U.S., 1951, 107 min, Digital, Dir. George Sidney, Not rated but suitable for children, Warner Bros.
"[Show Boat] is so magnificent in so many ways, especially in its presentation of the lovely Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein songs...[It] has never reached the screen in anything like the visual splendor and richness of musical score as are tastefully brought together in this brilliant re-creation of the [stage] show." —Bosley Crowther, The New York Times
Magnolia Hawks (Kathryn Grayson) has grown up aboard the Mississippi show boat Cotton Blossom, owned by her father Cap'n Andy. Her best friend is the show's lead actress, Julie LaVerne (Ava Gardner), but Magnolia's mother disapproves of the relationship. When a spurned lover reveals that Julie is a mulatto, roles are recast and Magnolia now finds herself as the star of the show - opposite her crush, Gaylord Ravenal (Howard Keel). Show Boat has the ingredients of a winning film: glorious stars in Technicolor radiance, a made-from-scratch 170-foot paddle wheeler, timeless songs and an equally timeless outcry against racial bigotry. Featuring the songs "Ol' Man River," "Where's the Mate for Me?" "Make Believe," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Recalling her first reaction to hearing "Ol' Man River", Edna Ferber (whose novel the film is based on) said, "This was music that would outlast Kern's day and mine." She was right as rain.
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