- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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I hate the black and white. I like the opening sequence of the cardboard or wooden figure parade. I love the singing voice of the character portrayed by Irene Dunne. Paul Robeson is the greatest. So is Hattie McDaniel. The peas into the pot scene is hilarious. Paul is having a great time here. Allan Jones also has a wonderful singing voice. I assume that these people were not dubbed. Helen Morgan is good. So is the portrayer of Kim as an adult. In the later film of this name, Kim is only an infant and a child. Irene doing the dance is great.
This version of Showboat is magical. The glorious music and lyrics so well known by all, the entire outstanding cast, the surprise of Irene Dunne's beautiful lyrical voice embraced by the romantic songs of Alan Jones. The black and white cinematography absolutely transports you to the decks of the Showboat. We wait with excited expectation and reverence to hear Paul Robeson sing "Old Man River", Julie's "Bill". The musical numbers of the Showboat, so like the vaudeville of riverboat days, have you tapping your toes. An exquisite snapshot of a time long gone.
About Time Whale Got His Propers From H'wood
To me,Whale was always more than Frankenstein.Here he proves it.Top notch cast and he pours all his efforts into his craft.Robeson became a long time friend after this film,and we know how he was put down by the industry,as was Whale (Different reasons).
Show Boat Soars!
I love this version of Show Boat best. An outstanding cast led by Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Helen Morgan, Charles Winninger, Paul Robeson and Hattie McDaniel, Edna Ferber story, Jerome Kern music and Oscar Hammerstein II script and lyrics make for a beautiful epic that's a must see for fans of film musicals.
- ross rosen
This is the best version of Showboat. I love both Paul Robeson and Helen MorganHelen Morgan was magnificent and she made the role of Julie her own . Nothing moves me as much whenHelen sings Bill
- David H.
This version of "Show Boat" is a quality film which combines a plausible drama with outstanding musical numbers. Except for Irene Dunne, who had a long and successful acting career, the cast is largely unknown today, but nevertheless is uniformly excellent. In particular Paul Robeson and Helen Morgan stand out, although their entertainment careers were tragically cut short, respectively by his pro-Communist leanings and her alcoholism. Directed by James Whale (Frankenstein, etc.) the staging of the first one or two musical numbers seems tentative, but he gets rolling with Robeson's definitive "Old Man River" and never looks back. There are a few movie musicals that are probably better than this one, but this film is a definitive time capsule of what entertained America in first half of the last century.
A fine treatment of Ferber's novel adapted from Hammerstein's musical. Dunne shows off her singing talent as a woman who, born into a Mississippi showboat, falls for and loses gambler Jones. Director Whale's does a good, but not great job of balancing music, romance and drama. A good musical best remembered because of it's horror-film director. I give it a 3.5/5.
This is a wonderful version of a classic. Paul Robeson is truly a treasure. Irene Dunne is delightful. The music is timeless, and the story still poignant today. Highly recommended!
Hands down this is the best version of Showboat. If only TCM would do what they said they were going to do back in 2007: release a re-mastered 1936 Showboat DVD.
SHOWBOAT -1936 Version
LOVE this movie!! PLEASE give us all a present on every Christmas Day and run this great cinematic triumph!!!
IT'S ON DVD!!!
That's right. I now have in my possession a Brazilian DVD of "Magnolia" (aka "Show Boat"), which I purchased through Amazon.com from "promocase." The DVD transfer is gorgeous, the Portuguese subtitles turn off easily, and the shipping is super-fast! http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001OIO3DM/ref=sr_1_3_olp?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1308858322&sr=1-3&condition=new
Show Boat (1936)
- Mark Sutch
- Peter Benford
Paul Robeson! Cannot say enough about him. One of a kind singer, actor, pioneer activist, athlete. Magnificent guy for sure and one of my dad's heroes. I saw him (performing live, for free) in about 1935, in a movie house, London, England where I was born and raised. I stood up on the seat and he pointed me out and spoke to me. What a thrill. I WANT THAT MOVIE ON DVD ! !The movie is a definite classic. The songs and actions are "never die"; It is right up there with McDonald and Eddie, Astaire and Rogers. Why you haven't issued it on DVD is beyond my comprehension.Us old guys really appreciate you. Peter Benford, ancient poet.
The Best Version of Show Boat Ever!
- Richard Harnack
I have been a fan of Paul Robeson since my youth. His rendition of Ol' Man River went through many changes over the years with Jerome Kern's permission. However, it is his performance in the 1936 version of Show Boat that is distinct from later versions of the same play. This version of Show Boat is more complete and much darker in some respects than the later ones. It definitely needs to be released into all formats. The cinematography, especially as Robeson goes through the lyrics of Ol' Man River, is exceptional and makes a statement powerfully in black and white, that all other versions lack.
More Than A Musical
Helen Morgan's rendition of "My Bill" is the best ever presented on screen. This film highlights racial tensions prior to the beginning of the twentieth century in more depth than does the slightly sanitized 1951 version. It's tragic what life eventually dealt both her and Paul Robeson. Don't miss this film. One of James Whale's best.
