The coded language being used to criticize this film is ridiculous. Too 'PC' for showing less of the shiftless Negro comic relief...too 'PC' for showing William Warfield sing "Ol' Man River" with operatic sophistication (he was an opera singer, for pity's sake!!)...an accusation that Lena Horne claimed to be promised this film? Where did THAT one come from? According to Ms. Horne's documentary IN HER OWN WORDS (which periodically airs on PBS), she never said she was promised the film, she said she was offered a shot at the stage revival (this, apparently, came from Jerome Kern himself before he passed away) back in 1945-1946. That never materialized and she did 'TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY, probably always keeping the idea of doing the film in the back of her head. MGM, so the story goes, apparently had many speculative cast packages for this film once upon a time: Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald were considered in the 30's as Gaylord and Magnolia, then in the 40's, Tony Martin and Kathryn Grayson-- with either Dinah Shore or Judy Garland as Julie (in retrospect, this wouldn't have been that far-fetched; Shore was a dark-haired, decidedly exotic looking, band singer at the time, and Garland had recorded several Kern songs as singles, including "Bill"), but Garland was already fired from the studio by the time they started filming. The final decision to use the gorgeous Ava Gardner was just fine, thank you; I just wished Gardner was allowed to keep her own singing voice in the final film. And as far as justifying not using Horne (as someone else noted) because she is 'obviously a woman of color:' if the studio felt that way, they wouldn't have created a special 'Light Egyptian' face powder for her to make her darker on film (claiming that without this makeup she photographed white.) The film is wonderful in its rich Technicolor cinematography, costumes, and lush music. Yes, the book has been shortened to make the film less than two hours; otherwise, it would be nearly four hours, just as it is on stage. And when it is remade again as a film (as I imagine it will be someday), will you then complain that it is "too long?"