NEW 35mm PRINT! ► “This was Universal’s second attempt at bringing Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s Broadway sensation to the screen and it still shines as Hollywood’s best adaptation. Director James Whale (Frankenstein) channels the play’s frank depictions of gambling, alcoholism, and racism into brooding, Expressionist compositions while giving ample sweep and bounce to riveting musical numbers — including Paul Robeson’s always stirring rendition of ‘Ol’ Man River’ and Helen Morgan’s heartbreaking ‘Bill.’” (UCLA Film and Television Archive). “Splendid ... Universal really poured its money into this film, and it shows in the lovely set designs, sumptuous cinematography, and the actual riverboat built for the film ... Show Boat’s many-tiered plot is secondary to its extraordinary score, but it does make for some beguiling romance, delightful comedy, and potent dramatics. Whale, here essaying his first musical, does some typically marvellous things with the camera and the mise-en-scène and gets wonderful performances from his cast ... Robeson’s immortal rendition of “Ol’ Man River” is stunningly staged ... When Morgan sings ‘Bill,’ one feels privileged to witness one of the greatest filmed performances of a song in the history of cinema” (James Monaco). B&W, 35mm. 115 mins.
A Note on the New Print: The original film elements of 1936’s Show Boat, one of Hollywood’s greatest and most important musicals, have long been lost. This new 35mm print, prepared by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, has been struck from the best-available materials in the vaults of Warner Brothers, the film’s current rights holder.
"Whale does superbly by this much-loved Kern-Hammerstein musical, abetted by modestly handsome sets and lustrous camerawork from John Mescall."Time Out | full review
"Not merely one of the best musical shows of the century but that it contained the gossamer stuff for one of the finest musical films we have seen."New York Times | full review