Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She...
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Mike is a great tuna fisherman though he lost a hand to a shark years earlier saving Pipes Boley. Now Mike is happily married to Quita and doesn't notice that Pipes and Quita are falling ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
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Architect Peter Ibbetson is hired by the Duke of Towers to design a building for him. Ibbetson discovers that the Duchess of Towers, Mary, is his now-grown childhood sweetheart. Their love ... See full summary »
Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She falls in love with miner Carmichael and takes his gold dust at the wheel. She goes after him, Louis goes after her with intent to harm Carmichael. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Joel McCrea's role was initially intended for Gary Cooper, See more »
Mary 'Swan' Rutledge:
I like the fog. I like this new world. I like the noise of something happening. No, San Francisco is no place for a bad loser, man or woman. Dan Morgan was a bad loser. I'm not. I'm staying. I'm tired of dreaming, Colonel Cobb. I'm staying. I'm staying and holding out my hands for gold. Bright yellow gold.
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"You don' t think they call me 'Old Atrocity' for nothing, do you?"
Walter Brennan plays "Old Atrocity," and he brings a lot of comedy to this lively drama doing his signature old codger (never mind he was 41 at the time). Also fun, of course, is the MacArthur/Hecht screenplay, which actually manages to capture the outlaw feeling of Gold Rush days at the Golden Gate. Moody lighting and foggy sets help.
But I enjoyed "Barbara Coast" for something else entirely: the pairing of Edward G. Robinson and Joel McRea. Both are among the most attractive film actors of all time but for reasons as different as they are.
Short (5'5"), dark, raised in Bucharest and New York City, Edward G. (for Goldenberg) Robinson looks nothing like a matinée idol. Nevertheless, he didn't just star in films, he commanded the screen, even when his co-star was Bogart or Bette Davis, James Stewart or Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles or Barbara Stanwyck. He handled as wide a variety of roles as anyone, ever: He's famous for violent gangsters ("Little Caesar"), but he was every bit as good as a tragic lead ("Bullets for Ballots"); as film noir characters from villains ("Key Largo"), to dupes ("Scarlett Street"), to heroes ("Night has a Thousand Eyes"); in biography (Dr. Paul Ehrlich); in comedy ("Larceny, Inc."); and he was also a spectacular character actor ("Double Indemnity"). The list is almost endless-- except for musicals-- because his career spanned seven(!) decades.
I'll watch Robinson in anything.
Tall (6'3"), blond and blue-eyed, born in Southern California, Joel McRea is as gorgeous a man as ever faced a camerabut he had very little range. He could affect a few things-- steely determination, boyish charm, and thoughtful confusion were comfort zones-- but his face almost never changed except to smile a bit from time to time. Never mind; he was a precursor to very, very long list of pretty boys who became competent actors, from Valentino through Erroll Flynn and Steve McQueen to Brad Pitt.
I'll watch McRea in anything, too.
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