Adaptation of the Broadway musical. Magnolia Hawks is the lovely but protected, and thus very naive, daughter of Cap'n Andy Hawks, the genial proprietor of a show boat that cruises the Missisippi, and his nagging wife, Parthy. She is best friends with the show boat's star, Julie LaVerne, but Julie and her husband Steve are forced to leave when it is revealed that Julie has "Negro" blood in her, thereby breaking the state law by being married to the white Steve. Magnolia replaces Julie as the show boat's female star, and the show's new male star is the suave gambler Gaylord Ravenal. "Nola" and Gaylord fall in love and marry against Parthy's wishes. They and their young daughter lead the high life when Gaylord is lucky in gambling, but live like dirt when he's unlucky. During one such unlucky streak, a broken Gaylord leaves Nola, and she is forced to start over by returning to the stage. Like Old Man River, as the famous song from this show goes, she just keeps rollin' along.Written by
This version of "Show Boat" was voted one of the top 25 Greatest Film Musicals by the American Film Institute, on 3 September 2006. See more »
When Joe begins to sing "Ol' Man River" he picks up a board and begins to whittle it. He slices off two pieces and then the camera switches to an oblique shot. But now the board is whittled to a slender rod. See more »
Why, dat's my fa-vo-right song!
Mah man is shif'less, An' good for nuthin' too, He's mah man jes' de same, He's never near me, When dere's work to do...
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The credits for this film say "A James Whale Production" although Whale did not produce the film, while the film's posters say "A Carl Laemmle, Jr. Production", and Laemmle did produce the film. See more »
There are a couple of famous, great songs in the opening 15 minutes of this film that hooked me in to watch the entire two-hour film.
I don't think the two-hour production ever wound up matching those early minutes but I still enjoyed it enough to give it "8 stars." Also, I still think it's better than the more-famous 1951 color re-make. It's a shame this 1936 film is not available on DVD, at least at this point here in the U.S.
Funny, but I did not particularly care for the two leading actors voices - Irene Dunne and Allan Jones. They are just two high-pitched for my tastes. I preferred the deep voice of Paul Robeson and was pleasantly surprised how well Hatie McDaniel sang.
The fun part of the film, however, wasn't the music but the story. It's pretty entertaining and a key reason for that was Charles Winniger, who keeps it alive with good humor. All the characters, except for Helen Westley's, are "good guys." and nice to follow. The story has a good mixture of drama, humor, sadness, sentimentality and song.
Also, there is some nice closeup photography with some great facial expressions. Some just make you laugh right out loud.
I am in agreement with those who think "Show Boat" was the best-ever and very good feel-good film.
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