Fill your heart with love, music, joy!
Director George Sidney’s version of the popular Kern-Hammerstein stage musical is well worth seeing – the showboat party is brought to you in all its Technicolor glory. Some critics saw reason to dislike it because of that, but that’s not fair. The tragic story of the showboat captain’s daughter (Kathryn Grayson) who marries an attractive gambler (Howard Keel) has some tension in the shape of collapsed marriages and alcoholism. The production numbers are great (“Old Man River” is the ultimate showstopper), ably delivered by the actors; Ava Gardner is excellent as brave Julie, Keel handsome as the elegant but weak cardsharp and Joe E. Brown is fun as the lively captain Hawks.
1951-U.S. 107 min. Color. Produced by Arthur Freed. Directed by George Sidney. Cinematography: Charles Rosher. Songs: Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein (“Old Man River”, “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man”, “Make Believe”, “Bill”). Cast: Kathryn Grayson (Magnolia Hawks), Ava Gardner (Julie LaVerne), Howard Keel (Gaylord Ravenal), Joe E. Brown, Marge & Gower Champion, Robert Sterling… Agnes Moorehead.
Trivia: The previous versions came in 1929 and 1936; the latter is generally considered to be the best.
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