6.5/10
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There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 6 January 1955 (Uruguay)
Trailer
2:45 | Trailer
Molly and Terry Donahue, plus their three children, are The Five Donahues. Son Tim meets hat-check girl Vicky and the family act begins to fall apart.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

Phoebe Ephron (screenplay), Henry Ephron (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ethel Merman ... Molly Donahue
Donald O'Connor ... Tim Donahue
Marilyn Monroe ... Vicky Parker
Dan Dailey ... Terry Donahue
Johnnie Ray Johnnie Ray ... Steve Donahue
Mitzi Gaynor ... Katy Donahue
Richard Eastham ... Lew Harris
Hugh O'Brian ... Charles Gibbs
Frank McHugh ... Eddie Dugan
Rhys Williams ... Father Dineen
Lee Patrick ... Marge
Eve Miller ... Hatcheck Girl
Robin Raymond ... Lillian Sawyer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ed Oliver Ed Oliver ... Bandleader (as Eddie Oliver)
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

With Love and Kisses from 20th Century-Fox...Straight from the Shoulder, Right from the Heart Comes...The Musicavalcade and the Personal Story of the Greatest Business on Earth!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Molly Donahue: Then fit Lew Harris into this pretty picture, will you?
Vicky Parker: Lew did everything for me. You know that. Maybe he did have some ideas. That doesn't mean that I shared them. There was never anyone for me but Tim.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lights Out with David Spade: Episode #1.95 (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

There's No Business Like Show Business
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by the cast
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Show Must Go On and On and On
8 August 2012 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Married vaudeville duo Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey (as Molly and Terry Donahue) continue their success over three decades when children Johnnie Ray (as Steve), Mitzi Gaynor (as Katy) and Donald O'Connor (as Tim) re-join the act as adults. But "The Five Donahues" are rocked by Mr. Ray's desire to become a priest and Mr. O'Connor's involvement with bawdy stage rival Marilyn Monroe (as Victoria "Vicky Parker" Hoffman). Seeing these six people perform a string of Irving Berlin songs live on stage would be an unimaginable treat, but they are rendered gross in 20th Century Fox' weakly plotted CinemaScope extravaganza...

O'Connor and Ray are the most mismatched. The former, playing the youngest kid, has no romantic "chemistry" with Ms. Monroe. Ray is too vague in in the "reverential" role, with both his wailing ballad and sexualized jazz sounds underused. Monroe's sex appeal is thankfully on display, with her "Heat Wave" being a highlight, but she arrives on screen after you're first yawn. Nobody thought about letting Monroe and Ray cut loose in a duet. The show does go on, however, with Ms. Merman belting them out and never letting go. Mr. Dailey and Ms. Gaynor are overshadowed, but all remain game, "Even with a turkey that you know will fold..."

****** There's No Business Like Show Business (12/16/54) Walter Lang ~ Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O'Connor, Johnnie Ray


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

6 January 1955 (Uruguay) See more »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,103,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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