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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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 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 ... Joe
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Storyline

The "Cotton Blossom", owned by the Hawk family, is the show boat everyone goes to for great musical entertainment down south. Julie LaVerne and her husband are the stars of the show. After a someone tells the local police that Julie (who's half- African-American) is married to a white man, they are forced to leave the show boat because 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. Soon after, Magnolia realizes 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, penniless and pregnant, and is left to fend for herself, and make a new start. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hundreds In The Cast! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The truncated Show Boat sequence in Till the Clouds Roll By (1946) prompted MGM to produce a full-fledged remake of the play. Before production started, the studio bought the prints and negatives of Universal Pictures' two previous film versions, and ceased further distribution of both. The 1929 part-talkie was considered lost until its laserdisc release in the 1990s, with the Ziegfeld prologue surviving only in audio form. The 1936 version surfaced in the mid-1980s on the early cable television network Wometco Home Theater, and was released on videocassette soon after. 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

Julie: Will that do, Simon Legree?
Jake Green: Fine, Julie. Now let's see the costume for the finale, huh?
Julie: Yes, massah.
Jake Green: Attagirl.
Julie: Yes, massah.
Jake Green: That's right.
Julie: Yes, massah.
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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

Early preview showings of this film featured Ava Gardner's own singing voice, before the film was officially released with Ava overdubbed by Annette Warren. See more »

Connections

Featured in Changing Stages (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Mis'ry's Comin' Round
(1927) (partial) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Hummed by off-screen chorus
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User Reviews

 
Forget the story, enjoy the singing...
26 January 2007 | by neilmacSee all my reviews

Don't worry about comparisons with the original, supposedly weak story line, etc, etc - just suspend belief and enjoy it as a musical.

The key vocalists are absolutely first rate: Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson and William Warfield were at the tops of their games here. The superb, effortless vocals from Keel and Grayson are lessons on how to sing - you'll never hear 'Make Believe' sung better than this.

William Warfield's version of 'Old Man River' is just magic. People usually talk about Paul Robson in the same breath as 'Old Man River' but none of Robson's renditions can match this performance. Warfield is a true bass (Robson was a bass-baritone) and delivers this song with magnificent power and resonance. Warfield is The Man.

Sit back and enjoy the music...


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Show Boat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,295,429 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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