Show Boat (1929)

126 mins | Musical | 28 July 1929

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HISTORY

As early as late 1926, Universal Studios was ready to start production on Show Boat. An item in the Jan 1927 Photoplay noted that filming would "soon start" with Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, and Jean Hersholt. However, none of the three was involved in the final film.
       According to a directory chart in the 11 Aug 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, production began 16 Jul 1928.
       Universal Pictures acquired the rights to the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein score after the film had been shot as a part-talking drama. Several scenes were then reshot to include songs, and an eighteen-minute sound prologue was added. The prologue included short speeches by Carl Laemmle and Florenz Ziegfeld and songs from the stage production were performed by Helen Morgan, Jules Bledsoe and Tess "Aunt Jemima" Gardella. Two other filmed versions of the play were made, in 1936 and 1951 (see entries below).
Show Boat marked the motion picture debut of singer-actress Helen Morgan (1900--1941). Morgan also appeared as "Julie LaVerne" in the 1936 Show Boat . (For additional information about Morgan’s life, please consult the entry below for the 1957 biographical film The Helen Morgan Story ). ... More Less

As early as late 1926, Universal Studios was ready to start production on Show Boat. An item in the Jan 1927 Photoplay noted that filming would "soon start" with Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, and Jean Hersholt. However, none of the three was involved in the final film.
       According to a directory chart in the 11 Aug 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, production began 16 Jul 1928.
       Universal Pictures acquired the rights to the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein score after the film had been shot as a part-talking drama. Several scenes were then reshot to include songs, and an eighteen-minute sound prologue was added. The prologue included short speeches by Carl Laemmle and Florenz Ziegfeld and songs from the stage production were performed by Helen Morgan, Jules Bledsoe and Tess "Aunt Jemima" Gardella. Two other filmed versions of the play were made, in 1936 and 1951 (see entries below).
Show Boat marked the motion picture debut of singer-actress Helen Morgan (1900--1941). Morgan also appeared as "Julie LaVerne" in the 1936 Show Boat . (For additional information about Morgan’s life, please consult the entry below for the 1957 biographical film The Helen Morgan Story ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Afro American
8 Jun 1929
p. 9.
Chicago Tribune
7 Feb 1930
p. 25.
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
11 Aug 1928
p. 77.
Film Daily
5 May 1929
p. 8.
New York Times
18 Apr 1929
p. 32.
Photoplay
Jan 1927
p. 100.
Photoplay
Jun 1929
p. 55.
Variety
24 Apr 1929
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Addl dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story supv
Dial and titles
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Spec eff photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Film ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec eng
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
STAND INS
Singing voice for Laura La Plante
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Show Boat by Edna Ferber (Garden City, NY, 1926) and the musical of the same name by Edna Ferber, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, II (New York, 27 Dec 1927).
MUSIC
"Love Sings a Song in My Heart" by Joseph Cherniavsky
"Down South" by William H. Myddleton.
SONGS
"Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Ol' Man River," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II
"Bill," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II and P. G. Wodehouse
"The Lonesome Road," music by Nathaniel Shilkret, lyrics by Gene Austin
+
SONGS
"Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Ol' Man River," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II
"Bill," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II and P. G. Wodehouse
"The Lonesome Road," music by Nathaniel Shilkret, lyrics by Gene Austin
"Here Comes The Show Boat," music and lyrics by Billy Rose and Maceo Pinkard
"Coon, Coon, Coon," music by Leo Friedman, lyrics by Gene Jefferson
"Deep River" and other spirituals.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 July 1929
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Palm Beach, FL: 16 March 1929
Production Date:
began 16 July 1928
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 April 1929
Copyright Number:
LP339
Physical Properties:
Silent with sound sequences
Talking and singing seq, sd eff, and mus score by Movietone
Black and White
Sound, also silent
Also si; 10,290 ft.
Duration(in mins):
126
Length(in feet):
11,650
Length(in reels):
14
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Brought up on a showboat, Magnolia Hawks, the star of her family's river-going revue, marries Gaylord Ravenal, a charming river gambler. Magnolia's father, Captain Andy, is swept overboard in a storm, and Magnolia and Gaylord, harassed by Magnolia's strict, overbearing mother, sell their interest in the showboat to the widow and go to Chicago. Gaylord loses the money at the gambling tables, and, following the suggestion of Magnolia's mother, leaves his family, convinced that they would be better off without him. To support herself and her child, Magnolia goes on the variety stage and makes a success singing Negro spirituals. Magnolia's mother dies, and Magnolia returns to the showboat to be reunited with the reformed ... +


Brought up on a showboat, Magnolia Hawks, the star of her family's river-going revue, marries Gaylord Ravenal, a charming river gambler. Magnolia's father, Captain Andy, is swept overboard in a storm, and Magnolia and Gaylord, harassed by Magnolia's strict, overbearing mother, sell their interest in the showboat to the widow and go to Chicago. Gaylord loses the money at the gambling tables, and, following the suggestion of Magnolia's mother, leaves his family, convinced that they would be better off without him. To support herself and her child, Magnolia goes on the variety stage and makes a success singing Negro spirituals. Magnolia's mother dies, and Magnolia returns to the showboat to be reunited with the reformed Gaylord. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.