SHOW BOAT
1951, Warner Brothers, 108 min, Dir: George Sidney

The revolutionary Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II gets the deluxe M-G-M treatment with the help of producer Arthur Freed and director George Sidney. Captain's daughter Kathryn Grayson falls in love with riverboat gambler Howard Keel on board the Cotton Blossom while best friend Ava Gardner watches from afar in this box office hit. “Ol' Man River” and “Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man” are among the memorable songs heard here.


KISS ME KATE
1953, Warner Bros., 109 min, USA, Dir: George Sidney

This adaptation of the Broadway hit is often cited as one of the best 3-D films of the 1950s. As divorced actors reuniting for a musical production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel get to sing some "wunderbar" Cole Porter songs, along with the great Ann Miller (“Too Darn Hot”). As you’d expect of a Golden Age MGM musical, the dancing is as marvelous as the Oscar-nominated score, with choreography by Hermes Pan (and ace hoofer/future director Bob Fosse in the role of Hortensio).


BATHING BEAUTY
1944, Park Circus/MGM, 101 min, USA, Dir: George Sidney

Hit songwriter Steve Elliott (Red Skelton) is getting married when his producer (Basil Rathbone) disrupts the ceremony to keep him focused on music; his bride (Esther Williams) leaves to teach at a women’s college and Steve uses every trick in the book to pursue her. Swimming champ Williams made such a splash in her first starring role that the Technicolor musical was retitled from “Mr. Co-Ed” to give her part more prominence (the pool sequences are justifiably legendary).


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