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
The scenes of the townspeople running toward the dock to greet the arrival of the show boat incorporate footage from the 1929 part-talkie film version. The moment in which this footage is used is very noticeable: for a few seconds, the image looks "speeded up", the way silent films used to look when shown on sound film projectors. See more »
As Ellie May is applying cold cream on her face, the amount she puts on changes from shot to shot. See more »
[the actors are performing the play "The Parson's Bride" on the show boat. Rubber Face, the prop and sound effects man, mistakenly moos like a cow instead of doing a doorbell sound effect]
[in character as Miss Lucy]
Ah, there's the bell. It must be Parson Brown at last!
[enters in character as Parson Brown]
Good evening, Miss Lucy! I was absorbed in meditation and did not realize night had fallen.
The days are growing shorter, Hamilton, but they're long when one is waiting!
As I came across ...
[...] See more »
The rights to this film were bought by M-G-M in 1942, so all prints shown on TV until the mid 1990's had the roaring lion logo at the beginning. However, despite having bought the rights, M-G-M retained Universal Pictures' spinning globe for the "The End: A Universal Picture" credit at the film's close. See more »
I was too young to see this version until well after the 1951 one had fixed a certain standard in my brain. It took a TCM rerun to open my eyes. Mind you, I still like the 1951 production very well indeed, but there is a depth of story, song, and character in this one that makes it overall the better of the two (and the "best" of a larger lot).
First, you have Paul Robeson and Helen Morgan. Both are icons who needed no dubbing no matter where or when they sang standards like "Old Man River" and "Just My Bill." Then there is Hattie McDaniel in a role largely skipped in the 1951 movie. And a greater selection of minor songs prevails as well. Indeed, the inclusion of many black people who are missing from the later film give it a unique richness.
Black and white never looked so good.
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