Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Like Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), 20th Century-Fox's There's No Business Like Show Business is a "catalogue" film, its thinnish plot held together by an itinerary of Irving Berlin tunes. The story chronicles some twenty years in the lives of a showbiz family, headed by Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman. Two of the couple's three grown children -- Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor -- carry on the family tradition, while the third, Johnny Ray, decides to become a priest. There are a few tense moments when O'Connor falls in love with ambitious chorine Marilyn Monroe and loses all sense of perspective, but the family reunites during a splashy production-number finale. Highlights include Dailey and Merman's Play a Simple Melody duet, O'Connor's A Man Chases a Girl solo, and Monroe's tempestuous rendition of Heat Wave (her delivery and stage presence both compensate for her unflattering bare-midriff costume). Of historical interest, There's No Business Like Show Business was Fox's first CinemaScope musical; as such, it is best viewed on TV in "letterbox" format.
chorus-girl, extramarital-affair, family, parent/child-relationship, performer, priest, show-business