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Show Boat (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 17 May 1936 (USA)
Despite her mother's objections, the naive young daughter of a show boat captain is thrust into the limelight as the company's new leading lady.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

Edna Ferber, Oscar Hammerstein II (stage play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Irene Dunne ... Magnolia
Allan Jones ... Gaylord Ravenal
Charles Winninger ... Cap'n Andy Hawks
Paul Robeson ... Joe
Helen Morgan ... Julie
Helen Westley ... Parthy Ann Hawks
Queenie Smith ... Elly May Chipley
Sammy White Sammy White ... Frank Schultz
Donald Cook ... Steve Baker
Hattie McDaniel ... Queenie
Francis X. Mahoney Francis X. Mahoney ... Rubber Face
Marilyn Knowlden ... Kim (as a Child)
Sunnie O'Dea ... Kim (at Sixteen)
Arthur Hohl ... Pete
Charles Middleton ... Vallon
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Storyline

Adaptation of the Broadway musical. Magnolia Hawks is the lovely but protected, and thus very naive, daughter of Cap'n Andy Hawks, the genial proprietor of a show boat that cruises the Missisippi, and his nagging wife, Parthy. She is best friends with the show boat's star, Julie LaVerne, but Julie and her husband Steve are forced to leave when it is revealed that Julie has "Negro" blood in her, thereby breaking the state law by being married to the white Steve. Magnolia replaces Julie as the show boat's female star, and the show's new male star is the suave gambler Gaylord Ravenal. "Nola" and Gaylord fall in love and marry against Parthy's wishes. They and their young daughter lead the high life when Gaylord is lucky in gambling, but live like dirt when he's unlucky. During one such unlucky streak, a broken Gaylord leaves Nola, and she is forced to start over by returning to the stage. Like Old Man River, as the famous song from this show goes, she just keeps rollin' along. Written by Tommy Peter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Here Comes the Grand and Glorious "Show Boat" (version of 1936) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edna Ferber's Show Boat See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first choice to play Ellie May Chipley in this film was Eva Puck, who had played that part in Show Boat's original Broadway run opposite her husband Sammy White as Frank Schultz. However, by the time this film was made, Puck was divorced from White, casting White was given precedence over casting Puck, and Queenie Smith replaced Puck as Ellie May Chipley. See more »

Goofs

When Joe rows the doctor across the stormy waters, the doctor upbraids him for getting him out of bed under false pretenses. In answer, Joe sings a line from "Ah Still Suits Me", but his lip movements don't quite match the sound of his voice. See more »

Quotes

Jim Green: Come on, Julie, let's hear the new song.
Julie: I don't feel like singing.
Jim Green: Oh, don't you? What do you feel like doing, Duchess?
Julie: I feel like going off on a tear.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits for this film say "A James Whale Production" although Whale did not produce the film, while the film's posters say "A Carl Laemmle, Jr. Production", and Laemmle did produce the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mike Douglas Show: Episode #6.33 (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Gallivantin' Around
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung and danced by Irene Dunne and mixed chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

It just keeps rollin' along...
18 June 1999 | by angelcitygalSee all my reviews

This is by far a superior film to the glossy, Technicolor 1951 version, which (among other things) totally weakens the character of Magnolia. The cast is uniformly wonderful and the film forever preserves the legendary performances of Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson and Charles Winninger. The Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern score is wonderful--particularly the immortal "Ol' Man River".

Directed by James Whale (recently the subject of "Gods and Monsters"), this version shows a real sensitivity towards blacks and women. Both groups were severely oppressed in American society at the time, and one can't help but feel that Whale brought his own unique perspective as an outsider to this story.

Yes, there are a couple of uneasy moments (ie-Magnolia's number in blackface), but remember that such practices were commonplace in the theatre in late 19th century America. It is important that we do not gloss over these facts, but rather fully recognized the prejudices and bigotry of the past.

A great movie and important view into our past.


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