The title 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.
Singers Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the disapproving father of Lorelei's fiancé to keep an eye on her, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.
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.
When Tim's father shows up at the hospital while the big show opens, Tim is wearing a gold ring on his left ring finger. See more »
[Molly is dunking Tim's head in a sink full of water to try to sober him up]
[she dunks his head under water]
Ma! You're drowning me!
[Molly dunks his head again]
Don't put any ideas in my head
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Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think of this film, my biggest complaint with it is Marilyn Monroe. The studio shoehorned her into this film in their attempt to make the biggest musical extravaganza ever, and she just doesn't fit. She's so out of sync with the other characters that she might as well be from a different planet.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not a huge Marilyn fan, but she was good (and well-cast) in "Some Like It Hot". She's just all wrong for "No Business Like Show Business", and she looks and sounds ridiculous.
To be fair, Johnnie Ray often doesn't hold up well before modern audiences, either, when he sings. It's not that he's bad; it's that his style has come and gone and hardly been seen since. Everything in this movie tends to be at least a little overdone, and asking Johnnie Ray to exaggerate his singing does not produce flattering results.
Still, Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor are as brilliant and exuberant as you could hope. Ethel Merman is, well, Ethel Merman, and exactly right for her part. Dan Dailey is like a reliable locomotive that never disappoints.
The story is a bit plodding at times, but it only exists to set up one gala musical number after another. It only really bogs down when it gets caught up with Marilyn's character. If the studio had just left Marilyn out of it, perhaps giving Mitzi Gaynor the love interest role, and toned down the general effort level just a hair, this would've been one of the all-time greats.
It's still absolutely worth seeing -- in widescreen format, if you possibly can.
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