6.9/10
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Show Boat (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Family, Musical | 24 September 1951 (USA)
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4:02 | Trailer
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 1 win & 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 where everyone comes for great musical entertainment down south. Julie LaVerne and her husband are the stars of the show. After a snitch on board calls the local police that Julie (who's half- African-American) is married to a white man, they are forced to leave the show boat. The reason being, that down south 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 and to live in a Pl: fantasy world. Magnolia soon faces reality quickly, 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 is left penniless and pregnant, and is left to fend ... Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Spectacular in color by Technicolor! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The body of water which doubled as the "Mississippi River" throughout nearly all the river scenes was actually the lake used for the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies made at M-G-M. This lake was also known as "The Lagoon" at MGM Studios because of its size. Several boats were moored there at the time of the big auction of studio properties, including the scaled replica of the "Bounty." The Lagoon was located on MGM's vast Backlot #3 at Overland and Jefferson Boulevards in Culver City, about one mile south of the studio's main lot. See more »

Goofs

The show boat "Cotton Blossom" is inaccurately designed for the era in which the story takes place (the 1880's). The boat used in the film is built in the style of a typical modern luxury riverboat, with giant twin smokestacks and a large paddlewheel in the rear, and it moves on its own power. Modern "show boats" are built that way because of advances made since the 19th century, but authentic show boats of the era did not have smokestacks or paddlewheels, and were not self-powered. They were barge-like structures similar to a long, floating house with a flat roof, and they were connected to, and pushed along by the misleadingly named "towboats", which did have smokestacks and a paddlewheel. If a real show boat of the era had been steam-powered, its steam engine would have had to be placed (very dangerously) smack in the middle of the auditorium. See more »

Quotes

Cap'n Andy Hawks: Patience, Parthy. Patience! You didn't know I used to have a magic deck, did you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Because some of the lyrics to the song "Cotton Blossom" have been altered by uncredited staff writers in this version of "Show Boat", Oscar Hammerstein II is never actually mentioned as having written the lyrics to the songs, although P.G. Wodehouse IS listed as having written the lyrics to "Bill". (This is only partially correct; only about half of Wodehouse's 1917 lyric to "Bill" was used. The rest of the lyric is by Hammerstein.) See more »

Alternate Versions

In most 1980's television prints and videocassette releases of the film, we see stills of the Mississippi River during the credits, rather than seeing "moving shots" of it, as in the original theatrical release, later videocassette prints, the DVD, and TV showings. See more »

Connections

Referenced in West Side Story (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Montage: Make Believe
(reprise)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by MGM chorus during first montage sequence
See more »

User Reviews

OMG...what do you guys want?
6 May 2005 | by movibuf1962See all my reviews

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?"


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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:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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