The titular river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others.
When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue, he passes himself off as an actor playing him in order to get closer to the beautiful star of the show, Amanda Dell.
Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei's fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.
The Donahues - husband and wife Terry and Molly, and their three offspring Steve, Katy and Tim - are a song and dance act. Their survival as a performing act of five and as a family collective is presented. Under their family name, Terry and Molly were a successful vaudeville act in the early 1920s, they who subsequently under the names the Three Donahues, the Four Donahues and the Five Donahues, trotted out Steve, then Steve and Katy, then Steve, Katy and Tim on stage as early as they being toddlers. Molly was able to convince Terry to give the kids a stable education at a boarding school as the two of them continued their on the road career in Molly wanting the kids to have a normal life. They were pleasantly surprised that the kids grew up not only to have musical performing talent, but wanted to perform as a family unit as the Five Donahues. That harmony on and off stage was threatened first by Steve contemplating following another calling - the threat not only in his thought of ...Written by
Johnnie Ray, who plays the older son Steve, was a popular singing star of the early 1950's, and had recently had a chart-topping hit with his version of "Cry." According to screenwriters Henry Ephron and Phoebe Ephron, 20th Century Fox hired Ray for this film, hoping that the singer could duplicate the success of Frank Sinatra, and become a major movie star. Then they discovered that, unlike Sinatra, Ray couldn't dance or act! The studio's solution was to have the Ephrons rewrite the film so that Steve Donahue leaves the family act early on to become a priest, as a way to "get [Ray] off-screen as quickly as possible." Movie-goers did not respond well to Ray's acting debut, and this remains the one and only major film in which he ever appeared. See more »
In the "Heatwave" number, Marilyn Monroe accidentally pokes her finger in the eye of a dancer standing between the branches of a prop tree. Its pretty obvious and more so on the DVD in slow motion. The dancer jerks his head and looks down, but otherwise stays in character and continues with the number. Then Marilyn performs a twirl, sticks her head between the branches of the tree and gives him a kiss. The kiss may have been part of the choreography because she kisses another dancer before this. But it's possible it was an impromptu apology on Marilyn's part to make up for the eye poke. See more »
[speaking of their children]
I want them to have an education, a real education. They have to learn arithmetic and spelling and geography.
You never went past the sixth grade. And it was probably the fourth grade, because you said it was the sixth.
My age is the only thing I lie about, and I don't add on, I take off.
All right, the sixth grade, but there's nothing wrong with your arithmetic. You can whistle 'Mandy', do an 'Off to Buffalo', and count the house at the same time, and tell me within...
[...] See more »
20th Century Fox was no match for MGM when it came to musicals. Daryl F. Zanuk decided to gamble with this film where the talents of a Broadway star, Ethel Merman, would be showcased. Ms. Merman in spite of being the toast of Broadway, never made it big in Hollywood. After all, she was not a radiant beauty, but oh, could she belt a song that could be heard at the top of the balcony! Phoebe and Henry Ephron were brought on board to write the screen treatment and Walter Lang directed.
The musical was also blessed in that Irving Berlin's music is heard throughout in all its glory. Ms. Merman was the perfect actress to interpret the songs written by Mr. Berlin. They made a perfect duo, even though, for some viewers not used to Ethel Merman's singing style, it might prove an uneasy combination.
The story is simple enough. It follows the Donahues from the early days of vaudeville through some glittering years after. Molly and Terence Donahue had two sons, Tim and Steve, and a daughter, Katy. As the children grow up, the parents' popularity began to recede. The film deals with Tim, as a young man, as he falls for Vicky Parker, a beautiful singer who makes it big on her own. Vickie, who is more interested in her own career neglects Tim. As a result, Tim goes on his own to find himself, away from his family and Vickie.
The best thing in the film is Ethel Merman. She was a legendary figure and as Molly Donahue, she is at her best. Dan Dailey was the perfect partner for Ms. Merman. Donald O'Connor is also seen doing some fine dancing. Marilyn Monroe was a lovely woman to look at. As a singer, she had a small voice, but she used it well making the songs her own. Mitzi Gaynor plays Katy. Johnnie Ray, a popular singer of that period is terribly miscast. His Steve is the worst thing in the movie.
Although predictable, this film has some great things going for it. Some of the musical numbers are well staged and will not disappoint. On the whole as the camaraderie expressed by the title of the film is evident in the musical.
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