MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 6,479 this week

Show Boat (1936)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Musical  -  17 May 1936 (USA)
7.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,911 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.

Director:

Writers:

, (stage play), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 09 Sep 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 08 Apr 2013
 
a list of 44 titles
created 07 Jul 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 36 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Show Boat" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Show Boat (1936)

Show Boat (1936) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Show Boat.

User Polls

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Despotic King Louis XIV discovers he has a twin brother who has grown up under the tutelage of his foster father, the patriotic musketeer D'Artagnan.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, Warren William
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A seaplane departs for China. On board are a nurse escaping a loveless marriage to do work with refugees, a woman hoping to surprise her estranged son, a wealthy heiress trying to distance ... See full summary »

Director: James Whale
Stars: Madge Evans, John Boles, Bruce Cabot
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Unscrupulously ambitious Brutus Jones escapes from jail after killing a guard and through bluff and bravado finds himself the emperor of a Caribbean island.

Director: Dudley Murphy
Stars: Paul Robeson, Dudley Digges, Frank H. Wilson
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The Great Garrick (Brian Aherne) is the most celebrated London theater actor of his day (eighteenth century) and is invited to Paris to star at the Comedie Francaise, the most important ... See full summary »

Director: James Whale
Stars: Brian Aherne, Olivia de Havilland, Edward Everett Horton
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A prosecutor trying a case where a husband shot his adulterous wife begins to suspect that his own wife is having an affair, and starts to have his own thoughts about killing her.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Warren William, Gail Patrick, Constance Moore
The Road Back (1937)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After World War I, a group of former German soldiers try to adjust to civilian life.

Director: James Whale
Stars: John 'Dusty' King, Richard Cromwell, Slim Summerville
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When a famous doctor kills his adulterous wife, he is defended by his best friend, an attorney--who suspects that his own wife is having an affair.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Frank Morgan, Paul Lukas
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An Auustrian prince flees his homeland when the Nazis take over and settles in London. He meets a beautiful Austrian émigré who makes him realize his mistake in leaving. He makes a deal ... See full summary »

Directors: James Whale, Victor Fleming, and 1 more credit »
Stars: George Brent, Martha Scott, Paul Lukas
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After a night of wild partying at a friend's house, a couple wake up to discover the party's host has been murdered in his bed. A detective is called in to investigate, but his ... See full summary »

Director: James Whale
Stars: Edward Arnold, Robert Young, Constance Cummings
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Beautiful woman mistakes a prince's butler for the prince.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Elissa Landi, Paul Lukas, Nils Asther
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young lady leaves her brutal husband and meets another man aboard a ship.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Diana Wynyard, Colin Clive, Frank Lawton
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: James Whale
Stars: Wallace Beery, Frank Morgan, Maureen O'Sullivan
Edit

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 ...
...
Edit

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:

The grandest show you'll ever know See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Special permission had to be granted from the Hays Office in order to retain the famous "miscegenation" sequence in the film. Miscegenation was banned as a film subject and the scene had been excluded from the 1929 film version. See more »

Goofs

As Ellie May is applying cold cream on her face, the amount she puts on changes from shot to shot. See more »

Quotes

Parthy: He's a murderer!
Magnolia: Mama!
Parthy: You're letting my daughter marry a murderer!
Cap'n Andy Hawks: Who's the murderer?
Parthy: That Ravenal! He killed a man.
Magnolia: Gay!
Cap'n Andy Hawks: Then why ain't he in jail, or hanged?
The Sheriff: The jury figured the gentleman he killed oughta went anyhow.
Parthy: Andy Hawks, are you going to stand there and let your only child marry a murderer?
Cap'n Andy Hawks: Oh don't be so narrow minded, Mrs. Hawks, I killed a man myself once.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
(1927) (uncredited)
(Reprise)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Irene Dunne
Danced by Sammy White
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"The Kind of Gentlemen It's A Pleasure to Wait on."
17 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When we talk about adaptions of Show Boat for the screen, we talk first about this one and then the others. If for no other reason than it gives us a chance to see three of the original performers from the original Broadway cast, Charles Winninger, Helen Morgan, and Francis X. Mahoney. Their performances on stage and on the screen became career roles for each.

Also Allan Jones and Irene Dunne are as perfect a Gaylord Ravenal and Magnolia Hawkes as you'll ever find. Irene was THE Jerome Kern girl on the silver screen, she was lucky to be in three musical adaptions of his shows, this one and Roberta and Sweet Adeline. His songs and her voice seem to be made for each other.

Ravenal's part is one of the most difficult to do in musicals. In the 1951 Show Boat Howard Keel sang wonderfully, but he projects too strong an image for the part. Gaylord Ravenal is a charming, but a very weak character. Allan Jones was the one who really got it right and it's on Ravenal's performance that the whole plot of the show turns on. He really rings true in Hattie McDaniel's assessment of him as the kind of gentlemen it's a pleasure to wait on.

James Whale as director really captures the spirit of 20 years on each side of the turn of the last century with warts and all. Show Boat as a play was bold in its day in tackling racism and miscegenation. Even when this was produced first in 1927 there were still miscegenation laws on the books. He gave Helen Morgan the career role she was most identified with.

Helen Morgan personified the phrase torch singer. From 1927 until this film she had descended into alcoholism and five years from this film she would have passed away from the effects of same. She had a career in Hollywood as well as Broadway and this was her final effort. How fortunate we are to have a filmed record of her performance and her singing of Can't Help Lovin' That Man and Bill.

Ravenal and Magnolia are given three great ballads to sing, classics all, Make Believe and You Are Love and Why Do I Love You. The first two are sung by Jones and Dunne and the third was eliminated from the film although it is heard on the soundtrack. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein wrote another song I Have the Room Above which is also a most charming duet.

Of course no discussion of Show Boat is complete without Paul Robeson and Ol' Man River. Believe it or not Robeson wasn't in the original Broadway cast. The Broadway opening was delayed and Robeson had some other contractual commitments in 1927. Another black baritone concert singer named Jules Bledsoe introduced Ol' Man River, arguably the greatest song Jerome Kern ever wrote. It became a signature song for Paul Robeson in both stage performances of Show Boat and in this film. His presence in singing Ol' Man River is another reason for this being the greatest Show Boat of all.

Robeson also has a duet with Hattie McDaniel in I Still Suits Me another song Kern and Hammerstein wrote for this film. It's a nice comedy duet. In fact I would say that Show Boat and Annie Get Your Gun are the two shows with the most hit songs in them ever written.

Show Boat is a grand American classic. Somewhere as I write this review there is a company performing right now on this planet. It will be so for generations to come.


33 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question about Camera Work in 'Old Man River' blacksunday52
Disappointed IreneEDevine
Warfield or Robeson- whose rendition do you like better? TheLittleSongbird
Hattie !! tarafan-1
Irene Dunne in 1936 Show Boat JessQ
Showboat 1936 Film gordon-blackburn
Discuss Show Boat (1936) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?