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Page # 1997

zmu| Show Boat
Director: George Sidney
Screenplay: Edna Ferber, George Wells, Jack McGowan, Jerome Kern, John Lee Mahin, Oscar Hammerstein II
Producer: Arthur Freed
Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, Joe E. Brown, Marge Champion
Genre: Drama

Running Time: 107
Aspect Ratio:  1.33:1 (NTSC )
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Studio:  Warner Home Video DVD Region:  1 NR
DVD Release:  Aug 2000 Discs:  1 (DVD) [$19.98]
Reviews:  The show that first defined the Broadway musical has never come to the screen intact, despite three tries. But take this splashy 1951 MGM extravaganza on its own terms, and it boggles the eyes. Not to mention the ears: The Kern-Hammerstein score includes some staples of the American songbook, such as "Make Believe," "After the Ball," and "Can't Help Lovin' That Man." Perhaps a riverboat gambler is almost too-easy casting for Howard Keel, and Kathryn Grayson is overly twittery, which may be why the film's middle sags when they take center stage. But any time the uncannily beautiful Ava Gardner smolders, a lush tragic undertone takes over (even if the most interesting parts of her story seem to take place offscreen). The physical production is extraordinary: the busy riverside setting, the outrageous color design, and best of all an "Old Man River" (sung by William Warfield) staged in the mists of morning. "-- Robert Horton"

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