Showboat, and Paul Robeson!!!
- Jose Harris
The music and acting is fantastic. Led by the great Paul Robeson's stirring performance of "Ole Man River," which is one of those magical movie moments of all-time. Also, Irene Dunne was never better, and Hattie McDaniel shows how underappreciated she was as an actress with her performance. The muscial number "Can't Help Lovin that Man of Mine" is first rate as well.
1936 Show Boat is a must!
Anyone who has enjoyed the musical Showboat must see the 1936 version - it's a true masterpiece.
Overdue on DVD
This version of "Show Boat" was supposedly scheduled to be released on DVD this year, in one package along with the 1929 and 1951 versions. (BTW, the 1929 version is not really a version of the musical; it is a version of Edna Ferber's novel with some songs from the show wedged in, and it is mostly a silent film.) I was hoping to get the package containing all three "Show Boat"s , if not for my birthday, at least for Christmas. I don't want just one version if I can afford it, but I mainly want the 1936 one, which is easily the best of the three, although it's in black-and-white. Now, thanks to the inevitable (and predictable) release delay, I have to wait who knows how long yet again. Why is it that movies we really want take forever to be released on DVD, and crappy films are released all the time? Somebody is indeed "missing the boat" here.
One of the all-time great musicals, and the definitive movie version, and it is not on DVD! Somebody is missing the boat here. Help!
please bring showboat with pau robeson to dvd. it is a great movie.
1936 Show Boat sets the benchmark
- Marilyn Clark
I admire and enjoy the other versions, but the 1936 film of Edna Ferber and Jerome Kern's landmark musical "Show Boat" is so perfectly cast and beautifully produced that it's impossible to top. This is one of the very finest ventures of the entire silver screen era. Red-headed Irene Dunne was a beautiful, fabulously talented singer/actress whose portrayal of Magnolia mirrors Dunne's own personal qualities, juxtaposing the warmth and sunniness of her nature with the strength and depth of her character. Handsome and charming Allan Jones is ideally suited to be her adoring but flawed gambler husband Gaylord Ravenal. Dunne's and Jones' voices work beautifully together in Kern's incomparable songs that have become essentials in the "Great American Songbook." Helen Morgan infuses her awesome stage experience into vulnerable Julie, who succumbs to the heartbreak and despair that result from her unjust treatment. The African American American cast is stellar - I agree with previous comments about them. Helen Westley and Charles Winninger deserve mention for their colorful performances as Magnolia's parents and the owners of the boat.I just ordered a VERY expensive VHS version of this version - it's now "rare" and would be so pleased if it were upgraded to DVD with some background included for those of us who love the cast, music, and literature on which the production is based.
It may be black and white, but it is VIVID
I'm not sure what I could add to the other comments, except to say that of the three film versions, this one stands up best to repeat viewings. (In other words, it's a natural for home video!) Every time I see it, I look for so many wonderful details: crowds rushing to greet the showboat (including a sow and her piglets), that goofy shimmy Irene Dunne does during "Can't Help Lovin' That Man", Charles Winniger acting the climax of the melodrama all by himself, Queenie Smith reading Gaylord's farewell letter as if she's giving the audition of her life, the close-ups of Helen Morgan as she sings "Bill." And of course, there are the excellent performances given by the African-American members of the cast, not only Paul Robeson and big, beautiful Hattie McDaniel, but the one delivered by Clarence Muse in a bit part as a janitor. Maybe that's why the one blackface number comes off as as ignorant-but-charming, but the ante-bellum fantasy that marks Kim Ravenal's entree into stardom is really cringe-inducing. The 1951 M-G-M "Show Boat" may be in Technicolor, but for sheer emotional force this black-and-white "Show Boat" is the most colorful of them all.
Show Boat- 1936
- Bill Brown
One of my favorite musicals. Great story of the times, but uses Black actors who portrey important roles with Paul Robeson's singing, achieving equality with the wonderful singing of Irene Dunn and lead man, Alan Jones. The music is delightful with 3 harmonious duets. I love this movie and would buy it immediately upom release.
This movie has great acting, great actors, and a great story that should be shared by as many people as possible. The fact that hollywood, even in 1936, allowed blacks to be given rolls that,eventhough portraying slaves,were elevated to star status.Paul Robeson and Ms Hattie McDaniels were more talented than I ever realized.
By far the best
This production in fantastic, if people could appreciate it without all the glam or modern productions and accept it as a fantastic story that truly covers the generations of one family and the place of blacks in society in that period. I wonder how it was accepted and reviewed in my own community when it was released. Not too well I expect
- Bob McCloskey
I've seen a number of stage productions, plus several movie versions, and heard the album from numerous companies and this is by far my favorite. I love the treatment of the ending, and Paul Robeson is by far the best at that role; incredible.
Show Boat - with Irene Dunne and Allan Jones
- Hank Rimmer
Only saw last 30 minuteson TCM, but enjoyed it so much more than later versions of Show Boat. Wish it were on either DVD or VHS!!!