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
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 »
About five minutes in, Cap'n Andy Hawks is introducing Miss Ellie May Chipley, the toast of Cairo, Illinois. He mispronounces Cairo. His pronunciation is for the capital of Egypt. Cairo, IL is pronounced Kay'ro, with perhaps other local variants. But NEVER as the Egyptian capital. See more »
I gits weary / An' sick o' tryin' / I'm tired o' livin' / An' scared o' dyin' / But Ol' Man River / He jes' keeps rollin' along!
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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 »
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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