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There's No Business Like Show Business (The Diamond Collection)

Ethel Merman , Marilyn Monroe , Walter Lang    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Amazon.ca

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

Product Description

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!

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must Have Musical Feb. 20 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I think this is one of the best musicals available. And- if you're into musicals this one you need to get. Since Hollywood refuses to make musicals you better latch on to this one while you can. I think the color and the musical numbers are wonderful! And in those days they used better color for films than they do today! For color films and for tv viewing they use cheap color. Many people has told me that they thought their tv was fading out and had a foggy color to it. I've told them it's not their tv at all. The best color was always used back in the 40's and 50's. I see nothing ethnically wrong in the film that would be wrong. People are just too too sensitive these days and now they are picking the old films apart. They need to learn how to get over it. I am so glad that they have not destroyed these old films because 98 per cent of the films today are trash and will never become classics such as this one. When all the great producers and directors and screenwriters pass away there just seems like no one can take their place. They knew what they were doing back then. The craftsmanship has been lost.
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3.0 out of 5 stars We're having a heat wave.... Sept. 20 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Opening text: "Back in 1919, Vaudeville was a very big part of Show Business. Our story is about the Donahues, a very little part of Vaudeville."
Yes, the trials and triumphs of the Donahues are examined from 1919 to World War II. They go from being the Two Donahues to The Five Donahues, with variances inbetween. There are the parents, Molly and Terrance, and their three offspring, Steven, Katy, and Tim, whose adult careers are also covered.
However, the real drama involves the two sons. Steven decides to become a priest, which upsets the father. However, his mother and Katy are supportive. It's all a matter of perspective. For Steve, it's a change in venue, only the church has had a pretty long run. Tim becomes romantically involved with aspiring blonde singer Vicky Parker, played by (guess who?) and runs into all sorts of ups and downs. However, he gets jealous when he suspects he's having an affair with the producer, Lew Harris.
The musical numbers vary from extravagant and splashy to simplistic, and it's the latter that play better, such as the "Lazy" number featuring Monroe, Gaynor, and O'Connor. However, the "Heat Wave" number, with Latin rhythms fused with the usual big band stuff and MM's hot costume, is a highlight. And the lengthy "Alexander's Ragtime Band" may offend those of German, French, and Scottish ancestry who don't like this glossy cariacaturing of their ethnicity, i.e. costumes and bogus accents. Still, the bright colours are praiseworthy.
The interractions between Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey work the best, as the parents who want the best for their children and struggle. At one point, they buy a house in Jersey, but what a time for a mortgage, especially during the Depression.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A glorious DVD June 18 2002
Format:DVD
A fine piece of entertainment, There's No Business has however also sides that prevent it from being brilliant. The script is acceptable, though lacking any originality (we follow the career of the Donahues, a family of vaudeville artists) but Walter Lang's direction reveals that this survivor of the still movies era was completely lost with the wide screen that was assigned to him by 20th Century Fox. Throughout the movie his actors are nicely aligned in front of us, sitting or standing next to each other in order to fill the screen and photographed in full or medium shot. The song and dance numbers are exclusively photographed from a theatre spectator's point of view facing the stage. This was only Cinemascope's second year and many directors had problems in finding how to use this large screen space that was assigned to them. But even so, the musical numbers are brilliant and it is a pleasure to watch them. All of the songs are not of a Berlin top level, but Alexander's Ragtime Band, A Simple Melody and Heat Wave are by all means among his best.
The cast has it's better and it's lesser performances. Ethel Merman is as always a force of nature even if she is less dominating than she had been a year before in the same Walter Lang´¿ Call me Madam. Marilyn Monroe is brilliant, as she often was, and so is Donald O'Connor as the funniest character of the whole bunch. Lovely Mitzi Gaynor isn't given much of a chance and Dan Dailey is a little on the stiff side, his real talent only showing when he starts dancing. As to Johnny Ray, one soon understands why his career in the movies was so short. But with the role he attributed, he hadn´¿t been given much of a chance.
What makes this DVD really worthy is its quality.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Now We Know What Really Happened To Vaudeville Dec 31 2001
Format:DVD
The problem with trying to describe this movie is coming up with the right adjectives. Words like flashy, colorful, gaudy and flat keep coming to mind; but the essential fault with "There's No Business Like Show Business," directed by Walter Lang, can best be summed up by borrowing a line or two from Ernest L. Thayer's immortal poem, "Casey At the Bat," which ends with the lines, "But there is no joy in Mudville, Mighty Casey has struck out." Because, what this movie lacks-- and it's hard to fathom why-- is joy. Like Casey, it strikes out, big time. And it's a shame. It's like having all of the resources to construct the most magnificent building the world has ever seen, including the greatest architects available, and the contractor ends up with a hut a child could've made out of tinker toys. There's a story here, of course, but it's obvious that the main intention of the project was to showcase the talents of the stars and some very mediocre songs by Irving Berlin, and to dazzle the audience by filling the wide screen with brilliant, colorful images (CinemaScope was the latest, greatest rage at the time, and the studios wanted to make the most of this revolutionary technological advancement). Someone should have reminded the filmmakers that what they were filling that screen with counted, as well.
The story begins in 1919, whereupon we are introduced to the Vaudeville team of Molly and Terence Donahue (Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey). The next few years are touched upon briefly as Molly and Terry add three children to their family, as well as their act; the toddlers hit the stage with mom and dad almost as soon as they make their entrance into the world. The story begins in earnest when the youngest Donahues hit legal age, or there abouts.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Musical entertainment
Pretty good song and dance movie. Pure entertainment and fun to watch. If you like musicals like me then please by all means watch this one.
Published 9 months ago by Diane Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars What's a 'title'?
I don't have time to give a review that it at least 20 words long. What's wrong with just giving a star rating?
Published on Nov. 29 2011 by Richard B. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars It's the Five Donahues..............
Ok Ok. I have been a lifelong Marilyn Monroe fan since childhood, I love her. But when you are a Marilyn fan you have to put up with hit and miss movies. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Johny Bottom
4.0 out of 5 stars BETTY GRABLE WHY DID'NT YOU DO THIS MOVIE?
Betty Grable was supposed to play the Ethel merman part , but looked to young to be a mother of grown ups Donald O'Conner , Mitzi Gaynor and Johnny Ray so they hired Merman.
Published on March 21 2004 by BETTY GRABLE
3.0 out of 5 stars Has it's moments, but mostly DULLSVILLE
Of all the Marilyn Monroe DVDs I've seen (about 7) this was the only one I didn't take to. Of course when Marilyn's on the screen, it's great, but the rest of the time I found it... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2003 by Coleen
5.0 out of 5 stars One hell of a good show !
They don't make 'em like this any more ! Of course, some will say "Thank Goodness" ! Still , it's a pleasant enough musical yarn and worth a look if only for the... Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2003 by Bruce Corneil
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT ETHEL
One of the great musicals of the 50`s. All star cast and great numbers. Ethel Merman at her finest singing the title song. Worth buying the DVD just for that. Read more
Published on April 12 2002 by J JARVIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for Everyone
This movie has something for everyone. Watched it for the first time today, then read reviews here on Amazon and elsewhere on internet. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2002 by Ronald Kubik
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for Everyone
This movie has something for everyone. Watched it for the first time today, then read reviews here on Amazon and elsewhere on internet. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2002 by Ronald Kubik
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