Biography of songwriter and Broadway pioneer, Jerome Kern (Robert Walker). Unable to find immediate success in the U.S., Kern sought recognition abroad. He journeyed to England where his dreams of success became real and where he met his future wife Eva Leale (Dorothy Patrick).
Eric Wainwright (Van Johnson), a busy impresario, is besieged by hordes of wannabe concert stars, eager for their big break. One of them is Cynthia Potter (June Allyson), a talented pianist... See full summary »
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
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 »
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 »
Come on, Julie, let's hear the new song.
I don't feel like singing.
Oh, don't you? What do you feel like doing, Duchess?
I feel like going off on a tear.
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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 »
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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