An all-star cast that includes Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O'Connor, Johnnie Ray and Mitzi Gaynor sparks this tuneful Irving Berlin musical that depicts the trials and triumphs of a veteran vaudeville family. Molly (Merman) and Terry (Dailey) Donahue start out as a duo and keep adding kids to the act until they finally become The 5 Donahues. Their busy, sometimes tumultuous lives aren't always easy, but the Donahues have plenty of love to get them through the hard times and more than enough talent to keep them on top. Highlighted by one classic Irving Berlin song after another and an array of dazzling production numbers, this upbeat, utterly delightful tale of life on the stage proves, beyond and doubt, that There's No Business Like Show Business!
This 1954 dinosaur brings together two giants of Broadway, Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin, just as their moment was passing forever, to create one last hurrah: a celebration of the glories that were vaudeville. Still, it's hard to imagine that Broadway--or nightclub entertaining, for that matter--was ever quite this lavish and satisfying. The story centers on a married couple, the Donahues (Dan Dailey and Merman), who live on the road as vaudeville entertainers, and since they have children, begin incorporating the kids into the act. Eventually, the kids grow up to be Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, and Johnny Ray, and they begin having interests of their own. Donald's is an ambitious showgirl (Marilyn Monroe), whose standoffish response to his romantic overtures drives him to drink. Best for its lavish, splashy production numbers built around some of the best of the Berlin songbook, including the title tune and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody." --Marshall Fine
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