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
The first choice to play Ellie May Chipley in this film was Eva Puck, who had played that part in Show Boat's original Broadway run opposite her husband Sammy White as Frank Schultz. However, by the time this film was made, Puck was divorced from White, casting White was given precedence over casting Puck, and Queenie Smith replaced Puck as Ellie May Chipley. See more »
At one point in the story, Cap'n Andy and Parthy discuss hiring a new leading man and leading lady. Just before Cap'n Andy says, "But where do we go from here? We can't give no more shows without a leading man !" he and Parthy are abruptly seen in a slightly different position. See more »
For the opening credits, we see a cardboard cutout display of a show boat parade, with cutout paper townspeople watching it, on a moving turntable. The parade revolves past the camera carrying cardboard banners on which are printed the title and other credits to the film. Most of the parade figures are simply figures, but among them we can discern cutouts of Paul Robeson and Helen Morgan (the appearance of these figures does not coincide with the appearance of their names onscreen). In the background can be seen the shadows of a paddlewheel and a riverboat. See more »
This movie is a wonderful stage-to-screen musical film. It stuck to the original musical play and had wonderful stars. Irene Dunne as the young innocent Magnolia Hawks, Allan Jones as the charming gambler Gaylord Ravenal, Charles Winninger as Cap'n Andy Hawks, Paul Robenson as Joe, and Helen Morgan, in the role she originated on stage, as Julie LaVerne. This film is a musical drama with comedy and racial references. This film is a great musical about racial differences and the reactions of people, back then, with different races. That is what makes this film a landmark musical and also one of AFI's 100 Years of Musicals and was #24 out of 25 musicals. This version of "Show Boat" is known to be the best movie version of all three movie versions. The 1929 version was not done very well because it was a very early talkie and the numbers weren't heard correctly. The 1951 version was much too sanitized and it took out the value of the whole show. "Show Boat" is a very entertaining and beautiful film.
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