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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
See  »

Did You Know?


During the filming of the scene where Donald O'Connor and Marilyn Monroe were kissing, there were over 1,000 onlookers who had drifted over from other sets. See more »


On the billboard on opening night the Donohue daughter's name is spelled "Katie"; on the poster for "34th week" it is spelled "Katy". See more »


[Molly is dunking Tim's head in a sink full of water to try to sober him up]
Tim Donahue: Ma!
[she dunks his head under water]
Tim Donahue: Ma! You're drowning me!
[Molly dunks his head again]
Molly Donahue: Don't put any ideas in my head
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Chevy Chase/Marianne Faithfull (1980) 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

That extra bow!
2 June 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

20th Century Fox was no match for MGM when it came to musicals. Daryl F. Zanuk decided to gamble with this film where the talents of a Broadway star, Ethel Merman, would be showcased. Ms. Merman in spite of being the toast of Broadway, never made it big in Hollywood. After all, she was not a radiant beauty, but oh, could she belt a song that could be heard at the top of the balcony! Phoebe and Henry Ephron were brought on board to write the screen treatment and Walter Lang directed.

The musical was also blessed in that Irving Berlin's music is heard throughout in all its glory. Ms. Merman was the perfect actress to interpret the songs written by Mr. Berlin. They made a perfect duo, even though, for some viewers not used to Ethel Merman's singing style, it might prove an uneasy combination.

The story is simple enough. It follows the Donahues from the early days of vaudeville through some glittering years after. Molly and Terence Donahue had two sons, Tim and Steve, and a daughter, Katy. As the children grow up, the parents' popularity began to recede. The film deals with Tim, as a young man, as he falls for Vicky Parker, a beautiful singer who makes it big on her own. Vickie, who is more interested in her own career neglects Tim. As a result, Tim goes on his own to find himself, away from his family and Vickie.

The best thing in the film is Ethel Merman. She was a legendary figure and as Molly Donahue, she is at her best. Dan Dailey was the perfect partner for Ms. Merman. Donald O'Connor is also seen doing some fine dancing. Marilyn Monroe was a lovely woman to look at. As a singer, she had a small voice, but she used it well making the songs her own. Mitzi Gaynor plays Katy. Johnnie Ray, a popular singer of that period is terribly miscast. His Steve is the worst thing in the movie.

Although predictable, this film has some great things going for it. Some of the musical numbers are well staged and will not disappoint. On the whole as the camaraderie expressed by the title of the film is evident in the musical.

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

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