Showboat Review

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The Hawke-family owned "Cotton Blossom" is a show boat which supplies entertainment for the whole family, with Julie Laverne and her black husband are the stars of the show. They are forced to leave the boat, because interracial marriages are forbidden and a new pair of headliners take over their spot.


Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's seminal musical adaptation of Edna Ferber's novel of life on the Mississippi was made into a wonderful film in 1936.

Unfortunately, this is the stodgy 1951 remake which smothers everything in MGM treacle and casting Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson - a pair of fine throats with nice smiles attached who display little animation as actors, in the leads - while Ava Gardner languishes in a succession of pin-up poses.

Director George Sidney's long, slow trudge down the river periodically pauses for gutsy renditions of the great songs but this is another case where you'd be better off with the soundtrack album, which includes Ol' Man River, Make Believe, Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man, My Bill and Life Upon The Wicked Stage.

Watchable, but not a patch on the original.