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There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 16 December 1954 (USA)
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.

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

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Cast

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

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


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Details

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Release Date:

16 December 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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

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Technical Specs

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

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Vicky passes Tim in the beginning of the movie, he says to her, "Well, if it isn't Ethel Barrymore!" Gene Kelly said the same thing to Debbie Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain (1952), in which Donald O'Connor also starred. See more »

Goofs

In the "Heatwave" number, Marilyn Monroe actually accidentally pokes her finger in a dancer's eye, something you can see on the DVD on slow motion. The dancer is seen trying to hide behind the tree with his hand over his eye, but is enough of a trooper to continue with the number. Right after Marilyn pokes the dancer in the eye she performs a twirl, pokes her head between the branches of the fake tree and gives the dancer a kiss as an apology (it's quick but definitely a peck on the cheek to make up for the eye poke). See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #5.24 (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Puttin' on the Ritz
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Instrumental performed by the nightclub orchestra prior to Vicky's audition
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User Reviews

 
Another Irving Berlin Songbook
21 January 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

There's No Business Like Show Business has the distinction of being the last of the Irving Berlin songbook musicals filmed. It came out the same year as White Christmas, also of the same genre.

Take a listen to the background music of films like Holiday Inn, Blue Skies, Alexander's Ragtime Band, and this one. I defy you to find one non-Berlin note in the film and that's no accident. The more songs of Irving Berlin used, the more money he made. He was one shrewd businessman Irving, most of the time.

The title song is identified with Ethel Merman and it was introduced in Annie Get Your Gun. Merman like Mary Martin had a conspicuous lack of success in Hollywood as much as she was an icon on Broadway. She only did the screen version of two of her Broadway hits, Anything Goes and Call Me Madam. That's two more than Mary Martin did.

Anyway, I think the genesis of There's No Business Like Show Business probably came about when Call Me Madam became such a hit and the movie money people saw how the chemistry was between her and Donald O'Connor. So O'Connor was signed to play one of her three children. The other two children were Johnnie Ray and Mitzi Gaynor.

The plot such as it is, is the story of the Donahue family between both World Wars. The father of the aforementioned children is Dan Dailey and he and Merman do some good Irving Berlin numbers together. I've always marvelled at how graceful Dan Dailey moved on the screen in his musical films. He was not a creative sort in the same way Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly were. Probably if he had been, his reputation would be higher today. But he was a pleasing entertainer every time you saw him.

By all accounts it wasn't a happy film for Ethel. Marilyn Monroe is in the film and Ethel was jealous of her. Not that Monroe wasn't her usual difficult self. Probably that helped the plot because it does call for the two to be at odds. Merman believes that Monroe has led Donald O'Connor astray.

Mitzi Gaynor was a wonderful talent as well. Too bad she wasn't born twenty years earlier, what a big star she would have been in the thirties and forties in Hollywood musicals then. Good singer and one fabulous dancer.

The plot does get kind of sticky in spots and Johnnie Ray didn't set the screen on fire when he wasn't singing. No accident he didn't become a film star.

Still for those of us who bless the day Irving Berlin put down his first notes of an original song, it's worth watching.


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