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There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 6 January 1955 (Uruguay)
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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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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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lee Patrick and Chick Chandler, as Marge and Harry, appear in a party scene but neither one gets a line. Miss Patrick even gets credit in the opening sequence. 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: "Don't worry." Hmm. That's a laugh. You start worrying about your kids the day they're born and you never stop. Even after they bury you, I bet you never stop.
See more »


Soundtracks

Let's Have Another Cup o' Coffee
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Ethel Merman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another Irving Berlin Songbook
21 January 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

There's No Business Like Show Business has the distinction of being the last of the Irving Berlin songbook musicals filmed. It came out the same year as White Christmas, also of the same genre.

Take a listen to the background music of films like Holiday Inn, Blue Skies, Alexander's Ragtime Band, and this one. I defy you to find one non-Berlin note in the film and that's no accident. The more songs of Irving Berlin used, the more money he made. He was one shrewd businessman Irving, most of the time.

The title song is identified with Ethel Merman and it was introduced in Annie Get Your Gun. Merman like Mary Martin had a conspicuous lack of success in Hollywood as much as she was an icon on Broadway. She only did the screen version of two of her Broadway hits, Anything Goes and Call Me Madam. That's two more than Mary Martin did.

Anyway, I think the genesis of There's No Business Like Show Business probably came about when Call Me Madam became such a hit and the movie money people saw how the chemistry was between her and Donald O'Connor. So O'Connor was signed to play one of her three children. The other two children were Johnnie Ray and Mitzi Gaynor.

The plot such as it is, is the story of the Donahue family between both World Wars. The father of the aforementioned children is Dan Dailey and he and Merman do some good Irving Berlin numbers together. I've always marvelled at how graceful Dan Dailey moved on the screen in his musical films. He was not a creative sort in the same way Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly were. Probably if he had been, his reputation would be higher today. But he was a pleasing entertainer every time you saw him.

By all accounts it wasn't a happy film for Ethel. Marilyn Monroe is in the film and Ethel was jealous of her. Not that Monroe wasn't her usual difficult self. Probably that helped the plot because it does call for the two to be at odds. Merman believes that Monroe has led Donald O'Connor astray.

Mitzi Gaynor was a wonderful talent as well. Too bad she wasn't born twenty years earlier, what a big star she would have been in the thirties and forties in Hollywood musicals then. Good singer and one fabulous dancer.

The plot does get kind of sticky in spots and Johnnie Ray didn't set the screen on fire when he wasn't singing. No accident he didn't become a film star.

Still for those of us who bless the day Irving Berlin put down his first notes of an original song, it's worth watching.


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