I liked this version better than the movie version with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Lee Remick, Anthony Franciosa and Orson Welles. Jason Robards version of Will Varner was more subtle than Welles in his facial expressions. Robards was the actor's actor. What a brilliant portrayal of Will Varner. Excellent performances from the leads, and I was particularly impressed by William Russ' portrayal of Jody Varner. Judith Ivey was excellent as the daughter of Will Varner that Ben Quick tries to seduce. Cybill Shepherd was very good as Eula, using her beauty and sexuality to entice every man she can. Ava Gardner had a small role. A beautiful older woman and paramour of Will Varner. Just looking at her you are reminded that not one actress in Hollywood back in Gardner's time could hold a candle to her beauty. Rent the 1951 version of Showboat if you want to drool over Ava Gardner. In the closing scene of that movie, when she brings her fingers to her lips to gently blow a kiss toward the Cotton Blossom, I tear up every time. Don Johnson made an excellent Ben Quick. His lean, toned body is shown off several times throughout the movie in various levels of undress. The scene where he and Noel finally do it is really hot. He met the challenge of this role. The young man who played Miss Minnie's helper was extremely talented. Kudos to all the supporting actors. If you haven't seen this, go do so right now.
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