- Although Annette Warren dubbed Ava Gardner's singing voice in the movie, Ms. Gardner herself sang her two songs on the MGM soundtrack album.
- Director George Sidney was forced to leave for a few days because of illness, so uncredited associate producer Roger Edens directed the beautifully shot, fog-enshrouded "departure" sequence, including the performance by William Warfield of "Ol' Man River." It is the one scene in the film that has been praised even by critics who detest this version of "Show Boat."
- The Breen Censorship Office tried to raise an objection against the use of the "miscegenation sequence" in this film version of the show, but they were unable to do so because the 1936 film version had already used it and thus set a precedent.
- The original choice for the role of Julie was 'Garland, Judy' , but she had since ended her contract with MGM. Lena Horne was the next in line until it finally went to Ava Gardner.
- The showboat built for the film (known as the Cotton Blossom) became an amusement park attraction in 1973, after M-G-m sold many of its props at an auction. Unfortunately, in 1995, it was dismantled and torn apart.
- The body of water which doubled as the "Mississippi River" throughout nearly all the river scenes was actually the lake used for the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies made at M-G-M.
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