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Harry Joe Brown
Min owns the waterfront hotel where Bill, the captain of a fishing boat, lives. Also living and working in the hotel is Nancy, whom Min took in some years ago as an abandoned girl. Now that Nancy is older, the truant officer and the police think that she should be moved to a different environment, and Min is torn between her attachment to Nancy and her concern that the waterfront may not be the best place for a young woman. Matters are brought to a head by the sudden re-appearance of Belle, Nancy's disreputable mother. Written by
The dialogue is not as modern as my summary, as "Min And Bill" is shot through with the vernacular of the 20's. Love it when people say, for instance, "So's your old man", or "Aw,jeepers ....". It's almost like a lost language, one that you only hear in old movies. Problem is that often accompanying old expressions is that the plots of the movies are often threadbare with age, and that's what happens here. This one is the one about the guardian who raises a baby from infancy, and doesn't want to part with it when hemmed in by circumstances. It's been done many times since.
But this one stars Marie Dressler, which sets it apart. Here she is a rumpled old 'wharf rat' who runs a waterfront hotel/flophouse saddled with a barnacle/fisherman (Wallace Beery) who has attached himself to her. She is raising a teen-age girl who was dropped at her doorstep as a baby, and here is where the story becomes familiar.
Marie Dressler died too soon. She was, for a short time, a national treasure - even though she was Canadian. She starred in too few pictures but won an Oscar for this one. In all her movies, she was pitch perfect, with a little staginess - but she was a stage actress before Hollywood called.
Sad to say, there will never be another like her, but "Min And Bill" is a good example of her thoroughly entertaining on-screen persona. She was good in "Anna Christie" and, especially, in "Dinner At Eight", in which she achieves immortality with the knock-out punch last line in the picture.
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