The Donahues – husband and wife Terry and Molly, and their three offspring Steve, Katy and Tim – are a song and dance act. Their survival as a performing act of five and as a family collective is presented. Under their family name, Terry and Molly were a successful vaudeville act in the early 1920s, they who subsequently under the names the Three Donahues, the Four Donahues and the Five Donahues, trotted out Steve, then Steve and Katy, then Steve, Katy and Tim on stage as early as they being toddlers. Molly was able to convince Terry to give the kids a stable education at a boarding school as the two of them continued their on the road career in Molly wanting the kids to have a normal life. They were pleasantly surprised that the kids grew up not only to have musical performing talent, but wanted to perform as a family unit as the Five Donahues. That harmony on and off stage was threatened first by Steve contemplating following another calling – the threat not only in his thought of …
User Reviews: Married vaudeville duo Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey (as Molly and Terry Donahue) continue their success over three decades when children Johnnie Ray (as Steve), Mitzi Gaynor (as Katy) and Donald O’Connor (as Tim) re-join the act as adults. But "The Five Donahues" are rocked by Mr. Ray’s desire to become a priest and Mr. O’Connor’s involvement with bawdy stage rival Marilyn Monroe (as Victoria "Vicky Parker" Hoffman). Seeing these six people perform a string of Irving Berlin songs live on stage would be an unimaginable treat, but they are rendered gross in 20th Century Fox’ weakly plotted CinemaScope extravaganza…
O’Connor and Ray are the most mismatched. The former, playing the youngest kid, has no romantic "chemistry" with Ms. Monroe. Ray is too vague in in the "reverential" role, with both his wailing ballad and sexualized jazz sounds underused. Monroe’s sex appeal is thankfully on display, with her "Heat Wave" being a highlight, but she arrives on screen after you’re first yawn. Nobody thought about letting Monroe and Ray cut loose in a duet. The show does go on, however, with Ms. Merman belting them out and never letting go. Mr. Dailey and Ms. Gaynor are overshadowed, but all remain game, "Even with a turkey that you know will fold…"
****** There’s No Business Like Show Business (12/16/54) Walter Lang ~ Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O’Connor, Johnnie Ray