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Olivia de Havilland
Bat Morgan is nearly shanghaied on his way to the gold fields of California. Instead he kills Shanghai Duck and becomes a hero in San Francisco's Barbary Coast. He winds up the rich owner of a saloon and gambling hall and is nearly lynched for a murder he didn't commit. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
In 1854 San Francisco, rowdy sailor James Cagney (as Bat Morgan) is almost shanghaied to China. Rescued by affectionate tailor George E. Stone (as Solomon "Solly" Green), Mr. Cagney is inspired to open a successful saloon on the Barbary Coast. Frisco lives up to its reputation as "the wickedest city in the world," with gangster types like Ricardo Cortez (as Paul Morra) operating in vice. Cagney caters to a more "swell" crowd and becomes chummy with both underworld and high society types. The mixture initially makes money, but politics and murder threaten Cagney's newfound fortune...
Director Lloyd Bacon and the crew do a good job in capturing and contrasting the various character types, especially in the opera setting. At the story's center, Cagney in introduced as a ruffian who becomes a well-dressed dandy. Resembling a young Liberace, the star manages to look both dapper and uncomfortable, in a series of flashy suits and extra tall top hats. It works for Cagney's tailor-made character...
There is an interesting hint at a romantic interest between Cagney and Mr. Stone. Just when you think you're reading too much into it, Mr. Bacon or one of the actors leads you astray. The two are very "hands on" throughout, even when Stone is ironing pants. Their last scene together has Cagney giving attractive newspaperwoman Margaret Lindsay (as Jean Barrat) a knowing look as he gives Stone an extra, more personal squeeze. In this scene, it seems like the baton is being passed to Ms. Lindsay. Apart from the subtleties and double takes, "Frisco kid" is ordinary but satisfying.
****** Frisco Kid (11/30/35) Lloyd Bacon ~ James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, George E. Stone, Ricardo Cortez
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