Dir. James Whale. 1936, 113 mins. 35mm. With Irene Dunne, Paul Robeson, Allan Jones, Helen Morgan, Hattie McDaniel. A great American saga, Show Boat follows the lives of the performers and workers on The Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River showboat, over 40 years. Expressively adapted for the screen by James Whale, this Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein musical was considered radical at the time for its serious treatment of race. Paul Robeson’s “Ol’ Man River” is the most famous of its many great musical numbers.
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