Warner Archive has just released on DVD the 1936 version of the classic Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical "Show Boat," starring Irene Dunne, Paul Robeson, Allan Jones, the legendary torch singer Helen Morgan and Hattie McDaniel. Though the racial themes and archetype portrayals of African Americans have badly dated, the musical, which revolves around the performers on a Mississippi River show boat, features not-to-be-missed renditions of the beloved standards "Old Man River," powerfully performed by Robeson, "Bill," "Make Believe" and "Can't Help Loving Dat Man." And director James Whale ( "Frankenstein") proved he was as adept with musicals as he was with horror films. Pictured: Paul Robeson in "Show Boat" in 1936.
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