Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1951. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by John Lee Mahin, based on the musical play by Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, from the novel by Edna Ferber. Cinematography by Charles Rosher. Produced by Arthur Freed. Music by Adolph Deutsch, Conrad Salinger. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Jack Martin Smith. Costume Design by Walter Plunkett. Film Editing by John D. Dunning. Academy Awards 1951.
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.