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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 tugboat business. Dressler dotes on his son and his snooty girlfriend. Written by
The role of Patricia 'Pat' Severn was initially to be played by Madge Evans. The studio, however, was unsatisfied with her appeal to the audience and replaced her with newcomer Maureen O'Sullivan. See more »
I thought Marie Dressler was great and died too soon, and that's the main reason for my rating on "Tugboat Annie". She carries the picture and was better than she was in "Min and Bill", the one she won an AA for three years before. The narrative here is more a series of vignettes on the life of a tugboat skipper, strung together and concerning the same group of people. The plot seems disjointed and each episode is an end in itself.
What is really annoying is the presence, or rather the character played by Wallace Beery. He was adept at playing a big slob but he overdoes it in 'Tugboat Annie", so much so that you wish he would get washed overboard or that she would leave him ashore, preferably on foreign soil. There is no way anyone could put up with incompetence and irresponsibility of this kind. He plays an unabashed drunk who nearly ruins her financially, and the ending barely justifies his behavior to that point.
Robert Young and Maureen O'Sullivan are along for appearances but with little to do. But it is a chance to see one of the best comediennes ever to grace the Silver Screen and Hollywood was poorer for it when she passed on.
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