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on December 4, 2007
I love musicals and this one has been a favorite since it first came out in 1954. I was thrilled to receive the DVD and even more thrilled to find that the songs and dances were still as wonderful as I remembered, the production numbers still as splendid, and the total show as remarkable as ever.

Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman are Terry and Molly Donahue, vaudeville performers circa 1919 when the movie opens. They quickly add children Steve (Johnnie Ray) Katy (Mitzi Gaynor) and Tim (Donald O'Connor) to the act as each child is old enough to wobble on stage. They become the successful act known as The Five Donahues and tour constantly even as vaudeville dies away. When their paths cross with an ambitious blonde named Vicky (Marilyn Monroe) things are never the same. She breaks Tim's heart and he spirals downward into an alcoholic haze, son Steve leaves the act when he decides to become a priest, and Broadway replaces vaudeville as the elder Donahues spend less time on stage and more time in their New Jersey home. The ending always leaves me dissolved in tears, but it is the lavish production numbers that make this a favorite. From the catchy opening of Merman and Dailey performing "When That Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'" (later reprised by Gaynor and O'Connor) to the lavish staging of "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and the uplifting closing of the title song, this movie is a feast for fans of music and dance. Even though Marilyn Monroe shines in her sexy "Heat Wave" number, the long-legged Dailey makes dancing an effortless joy throughout and Merman's voice is uncommonly rich, it is Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor who enthusiastically dance their way into your heart and steal every scene they are in.
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on September 4, 2006
This is a great movie with Marilyn Monroe and Ethel Merman.

However the real star of this movie is the vivacious Mitzi Gaynor! She steals every scene she is in. She is beautiful, talented, and hard to take your eyes off of!

I recommend this movie ! I also recommend " Anything Goes"

with Mitzi Gaynor. It has just been restored and the look of it is probably the best color of any DVD I own.
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on December 4, 2009
According to Webster's, eclectic is "selecting what appears to be the best in various doctrines, methods or styles." That's what this movie does. If you're expecting a showcase for your favorite star -- whichever one it is -- you'll probably be disappointed, because all five of them shine brilliantly in this movie. If you're expecting every star to provide another version of their usual persona, you'll also be disappointed. And those are the very reasons this is one of my favorite movies of all time. There are serious spoilers in the next paragraph!

The other reviews have described the characters and plot, so I won't repeat that. At first blush, this seems like a standard potboiler movie from when they cranked out movies by the hundreds. But there are oddly modern twists in it and thought-provoking role reversals. Vaudeville performers had a reputation for being wild and immoral, but these two (Ethyl Merman & Dan Dailey) are focused on raising their kids right. They're scandalized when one of those kids wants to live a life (the priesthood) that's unheard of in their family -- but after parental agonizing, they accept that this child is "different" and finally decide to love him anyway, just as he is. (Substitute homosexuality for priesthood, the parental discussions will sound familiar.) Donald O'Connor is the romantic male lead in the major love story instead of the sidekick, and shows his dance/choreography chops in a number that is surreal and brilliantly imaginative. He gets to play a complicated character who has no goals and makes stupid decisions, someone you might have met (or been) in real life. He's the romantic who's focused on finding someone he can build his life around (a traditional feminine ambition at the time), and the object of his affections is almost totally career-driven and hardly notices him (a traditional male role, ditto). Marilyn Monroe's character is an undeclared feminist -- she doesn't campaign for it, but she stands Donald up on a date because she's got a career crisis going on and gets irritated when he doesn't understand. That's consistent with her character, who also struggles with the role society demands of her. Years later, in real life, Marilyn took her career seriously enough to study acting with Lee Strasburg and was criticised for it -- a sex kitten trying to act? Deja vu...

There's a lot of stuff going on in this movie that would be startling now, and they get away with it because the musical numbers are great and the plot is superficially standard. It's as if they collected musicians from different genres -- say, country/western, opera, rap, pop and jazz -- and let each one do their own thing to the max. If you can put your expectations aside and see it as it is -- adventurous ideas and letting the stars use their talents without being restricted by typecasting -- you might love it as much as I do.
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on September 23, 2013
This disc as rated by BLURAY DOT COM, which i always look at before a BD purchase was RIGHT ON THE MARK saying: "...ease, with newfound detail and texture and overall refinement. The transfer's candy-hued color palette —which might pass for Technicolor—is simply stunning, with vivid reds, intense blues, and creamy skin tones. Contrast and tonal balance are spot-on, and besides the expected—and brief—color fluctuations around scene changes, the picture is stable and consistent..... If a little dynamically flat and bass-less, like a lot of mid-century movies, the music sounds great, with no peaking in the highs and no hisses or crackles." ...... and is a stunning piece of WIDESCREEN musical film magic.
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on April 12, 2002
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. Marilyns Heatwave number makes the mercury jump to 93. Dan Dailey always one of my favorites overshadowed by Astaire and Kelly. Donald O Connors finest hour was of course Make Em Laugh from Singing In The Rain but this is close second.The lovely Mitzi Gaynor and of course a man sadly forgotten by some nowadays. The Prince of Wails himself. Johnny Ray proving that he was better that most pop singers who turn to acting.I remember seeing this at a young age in our local theatre and thinking it was great all these years later i still feel the same...The question now is when will Call Me Madam appear on DVD also starring Ethel and Donald. A treat indeed for anyone who enjoy`s a good musical.
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I know you're going to watch THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1954). There's a good chance you got it in the PREMIERE COLLECTION of most of Marilyn's films, and after all this is the one where she sings "(We're Having A) Heat Wave." The cast is spectacular: in addition to Marilyn there are Johnny Ray, Mitzi Gaynor, Donald O'Connor, Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman, the last two being the real stars of the show as heads of the "Five Donahues," a family Vaudeville troupe at their peak in the Twenties and Thirties. I suppose there's nothing wrong with making the Vaudeville family Irish, but does the behavior have to be so stereotypical? One son becomes an alcoholic, another (spoiler) enters the priesthood. Head of family/business boss/mother hen Merman develops an antipathy toward outsider Marilyn's character and that, implausibly, provides what little dramatic through-line there is for this movie.

