. This version of "Show Boat" is known to be the best movie version of all three movie versions. The 1929 version was not done very well because it was a very early talkie and the numbers weren't heard correctly. The 1951 version was much too sanitized and it took out the value of the whole show. "Show Boat" is a very entertaining and beautiful film.
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