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Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 564 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 12 critic

A Louisiana con man enters his steamboat into a winner-take-all race with a rival while trying to find a witness to free his nephew, about to be hung for murder.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Doctor John Pearly
...
Fleety Belle
Irvin S. Cobb ...
Captain Eli
...
Sheriff Rufe Jeffers
John McGuire ...
Duke
Berton Churchill ...
New Moses
Francis Ford ...
Efe
Roger Imhof ...
Pappy
Raymond Hatton ...
Matt Abel
Hobart Bosworth ...
Chaplain
Stepin Fetchit ...
Jonah
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Storyline

Dr. John Pearly is an affable, turn-of-the-century con man who sells a patent medicine whose primary ingredient is whiskey. He resurrects a broken down steamboat with a makeshift crew and challenges the respectable but arrogant Captain Eli to a winner-take-all river race. Pearly hopes his nephew Duke will serve as pilot, but the young man stands accused of murdering a 'swamp rat' who threatened the honor of 'swamp girl' Fleety Belle. After Duke is arrested, Pearly tries to raise money for a lawyer by charging admission to a wax museum aboard his ship. Ultimately he gambles it all in the river race to Baton Rouge, where he hopes to find a witness whose testimony will free Duke. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Steamboat 'Round the Bend  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was released shortly after Will Rogers' death on 15 August 1935 from an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska. Originally, the ending of the film had him waving goodbye to the character played by Irvin S. Cobb, but the ending was changed to avoid the audience thinking he was saying goodbye to them, which may have caused them to leave the theater in tears. See more »

Quotes

New Moses: I swear henceforth that liquor will never touch these lips.
Efe: Me too!
See more »

Connections

Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! Susanna
(1848) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played on a steam organ by Stepin Fetchit
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Steamboats are a comin'.
18 January 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The actual last film that Will Rogers shot was this one, Steamboat Round The Bend. Doubting Thomas and In Old Kentucky which were released afterward were actually shot earlier. This is also the third and last film in which John Ford directed Will Rogers.

In this film Rogers is pure and simple a medicine show conman who has a floating museum on the Mississippi. That's just to lure the customers in, his money is made selling his particular brand of snake oil guaranteed to cure everything under the sun and where it doesn't shine.

Rogers has a nephew however whom he loves dearly and said nephew John McGuire loves a mountain girl Anne Shirley. In fact he killed a man who tried to take her away and there's only one witness, a crazy old revivalist Berton Churchill.

John Ford loved using Berton Churchill when he could and his most famous use of him was in Stagecoach as the banker Gatewood skipping town with the bank's assets. He's so different here decked out in a bedsheet with a long beard and calling himself 'the New Moses'. But this guy is the only one who can get McGuire off as he's the only witness to the homicide and the only one who can swear it was self defense. So Rogers is hunting up and down the river for him.

Which brings him into a steamboat race with a bunch of other captains and particularly a rival of Rogers, Irvin S. Cobb. Ford indulges in a little inside joke with Cobb who was a country humorist like Rogers himself. Will's steamboat is the Claremore Queen and Cobb has the Pride Of Paducah. Claremore, Oklahoma and Paducah, Kentucky were where both men hailed from respectively.

The Rogers films and also films like Young Mr. Lincoln are John Ford at his best. Early Americana was a period Ford loved and a lot of loving care went into Steamboat Round The Bend.

By the way that snake oil that Rogers peddles proves to have some real value after all. More I can't say.

Rogers is at his folksy best, but I did love Berton Churchill as the 'New Moses' who's also running his own con game. Steamboat Round The Bend is a wonderful introduction to Will Rogers. We've never seen his like again and who knows if we ever will.


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