Two great new blu ray and dvd releases are coming  from The Criterion Collection in March,2020. The 1936  SHOW BOAT and 1945’s LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN.

Heaven indeed to get these two classics restored and re-issued.

I love the art work for the covers – Show Boat design by Brooklyn based Raphael Geroni and Leave Her To Heaven by French graphic designer, Flore Maquin.

Not much in the way of extras on the Gene Tierney film, but Show  Boat has quite a few – a 1989 audio commentary by Show  Boat expert, Miles Kreuger; an interview with James Whale biographer, James Curtis; a 1979 tribute to Paul Robeson;  two radio adaptations, one featuring Orson Welles ; and 20 minutes of silent excerpts from the 1929 version of Show  Boat, with audio by Miles Kreuger.

(I never did figure out what the point  was of filming Show Boat without the glorious Jerome Kern  music).

Apparently the Warner Archive had plans for an “Ultimate Show Boat Collection”, but it didn’t happen. I did read that MGM/UA Home Video released all three film versions on laser disc in 1995. I wonder if anyone has this collection!

I love the 1936 Show Boat because director James Whale tried to stay as faithful as possible to the classic Broadway show of 8 years earlier. From the stage version he brought Helen Morgan,Charles  Winninger, Irene Dunne,Paul Robeson, Sammy White . (Irene and Paul weren’t in the first Broadway production but Irene toured in it, and Paul played it in London and in the 1932 revival.)

Universal had hoped to borrow Nelson Eddy from MGM, but the role of Ravenal went to Allan Jones. ( John Boles was also considered.)

I like how Frank S. Nugent ends his 1936 review of Show Boat:

”Universal is to be congratulated – Show Boat is in port again, and we hope it finds a safe harbour.”

If only it had been in color. Ten years later, Leave Her To Heaven was made in blazing Technicolor.

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is released on March 24th, 2020. SHOW BOAT is March 31st.



Allan Jones, Irene Dunne.


The Cotton Blossom


Paul Robeson. “Ol’ Man River.”


Charles Winninger as ‘Captain Andy’


Sammy White, Queenie Smith.



Cornel Wilde, Gene Tierney


Gene Tierney


Bad sister, good sister! Gene Tierney, Jeanne Crain. They did look alike.


Who can forget that scene on the lake!!!


( Here are two further designs , not connected to the disc releases, by Flore Maquin and Raphael Geroni:)

By Flore Maquin.



Book cover by Raphael Geroni.




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