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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

Ethel Merman had no objection when Marilyn Monroe was added to the cast, telling a friend, "Hell, she's the one we need to sell the picture." However, Merman chafed at Monroe's lack of professionalism, including her constant tardiness and her over-reliance on her acting coach, Natasha Lytess, instead of director Walter Lang. Mitzi Gaynor, who played Merman's daughter in the film, found ways to break the tension. "Whenever Marilyn wouldn't come out of her dressing room, I gave Ethel a wink, hinting that something naughty was going on in there. Of course that wasn't true, but if Ethel thought maybe some hanky-panky was going on, she could enjoy the situation." See more »

Goofs

Donald O'Connor (Tim) wears a gold ring on his left ring finger (even though his character is not married) in almost all of his scenes. The ring is missing when he performs "A Man Chases a Girl (Until She Catches Him)", in the scene with Marilyn Monroe (Vicky) just before that, and in the film's climactic scenes. See more »

Quotes

Molly Donahue: [speaking of their children] I want them to have an education, a real education. They have to learn arithmetic and spelling and geography.
Terry Donahue: You never went past the sixth grade. And it was probably the fourth grade, because you said it was the sixth.
Molly Donahue: My age is the only thing I lie about, and I don't add on, I take off.
Terry Donahue: All right, the sixth grade, but there's nothing wrong with your arithmetic. You can whistle 'Mandy', do an 'Off to Buffalo', and count the house at the same time, and tell me within...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Step by Step: No Business Like Show Business (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey
Later performed by Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O'Connor
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User Reviews

Mr. Berlin, Madame Merman and Miss Monroe in unequal measure!
3 June 2003 | by gregcoutureSee all my reviews

When Darryl F. Zanuck virtually forced exhibitors and most of his fellow studio mogul rivals to adopt CinemaScope as a panacea for TV's devastation of Hollywood's weekly box office bonanza, he dictated that virtually all of Twentieth's output was to be filmed in that eye-stretching process. "There's No Business Like Show Business," directed by that old pro, Walter Lang, seems to be the prime example of Darryl's minions saying to their boss: "You want wide? We'll give you W-I-D-E!!"

Everything about it was designed and lensed to emphasize the original ratio of the CinemaScope process and viewing it on a video that isn't letterboxed must look like what a one-eyed person must experience in everyday life. I never did see it in a theater but I have seen it on a TV broadcast which more-or-less recreated its widescreen ratio. It's a glorious mish-mash. Every Berlin tune that could be stuffed into it is given at least one run-through; John de Cuir's production design must have occupied every inch of several of Twentieth's West Los Angeles soundstages; Ethel Merman, after her terrific movie repeat of her Broadway success in "Call Me Madam" for Fox (and now, as of 2005, available on video), trumpets away in number after number (Must have been an ear-rending experience over those original four-track stereophonic sound systems.); Dan Dailey, Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor give it their energetic best; and then there's Marilyn. What can we say, with all that so sadly, in her personal life, came after she reluctantly fulfilled her contractual obligation in this one? She dazzles in, let's face it, a rather vulgar way, and seems shoehorned in to boost the potential box office. And they even added Johnnie Ray, a huge jukebox success at the time (and, due to his hearing deficiency, performing his songs at an even greater volume than La Merman.)

All in all this one shouldn't be missed if you want to view an example of Hollywood at its brassiest, in a production fairly bulging with elements that may not coalesce very harmoniously but which was, no doubt, worth the price of admission to those movie palaces before they were carved up to become the precursors of today's sterile multiplexes.


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