7.0/10
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53 user 15 critic

Show Boat (1951)

The daughter of a riverboat captain falls in love with a charming gambler, but their fairytale romance is threatened when his luck turns sour.

Director:

George Sidney

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (screen play), Jerome Kern (based on the immortal musical play "Show Boat" by) | 2 more credits »
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ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kathryn Grayson ... Magnolia Hawks
Ava Gardner ... Julie LaVerne
Howard Keel ... Gaylord Ravenal
Joe E. Brown ... Cap'n Andy Hawks
Marge Champion ... Ellie May Shipley
Gower Champion ... Frank Schultz
Robert Sterling ... Steven Baker
Agnes Moorehead ... Parthy Hawks
Leif Erickson ... Pete (as Lief Erickson)
William Warfield William Warfield ... Joe
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Storyline

The "Cotton Blossom", owned by the Hawk family, is the show boat where everyone comes for great musical entertainment down south. Julie LaVerne and her husband are the stars of the show. After a snitch on board calls the local police that Julie (who's half- African-American) is married to a white man, they are forced to leave the show boat. The reason being, that down south interracial marriages are forbidden. Magnolia Hawk, Captain Andy Hawks' daughter, becomes the new show boat attraction and her leading man is Gaylord Ravenal, a gambler. The two instantly fall in love, and marry, without Parthy Hawks approval. Magnolia and Gaylord leave the "Cotton Blossom" for a whirl-wind honeymoon and to live in a Pl: fantasy world. Magnolia soon faces reality quickly, that gambling means more to Gaylord than anything else. Magnolia confronts Gaylord and after he gambles away their fortune he leaves her - not knowing she is pregnant. Magnolia is left penniless and pregnant, and is left to fend ... Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's glorious NEW "SHOW BOAT" See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Magnolia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,295,429 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,293,000, 31 December 1951

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,621,000, 31 December 1951
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It reportedly took only one take for William Warfield to pre-record his rendition of "Ol' Man River" prior to filming. See more »

Goofs

When the Cotton Blossom is pulling away from the dock, at the end of the movie, you can see big clouds of blue smoke pouring out the right side of the ship (near the rear). These are definitely exhaust gases from either a gas or diesel engine that is installed in the ship, and most likely used to power the paddle wheel. See more »

Quotes

Cap'n Andy Hawks: (hearing of Magnolia's engagement to Ravenal) Son, I hope it's not Saturday night one minute, with a cold Monday morning to follow. Whatever happens, Nollie, always remember to smile.
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Crazy Credits

Jerome Kern is never specifically credited for having composed the music. His and Oscar Hammerstein II's joint screen credit reads: "Based on the Immortal Musical Play 'Show Boat' by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II'", although Kern wrote only the music. See more »

Alternate Versions

In most 1980's television prints and videocassette releases of the film, we see stills of the Mississippi River during the credits, rather than seeing "moving shots" of it, as in the original theatrical release, later videocassette prints, the DVD, and TV showings. See more »


Soundtracks

Why Do I Love You?
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Kathryn Grayson & Howard Keel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Tough Musical To Film
3 February 2006 | by dgz78See all my reviews

I've been a Showboat fan for a long time. I've seen it live on stage 5 times as well as the 1936 version and the PBS version. After watching the MGM version again on TCM, I decided that it is almost impossible to make a satisfying version of a Showboat movie.

Its strange to say, but I think "opening up" the stage version took away some of the intimacy a live version has. Showboat's greatness does not come from the standard boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy gets girl storyline. It comes from the music and on stage a number can start with one guy on the docks lamenting the suffering endured along the Mississippi and end with a chorus of voices singing about Ol Man River. The numbers themselves "open up" to fill the stage. But no movie can do that to the same effect.

But my biggest problem with this version is the abbreviation of the story and the musical numbers. The songs Kern and Hammerstein wrote deserve to be fleshed out in all their operatic grandeur. The first act contains what I consider the best back to back to back musical numbers in Broadway history with Make Believe - Ol' Man River - Can't Help Lovin Dat Man and the movie rearranges them out of order and only River is fleshed out. Can't Help should be an 8 minute number with the chorus joining in at the end instead of the barely noticed number in the movie.

Because the music is among the best ever written, it is really hard to make a bad version of Showboat. I'll watch this movie whenever it is on TV but if you really love Showboat, get the EMI 3 CD recording with Frederica Von Stade and Jerry Hadley. And go see it live when you have the chance.


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