(out of 5)
Shallow adaptation of the Jerome Kern musical guts out the best parts of the play and leaves a shell of the original story. The main plot is of a show business family who travel on a giant showboat that goes from town to town bringing entertainment to residents of the Mississippi. The main characters are a half-black singer (Ava Gardner) who is rejected from the clan because of her race, and a beautiful young ingenue (Kathryn Grayson) who falls in love with the biggest, baddest manly man (Howard Keel) of the south. Musical highlights include a gorgeous rendition of ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man’, Gardner’s impassioned performance (to someone else’s vocals) of ‘My Bill’ and Marge and Gower Champion performing a dance number. The film ends abruptly and without a proper resolution, but does have some atmospherically filmed sequences before doing so.
Directed by George Sidney
Cinematography by Charles Rosher
Produced by Arthur Freed
Costume Design by Walter Plunkett
Film Editing by John D. Dunning