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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 1,865 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 24 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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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:

Sensation 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

The original stage production of "Show Boat" opened in the Ziegfeld Theater on December 27, 1927 and ran for 575 (or 572) performances, depending on which source one reads. See more »

Goofs

When Joe begins to sing "Ol' Man River" he picks up a board and begins to whittle it. He slices off two pieces and then the camera switches to an oblique shot. But now the board is whittled to a slender rod. See more »

Quotes

Rubber Face: [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] Moo!
Magnolia: [in character as Miss Lucy] Ah, there's the bell. It must be Parson Brown at last!
Gaylord Ravenal: [enters in character as Parson Brown] Good evening, Miss Lucy! I was absorbed in meditation and did not realize night had fallen.
Magnolia: The days are growing shorter, Hamilton, but they're long when one is waiting!
Gaylord Ravenal: As I came across ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

For the opening credits, we see a cardboard cutout display of a show boat parade, with cutout paper townspeople watching it, on a moving turntable. The parade revolves past the camera carrying cardboard banners on which are printed the title and other credits to the film. Most of the parade figures are simply figures, but among them we can discern cutouts of Paul Robeson and Helen Morgan (the appearance of these figures does not coincide with the appearance of their names onscreen). In the background can be seen the shadows of a paddlewheel and a riverboat. See more »

Connections

Referenced in She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Bill
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and P.G. Wodehouse
Sung by Helen Morgan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Best of the Best
18 June 2006 | by (Arizona) – See all my reviews

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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