Show Boat (1951)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  

USA, 1951.  .  Screenplay by , based on the musical play by , , from the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

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 () who falls in love with the biggest, baddest manly man () 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  and performing a dance number. The film ends abruptly and without a proper resolution, but does have some atmospherically filmed sequences before doing so.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Cinematography-Colour; Best Scoring of a Musical Picture


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