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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
The first choice to play Ellie May Chipley in this film was Eva Puck, who had played that part in Show Boat's original Broadway run opposite her husband Sammy White as Frank Schultz. However, by the time this film was made, Puck was divorced from White, casting White was given precedence over casting Puck, and Queenie Smith replaced Puck as Ellie May Chipley. See more »
During the scene in which Cap'n Andy introduces his actors to the crowd, a young woman looks off to the side absent-mindedly as the captain begins to introduce Ellie. As soon as he mentions Ellie's name, the young woman seems to snap to attention and automatically smiles broadly and gives out a loud cheer along with the rest of the crowd. See more »
But this is Confederate money!
That's the kind they use in the hills, it's as good as yours, ain't it?
But this quarter - it don't ring!
Whaddaya want for two bits - sleigh bells?
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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 »
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.
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