Edna Ferber’s classic tale of life and love among a theatrical troupe on a Mississippi riverboat has received many dramatic treatments since its birth over eighty years ago.
But none is more satisfying than this 1936 production, widely accepted as the best and most faithful of three screen versions of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical. A splendid, indeed definitive, cast features Irene Dunne as the lovely Magnolia, fated to fall for Allan Jones’ dashing riverboat gambler, Gaylord Ravenal. It is their turbulent romance and Magnolia’s growth from a shy guileless girl to a mature star of the stage that form the core of the story.
In her last film appearance, Helen Morgan will break your heart as the tragic Julie, with her songs “Bill” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man.” And there is perhaps no more memorable performance in musical history than Paul Robeson's moving rendition of “Ol’ Man River.”