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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
Tugboat Annie reunited Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler for a second time after the big hit they made with Min And Bill. Although that first film was more dramatic and Dressler got her Best Actress Award for Min And Bill, Tugboat Annie still has a lot of laughs and heart in it as Marie Dressler cares for her husband, child, and business which is running a salvage tug out of Puget Sound.
Marie of course is in the title role and she skippers the USS Narcissus and works in a man's world. She lives on the tug with her husband and child Frankie Darro who grows up to be Robert Young. Beery is her shiftless drunken husband, but she's determined to raise their son to make something of himself.
Flashing forward several years, Robert Young is now captain of an ocean liner and working for a former rival of Dressler's, Tammany Young who has worked his way up from the salvage business. Young is engaged to Tammany's daughter Maureen O'Sullivan, but he's not that crazy of his parents stepping into society, Marie doesn't fit and she knows it, and Beery is just Beery.
Who periodically goes off on a toot and always lets his family down. However in the end during a crisis on the Narcissus, Beery does come through. It's why she loves and puts up with him.
MGM put a little money into Tugboat Annie doing a whole lot of location shooting in Puget Sound. I don't know whether the cast got up there or their footage was done on the sound stage, but it certainly was blended in nicely with background shots.
In real life Beery and Dressler hardly got along, then again Wallace Beery got along with very few people in the world. Still their on screen chemistry is not to be denied in Tugboat Annie which holds up every bit as good for today.
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