The daughter of a riverboat captain falls in love with a charming gambler, but their fairytale romance is threatened when his luck turns sour.

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(screen play), (based on the immortal musical play "Show Boat" by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ellie May Shipley (as Marge)
Gower Champion ...
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...
...
Pete (as Lief Erickson)
William Warfield ...
Joe
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Storyline

The "Cotton Blossom", owned by the Hawk family, is the show boat where everyone comes for great musical entertainment down south. Julie Laverne and her husband are the stars of the show. After, a snitch on board calls the local police that Julie (who's half- African-American) is married to a whiteman, they are forced to leave the show boat. The reason being, that down south interracial marriages are forbidden. Magnolia Hawk, Captain Andy Hawks daughter, becomes the new show boat attraction and her leading man is Gaylord Ravenal, a gambler. The two instantly fall in love, and marry, without Parthy Hawks approval. Magnolia and Gaylord leave the, "Cotton Blossom", for a whirl wind honeymoon and being to live in a Pl: fantasy world. Magnolia soon faces reality quickly, that gambling means more to Gaylord than anything else. Magnolia confront Gaylord and after he gambles away their fortune he leaves her - not knowing she is pregnant. Magnolia is left penniless and pregnant, and is left to ... Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's glorious NEW "SHOW BOAT" See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 September 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Magnolia  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,295,429 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 11, 1952 with Ava Gardner, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, Gower Champion and William Warfield reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

When the townspeople are rushing to see the show boat at the beginning, the camera crew's shadow is visible on the road. See more »

Quotes

Magnolia: [to Gaylord Ravenal] I know there's no other woman... no flesh-and-blood woman. But I can't fight this Lady Luck of yours, this fancy queen in her green felt dress.
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Crazy Credits

Some prints of this film spell Leif Erickson's name the correct way in the opening credits; others spell it as "Lief Erickson". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Old Explorers (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Make Believe
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Spared No Expense
27 July 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When MGM acquired the rights to Show Boat for the Arthur Freed unit, no expense was spared in making this one of the most expensive films the studio had ever produced. A whole riverboat was constructed as well as the Natchez landing was completely built on a location on a lake which served as turn of the last century Mississippi river locale.

No doubt also that Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson sang beautifully together. Those three Jerome Kern ballads, Make Believe, Why Do I Love You? and You Are Love were just written for their voices.

Ava Gardner is a beautiful and fetching Julia. Annette Warren's dubbing of Julie LaVerne's songs Can't Help Loving That Man and Bill perfectly matched Ava's speaking voice.

The problem I've always felt with this version is that Howard Keel is too strong a character to be playing Gaylord Ravenal who is essentially a weak personality. Allan Jones in the 1937 version perfectly captured Ravenal's frailty.

That 1937 version also had two people from the original Broadway production who made those parts all their own, Helen Morgan as Julie and Charles Winninger as Captain Andy. And it had the incomparable Paul Robeson though William Warfield is a fabulous Joe.

The singing of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II score is in the major leagues. The rest of the film however is in a minor key when compared with the earlier sound version with Allan Jones and Irene Dunne.


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