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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » Show Boat (1936 version).

   
Author Topic: Show Boat (1936 version).
Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3055
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 01-11-2007 04:04 PM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does anybody know if there are any plans to release this on DVD? I have the Laserdisc box set which was released some years ago with all three versions, but only the 1951 one seems to have ever been released on DVD, and somebody I know wants a copy of the 1936 one.

Also, is there any chance that the three (I think) missing sound disks for the 1929 mainly silent version (if that makes any sense) have turned up since the Laserdisc set was released, to fill the 30 minutes or so that was missing?

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

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From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-14-2007 01:40 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They hadn't as of September 2005, when I visited California and had dinner with a friend at the UCLA archive and some of his colleagues. One of them was working with Robert Gitt on the Vitaphone project, and those discs were near the top of the wish list of missing ones they'd dearly love to find copies of.

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Warren Smyth
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 157
From: Auckland ,New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 02-02-2007 03:39 AM      Profile for Warren Smyth   Email Warren Smyth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've been looking for the 1936 version of Show Boat on DVD for some time. I do hope it gets released as I only have a poor copy on VHS. I think the adaptation is closer to the original stage musical and the performances are very good.

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Stephen Furley
Film God

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From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 02-02-2007 03:57 PM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've never sen the stage show, nor read the book. The three films are all very different, and in my opinion the 1936 version is by far the best of the three. It's odd that three versions of a film should have been made in just twenty two years. And how much things changed, technically, in those few years! The 1929 film was mainly silent, except for the music on discs. The 1951 version was in colour, and not only in sound, but some of the original recordings were magnetic. This film really was the end of one era, and the beginning of another in technical terms; not only were some parts recorded optically, and others magnetically, but some original elements were nitrate, while others were triacetate, according the the notes which come with the Laserdisc box set.

The 1936 version, apart from being generally regarded as the best, is also the most interesting, though some scenes may seem somewhat offensive to modern eyes. I must get the Laserdisc out and have another look at it. There's also a good print of it in this Country; it had a rare screening at the NFT some years ago, as part of a Paul Robeson season.

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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 02-02-2007 04:25 PM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Stephen Furley
It's odd that three versions of a film should have been made in just twenty two years
Odd, perhaps. But not unheard of. There were two earlier versions of 1941's MALTESE FALCON. The first was in 1931. The second (re-named SATAN MET A LADY) was in 1936.

Also, Cecil B. DeMille directed THREE versions of THE SQUAW MAN (1914, 1918, 1931).

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Warren Smyth
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 157
From: Auckland ,New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 02-03-2007 12:46 AM      Profile for Warren Smyth   Email Warren Smyth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As one musical historian once said, "There is the American musical, and then there is Show Boat"
There is no doubt that it stands out as being one of best and possibly the first where the music was written for the story rather than just a bunch of tunes round which a story was woven. It is difficult for us to imagine now, just how daring it was for a story to be staged in the twenties, which dealt with racial issues. The music by Jerome Kern is some of the most beautiful ever written for musical theatre.

The stage version was so long that Ziegfield, the show's first producer, ordered it be shortened after the first performance. The result was that the opening number was deleted and only existed as a few dramatic bars at the start of the overture on subsequent performances.

The film versions were shortened from the original score although there was another song specially written for one of them. I agree that the 1936 version is by far the best although it was shot in monochrome.

For any Show Boat fan, I can recommend a twin CD set that was recorded by the London Sinfonieta conducted by John McGlinn. This is an excellent recording with performances by Teresa Stratas, Jerry Hadley and Frederica Von Stade. The remarkable thing about this, is that it includes ALL the music from the original manuscripts which were found a few years ago in a warehouse and thought to be lost. It also includes the extra music that was written for the film. I think it is available as a single cd but it is the twin cd set that represents the complete version. It conveys the absolute brilliance of Kern and Hammerstein who wrote the lyrics

A telvision documentary about the making of the recording called THE SHOW BOAT STORY is a really good watch. It includes some of the musical performances as well as a detailed history of the musical which originates from a book by Edna Ferber. Film clips from all films are included. Unfortunately, I cannot see any reference to it having been released on DVD.

I saw Show Boat on stage as a child and recently at the beautiful restored Regent Melbourne. It was worth the trip across the Tasman to see. It was a performance I'll never forget. Show Boat remains one of my favorite musicals. Let's hope we see a restored release of the 1936 film version on DVD soon. Until then, I will just have to put up with my very low resolution copy on VHS.

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Mike Schindler
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From: Oak Park, IL, USA
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 02-27-2007 03:14 PM      Profile for Mike Schindler   Email Mike Schindler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This was posted by some Warner Home Video reps in a chat on the Home Theatre Forum yesterday:

It is still our plan to release THE COMPLETE SHOW BOAT with 1929, 36, and 51 in Ultra-Rez, but it won't happen this year. Perhaps next.

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Bill Gabel
Film God

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From: Technicolor / Postworks NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 02-28-2007 01:47 PM      Profile for Bill Gabel   Email Bill Gabel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Show Boat (1936) is slated to run on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on Thursday March 29th at 8:30am.

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Stephen Furley
Film God

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From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 05-04-2007 03:44 PM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Warren Smyth
There is no doubt that it stands out as being one of best and possibly the first where the music was written for the story rather than just a bunch of tunes round which a story was woven. It is difficult for us to imagine now, just how daring it was for a story to be staged in the twenties, which dealt with racial issues.
And then they made the 1951 version, which left out so much of the story. It also didn't have Paul Robeson in it of course, which is something else that the 1936 version had going for it. It's a pity he only made a few films; I think 'Show Boat' and 'The Proud Valley' are the best.

I don't know if 'Show Boat' has been shown on television in this country; if it has I haven't seen it, but it could have been on one of the cable channels which I can't get. I've seen it twice at the NFT, about twenty years apart, and on the Laserdisc version, which I'm watching again at the moment.

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Jeff Taylor
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 601
From: Chatham, NJ/East Hampton, NY
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 06-06-2007 10:53 AM      Profile for Jeff Taylor   Email Jeff Taylor   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Seems to me I had heard that the OCN for the 1936 Showboat was lost/destroyed. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a really good quality print of it. Does anyone know what survivies in the way of pre-print?

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Richard P. May
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 243
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Jan 2006


 - posted 06-06-2007 12:27 PM      Profile for Richard P. May   Email Richard P. May   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The original negative is long gone. It was made by Universal, then acquired by MGM in the late 1940s, when they made the "life story" of Jerome Kern, TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY. This picture has a long opening sequence from SHOW BOAT, with Kathryn Grayson and Tony Martin.
WB (now the owner of this library) has quite decent printing elements.

RPM

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