The titular river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others.
When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue, he passes himself off as an actor playing him in order to get closer to the beautiful star of the show, Amanda Dell.
Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei's fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.
Two scenes surprise, both with Marilyn Monroe: her singing of the "After You Get What You Want..." number in a ultra-tight, combination flesh-colored/white gown. It's obvious that the image portrayed is that she could be nude, with the frilly white covering her talents. The second is the famous "Heat Wave" number, in a skimpy outfit, with her navel appropriately covered, yet below is a flesh-colored "window" for more erotic symbolism. In 1954 nudity could NOT be shown, but those scenes probably BARELY squeaked by the censors. The film depicts the traveling, singing/dancing Donahue Family, headed by brassy Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey, with sons Donald O'Connor, Johnnie Ray (who wants to be a priest), and daughter Mitzi Gaynor. It's obvious the Monroe character was an afterthought to boost the film's success; the actress really didn't want to do the part, the studio allegedly counteracted by upping her salary and promising her the lead in "The Seven Year Itch" (1955). Nevertheless, Monroe looks great and is unforgettable, comedically, dramatically and musically. O'Connor is great fun and Gaynor is a knockout dancer. Between some slow stages, musical numbers are expertly staged, with magnificent sets and superb color schemes all throughout. The finale is surprisingly touching with a rousing title tune reprise by all; only way to watch this is on the pristine-restored widescreem (2:55 to 1) DVD.
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