This is the 1951 film version of the great Jerome Kern and Oscar Hemmerstein musical, which was the first to demonstrate that musical theater could deal with serious, even controversial subjects such as racial prejudice, Jim Crow laws, and miscegenation. What is even more amazing is that this play, which was based on the book of the same name by Edna Ferber, premiered in 1927. See the WikiPedia link below for the story of this extraordinary drama.
The musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands, and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, over forty years, from 1887 to 1927. Its themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. The musical contributed such classic songs as "Ol' Man River", "Make Believe", and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man". This film was nominated for two Oscars.
- Kathryn Grayson - Magnolia Hawks
- Ava Gardner - Julie LaVerne
- Howard Keel - Gaylord Ravenal
- Joe E. Brown - Cap'n Andy Hawks
- Marge Champion - Ellie May Shipley
- Gower Champion - Frank Schultz
- Robert Sterling - Steven Baker
- Agnes Moorehead - Parthy Hawks
- Leif Erickson - Pete