Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein IIâs immortal musical adaptation of Edna Ferberâs sprawling novel receives its most faithful and enduring cinematic adaptation under the elegant direction of James Whale. A rich portrait of changing American entertainment traditions and race relations, Show Boat spans four decades and three generations as it follows the fortunes of the stage-struck Magnolia (Irene Dunne), an aspiring actor whose journey takes her from her familyâs humble floating playhouse in the 1880s South to the height of fame in the 1930s North. The cast of show-business legends includes Helen Morgan, Hattie McDaniel, Charles Winninger, and the great Paul Robeson, whose iconic, soul-shaking rendition of âOlâ Man Riverâ is one of the crowning glories of the American stage and screen.
Audio commentary from 1989 featuring American-musical historian Miles Kreuger
New interview with James Whale biographer James Curtis
Recognizing Race in âShow Boat,â a new interview program featuring professor and author Shana L. Redmond
Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1979), an Academy Awardâwinning short documentary by Saul J. Turell, newly restored
Two performances from the sound prologue of the 1929 film version of Show Boat, plus twenty minutes of silent excerpts from the film, with audio commentary by Miles Kreuger
Two radio adaptations of Show Boat, featuring stage and screen cast members Allan Jones, Helen Morgan, and Charles Winninger; actor Orson Welles; and novelist Edna Ferber