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There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 16 December 1954 (USA)
2:45 | Trailer

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Molly and Terry Donahue, plus their three children, are The Five Donahues. Son Tim meets hat-check girl Vicky and the family act begins to fall apart.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Johnnie Ray ...
Richard Eastham ...
Charles Gibbs
Eddie Dugan, Vicky's Agent
Father Dineen
Helen - Hatcheck Girl
Lillian Sawyer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ed Oliver ...
Bandleader (as Eddie Oliver)


Molly and Terry Donahue, plus their three children, are The Five Donahues. Son Tim meets hat-check girl Vicky and the family act begins to fall apart. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 December 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(optical prints)| (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


Donald O'Connor had separated from his wife of ten years. She and Dan Dailey, who played O'Connor's father, were dating during the shooting of the film. After filming wrapped, the O'Connors divorced and shortly thereafter Gwen Carter and Dan Dailey married. See more »


When Tim goes to Vicki's and gets her, her assistant was going by with the purple dress and Vicki calls her assistant as Nellie and after Nellie says that it (the color) was what director picked, Vicki calls her assistant as Millie. See more »


Molly Donahue: [speaking of their children] I want them to have an education... a real education. They have to learn arithmetic and spelling and geography.
Terence Donahue: You never went past the sixth grade... and it was probably the fourth grade, because you said it was the sixth.
Molly Donahue: My age is the only thing I lie about, and I don't add on, I take off.
Terence Donahue: All right, the sixth grade, but there's nothing wrong with your arithmetic. You can whistle 'Mandy', do an 'Off to Buffalo', and count the house at the same time, and tell me ...
See more »


Referenced in The Cleveland Show: Murray Christmas (2010) See more »


A Man Chases a Girl (Until She Catches Him)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Donald O'Connor and Marilyn Monroe
Danced by Donald O'Connor
See more »

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User Reviews

Mr. Berlin, Madame Merman and Miss Monroe in unequal measure!
3 June 2003 | by (Portland, Oregon) – See all my reviews

When Darryl F. Zanuck virtually forced exhibitors and most of his fellow studio mogul rivals to adopt CinemaScope as a panacea for TV's devastation of Hollywood's weekly box office bonanza, he dictated that virtually all of Twentieth's output was to be filmed in that eye-stretching process. "There's No Business Like Show Business," directed by that old pro, Walter Lang, seems to be the prime example of Darryl's minions saying to their boss: "You want wide? We'll give you W-I-D-E!!"

Everything about it was designed and lensed to emphasize the original ratio of the CinemaScope process and viewing it on a video that isn't letterboxed must look like what a one-eyed person must experience in everyday life. I never did see it in a theater but I have seen it on a TV broadcast which more-or-less recreated its widescreen ratio. It's a glorious mish-mash. Every Berlin tune that could be stuffed into it is given at least one run-through; John de Cuir's production design must have occupied every inch of several of Twentieth's West Los Angeles soundstages; Ethel Merman, after her terrific movie repeat of her Broadway success in "Call Me Madam" for Fox (and now, as of 2005, available on video), trumpets away in number after number (Must have been an ear-rending experience over those original four-track stereophonic sound systems.); Dan Dailey, Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor give it their energetic best; and then there's Marilyn. What can we say, with all that so sadly, in her personal life, came after she reluctantly fulfilled her contractual obligation in this one? She dazzles in, let's face it, a rather vulgar way, and seems shoehorned in to boost the potential box office. And they even added Johnnie Ray, a huge jukebox success at the time (and, due to his hearing deficiency, performing his songs at an even greater volume than La Merman.)

All in all this one shouldn't be missed if you want to view an example of Hollywood at its brassiest, in a production fairly bulging with elements that may not coalesce very harmoniously but which was, no doubt, worth the price of admission to those movie palaces before they were carved up to become the precursors of today's sterile multiplexes.

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