Show Boat (1951)

credit: thefilmexperience.netGambling turns out to be risky and Ava Gardner is kind of scary without makeup.

SPOILER ALERT: Stop this clip at 3:40 if you don’t want to see the ending:

 

I thought this movie was unbearably slow the first time I saw it, but I recently gave it another chance and I really, really liked it — though I can’t say the same thing about the straight-to-home-video Disney classic Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. (Watching that movie the first time is one of the top 10 regrets of my life. Watching it a second time is in the top five.)

If you’re familiar with other old musicals, you’ll recognize Howard Keel from Calamity Jane or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. You might also recognize Kathryn Grayson from Anchors Aweigh or one of my favorite but lesser known musicals called The Desert Song. Both performers have incredible voices, and one of them has an even more incredible mustache. (I’m not telling you which one.)

Ava Gardner had a good singing voice too, but her songs ended up being dubbed by a another singer named Annette Warren. (Warren was also a ghost singer for Lucille Ball in a couple of her old films with Bob Hope.)

It’s William Warfield, though, who steals the show with his performance of Ol’ Man River. That’s not an easy song to sing, either. I know because when I try to sing it in the shower, my old man river sounds more like an adolescent puddle.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Nobody in this movie shrinks then gets attacked by a scorpion while sitting in a lego but saved at the last minute by an ant who sacrifices itself in their behalf.

credit: monsterhuntermoviereviews.comI thought this was a good one for the weekend prior to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The racism narrative is only part of the movie’s message, but it’s beautifully woven into the primary pattern of the film’s fabric.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Thankfully, there is at least One among us who has no trouble looking past our skins and into our hearts. His opinion is the only one we should care about anyway, seeing as how the Son of God will be our ultimate Judge and Jury.

In the meantime, we will work wonders in our own sphere of influence if we could learn to see one another the same way He sees each of us.

 “…He denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” – 2 Nephi 26:33

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