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Show Boat (1936)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Musical  -  17 May 1936 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,898 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 23 critic

Despite her mother's objections, the naive young daughter of a show boat captain is thrust into the limelight as the company's new leading lady.

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, (stage play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Show Boat (1936)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Charles Winninger ...
...
Joe
...
Helen Westley ...
Queenie Smith ...
Sammy White ...
Donald Cook ...
...
Francis X. Mahoney ...
Rubber Face
...
Sunnie O'Dea ...
Arthur Hohl ...
...
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Storyline

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 Tommy Peter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Here Comes the Grand and Glorious "Show Boat" (version of 1936) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 May 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edna Ferber's Show Boat  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of copyright problems involving a real "Cotton Blossom" show boat sailing the Mississippi in the 1930's, the name of the showboat in the film had to be changed to "Cotton Palace". This required omitting the second half of the opening chorus, in which the townspeople sing about the boat while the stevedores continue singing about their daily work, and the "cotton blossom" growing on the levee. The section sung by the stevedores is still heard in the film. See more »

Goofs

At the end of "Ol' Man River", Joe smiles while his and the male chorus's voices linger for about three seconds on the soundtrack. See more »

Quotes

Gaylord Ravenal: [singing] 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...
Frank: [as Ellie looks admiringly after Gaylord] What are you lookin' at?
Ellie May Chipley: Bet he's some aristocrat.
Frank: Yeah? Look at the cracks in his shoes.
Gaylord Ravenal: [singing] ... and other times I wonder, where's the mate for me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Though this film version is an extremely faithful adaptation of the Kern-Hammerstein musical version of the novel (rather than the novel itself), and although the film retains all the major changes that Hammerstein made to the novel when adapting it for the stage, the on-screen and poster title for the film reads "Edna Ferber's 'Show Boat'" rather than "Kern and Hammerstein's 'Show Boat'". See more »

Connections

Featured in The American Experience: Midnight Ramble (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Cotton Blossom
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by offscreen mixed chorus (during opening credits) and in opening scene by mixed chorus of dock workers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
I Agree: This Is The Preferred Version
5 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are a couple of famous, great songs in the opening 15 minutes of this film that hooked me in to watch the entire two-hour film.

I don't think the two-hour production ever wound up matching those early minutes but I still enjoyed it enough to give it "8 stars." Also, I still think it's better than the more-famous 1951 color re-make. It's a shame this 1936 film is not available on DVD, at least at this point here in the U.S.

Funny, but I did not particularly care for the two leading actors voices - Irene Dunne and Allan Jones. They are just two high-pitched for my tastes. I preferred the deep voice of Paul Robeson and was pleasantly surprised how well Hatie McDaniel sang.

The fun part of the film, however, wasn't the music but the story. It's pretty entertaining and a key reason for that was Charles Winniger, who keeps it alive with good humor. All the characters, except for Helen Westley's, are "good guys." and nice to follow. The story has a good mixture of drama, humor, sadness, sentimentality and song.

Also, there is some nice closeup photography with some great facial expressions. Some just make you laugh right out loud.

I am in agreement with those who think "Show Boat" was the best-ever and very good feel-good film.


23 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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