Waterfront couple raise their son to be a sea captain. He grows up to be rather snotty and rebels against drunken Beery. Valiant Dressler keeps things moving even as hubby ruins their ... See full summary »
Julie Cavendish comes from a family of great Broadway actors. Her mother Fanny staunchly continues acting. Her boisterous brother Tony is fleeing a breach of promise suit in Hollywood. Her ... See full summary »
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
This film had its first television showing in Los Angeles Monday 17 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by New York City Wednesday 30 January 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2) and by Philadelphia Tuesday 5 February 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); in San Francisco it first aired 17 September 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »
This isn't a great movie, certainly. But Dressler's performance is just as certainly great.
She acts with her face. And what a face! If being a movie star meant being beautiful and glamorous, Dressler had that - not at all. Her face was truly homely. But it was capable of a hundred different expressions, some of them quite subtle. She was, in a sense, the female Lon Chaney. You can see why she would have been a hit in the silents.
She can also do physical comedy with the best of them. Her knock-down, drag-out fight with Berry in his room is a stitch. Is that really Dressler in all that fighting? The story itself - lower-class mother who sacrifices everything to let her daughter have a good (read: upper-class) life was common in the 1930s. There are other famous examples, and they are all weepy. But Dressler's stoic performance of the woman who could not tell her daughter how much she loved her - and yet loved her more than her own life - remains as powerful today as it must have been then, though today it is usually presented as a father who can't express his love to his son.
The implied superiority of the "upper classes" is hard to take today, especially when you see how snooty these wealthy are. But that takes nothing away from Dressler's performance, which merited her Oscar even against some very tough - and very glamorous - competition.
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