Show Boat

No one ever made more than a singing dummy of Allan Jones, and no one could possibly carry off the last-minute flurry of plot preparing for a ludicrously mushy happy ending (made even worse by a risibly 'aged' Jones). Otherwise Whale does superbly by this much-loved Kern-Hammerstein musical, abetted by modestly handsome sets and lustrous camerawork from John Mescall. Dunne and Jones may look and act a little pallid, but they do well by Jerome Kern's lovely melodies, while Paul Robeson (in magnificent voice for 'Ol' Man River' and 'I Still Suits Me') and Helen Morgan ('Can't Help Lovin' That Man' and 'Bill') are as near perfection as makes no odds. Morgan, through her phrasing of the heart-rending 'Bill', almost makes a tragic figure out of the tragic Julie - no mean achievement.

Release details

Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James Whale
Screenwriter: Oscar Hammerstein II
Cast: Irene Dunne
Allan Jones
Helen Morgan
Paul Robeson
Charles Winninger
Hattie McDaniel
Donald Cook

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