Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SHOW BOAT (1929)

SHOW BOAT (1929). Director: Harry A. Pollard.

This first film version of Show Boat is actually based on Edna Ferber's novel, and not on the stage musical, although there is some singing late in the picture (in scenes where the characters would sing naturally, such as when performing). The photography is excellent, and the strong, sensitive performances of the two leads -- Laura La Plante as Magnolia and Joseph Schildkraut as Gaylord Ravenal -- are what really put this over. Alma Rubens is also fine as Julie; in this version she is apparently not a mulatto. Stepin Fetchit is Joe; Otis Harlan is Captain Andy; and Emily Fitzroy plays his wife as a sneering termagant. This was filmed part silent and part sound; the sound for many of the latter sections are lost. Shown on TCM.

Verdict: Has it charms -- and fine actors. ***

1 comment:

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