The acting is a trifle dated and at times the field workers are just a little too happy, but if you want to see a film that best represents the kind of musical MGM was turning out a few years before the movie musical became passe, try ''Show Boat,'' now playing at the Senator Theatre.
This particular ''Show Boat,'' the third screen version of the Edna Ferber classic, was made in 1951 when MGM may have been king of the musicals. Ava Gardner, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Agnes Morehead, Marge and Gower Champion and Joe E. Brown were the principals. William Warfield was chosen to sing ''Ol' Man River,'' for which the musical may be best known.
Every song, however, is a classic. You can't help but sing along.
It was reported that the studio considered Lena Horne for the role of Julie, the singer who was half black, half white. In time, they went with Gardner, whose beauty, at the time, was unarguable. Her voice, however, was. She didn't do her singing. Someone did it for her, though it was her voice that was heard on the recording.