Show Boat (1951) 03/02/21

The Warner Archive Collection

MGM’s remake of the grand musical can’t be ignored — the restored transfer is stunning, demonstrating the studio’s technical skill at full tilt. There are good aspects to this version, even if it’s more notable for sticky production backstories. It’s Kathryn Grayson’s high water mark at MGM and Howard Keel does his usual fine work, but Ava Gardner steals the show. MGM’s musical arrangements for the Hammerstein / Kern songbook is as good as ever. Critics in 1951 loved the bright Technicolor and it was one of the top $ money earners of the year. Co-Starring William Warfield, Joe E. Brown, Agnes Moorehead and Marge and Gower Champion. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.