Personally, I thought Marilyn's take on "Heat Wave" was charming, even though none other than Ed Sullivan called the routine "one of the most flagrant violations of good taste" he had ever seen. Part of the plot -- though it was de-emphasized, probably for Marilyn's sake -- is that her entertainment talents as interloper "Vicky (Hoffman) Parker" are not up to the standards of the bookable Five Donahues. Out of "stage" makeup (allegedly), up against the other players, she looks exotic and a little strange. Other than that, I had never imagined that a movie based entirely on the music of Irving Berlin could edge so close to bad taste . . . and boredom. (Word has it that Monroe took this role to placate studio boss Darryl Zanuck and be awarded THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH the following year.) Typical of the less appealing aspects of this movie is an extended sequence based on Berlin's early signature tune, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." First it's done as an American Vaudeville routine, as we'd expect it to be, then in German style with plenty of oom-pah-pah both rhythmic and verbal, then a Scottish fling with uncomfortable "hoot mon's" flung in and then, if that weren't enough, a scamp-like number for Mitzi Gaynor, complete with pink chorus girls, grey-suited pseudo-French men, and too many ooh-la-lahs. Such a wonderful old song, but done to wretched excess with unimaginative repeat renditions.

The flat look of this Technicolor and CinemaScope spectacular is a little problematic, most noticeably in show routines. A backstager directed by Walter Lang, too many stage sequences are filmed straight-on and somehow make five entertaining adults look tiny compared to the size of the stage they used to fit that very wide 2.35-to-one CinemaScope ratio. In too many numbers one is left with a sense of whirling pastels, waving pennants and overbearing music performing numbers Americans of the mid-Fifties had seen done better before, in MGM musicals of the (then) recent past, or could stay home and watch in black-and-white, for free, on variety shows in the more intimate medium of television. This movie belongs to its stars, but Hugh O'Brien is solid and reassuring as the Mitzi Gaynor character's boyfriend; look fast for "boy" dancers Buzz Miller (PAJAMA GAME) and George Chakiris (WEST SIDE STORY); and comedian Alvy Moore (TV's GREEN ACRES) as a boring date.

THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS made so little money it was counted a loss, as was MGM's THE WIZARD OF OZ back in 1939. It does not rate on the list of the Top 20 moneymakers among Hollywood films for 1954, though the relatively uncelebrated drama RIVER OF NO RETURN, which paired Marilyn Monroe with Robert Mitchum, placed eleventh. For those who like to see Marilyn sing and dance with ultimate assurance, a much better choice among her movies is GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953), where she easily stands up to the more experienced Jane Russell; for comedy, THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH or SOME LIKE IT HOT; or, for drama, BUS STOP or THE MISFITS. People who are considering buying this one "a la carte" might better consider downloading it, and then decide if they need to see it more than once. While perhaps not the "bomb" the American public thought of it back in 1954, THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS has enough stretches that are dull rather than diverting that it cannot be wholeheartedly recommended.

Marilyn the Premiere Collection.
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on June 15, 2013
My husband and I truly enjoy musicals, especially the earlier ones. The story line was well played out and it was entertaining; however, how many times can you see the same routine shown several times in the movie. I realize they were going to different venues to perform, but it was monotonous after two or three times seeing and hearing the same routines.. The finale with the entire cast back together again with the performance of "There is No Business Like Show Business" was fantastic and worth waiting through the less interesting numbers. You have to love the entire cast with the exception of Marilyn Monroe. Not a big fan which is my problem.
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on October 9, 2013
I enjoy a handful of old movies, this is one of them. Funny, but I don't think of this as a "Marilyn Monroe" movie even though she was in it....due to the fact the main characters are the Donahue Family (which include Ethel Merman & a young Donald O'Connor). It is a great musical and I enjoy watching it from time to time.
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on May 1, 2013
Anyone who loves Broadway or Hollywood musicals will truly appreciate what Bluray has accomplished with this film. It has brought it to a sparkle and excitement that is missing in the original formats. With new films I was not able to appreciate Bluray since most new films in HD look terrific. Also, if you have never seen this film - be ready for several surprises..Donald O'Connor has never been mentioned as a great dancer compared with Fred and Gene. I always thought he was terrific and just as good. I thinkk you will enjoy again or for the first time. OK, it is a bit corny but still great.
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on February 17, 2013
Finally they started putting Marilyn's movies on Blu-Ray. It's about time. This is a pretty good movie with a pretty good cast. I have the dvd & this is so much better in Blu-Ray. You think the dvd is good until you see the Blu-ray. I can now toss my dvd copy. The color is really nice & it's filmed in the 2:55:1 aspect ratio. For this movie it's the only proper way to go. The audio sounded fine, but I do listen with external speakers hooked up to my old stereo system. No Digital here, but I'm sure it's probably pretty good. It's sad that they only include [2] Featurettes with the Blu-Ray. It would be nice to have had more about the movie & cast. I had to wait for the price to become reasonable, but when it did I snatched it up, & I am glad I did.
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