| Bibliography |
Based on a best-selling novel by Edna Ferber and its
ground-breaking Broadway musical adaptation by Jerome Kern and Oscar
Hammerstein II, SHOW BOAT, with its colorful characters, provocative drama,
all-American love story and romantic river locales, was destined for silver
screen success. Each a lavish production in its own time, all three
film adaptations of SHOW BOAT -- from Universal's 1929
silent-with-sound-sequences melodrama, through its stylized 1936
multi-generational musical, to MGM's glamorous 1951 Technicolor condensation
-- were both critical and box-office champions of their day. The
ravages of time and the wisdom of hindsight have aged each of them
differently however, and as the primary legacy for this
watershed-yet-rarely-performed musical and its
auspicious-yet-infrequently-read literary foundation, all three films offer
unique perspectives on their source material and continue to influence
interpretations of the times, places and people they depict.
Because its author had received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big
the previous year, hopes were high when Edna Ferber's SHOW BOAT was first
serialized in Woman's Home Companion in 1926.
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