Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein Il's immortal musical adaptation of Edna Ferber's sprawling novel receives its most faithful and enduring cinematic treatment under the elegant direction of James Whale. A rich portrait of changing American entertainment traditions and race relations, 'Show Boat' spans five 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 family's humble floating playhouse in the 1880's South to the bright footlights of the 1930's 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 "Ol' Man River" 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 "Show Boat", a new interview program featuring professor and author Shana L. Redmond
Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1979), an Academy Award-winning short documentary by Saul J. Turell, newly restored
Four performances from the sound prologue of the 1929 film version of Show Boat, including songs from original Broadway cast members Helen Morgan, Jules Bledsoe, and Tess Gardella, plus twenty minutes of silent excerpts from the film, with audio commentary by Kreuger
Two radio adaptations of 'Show Boat', featuring stage and screen cast members Morgan, Allan Jones, and Charles Winninger; producer Orson Welles; and novelist Edna Ferber