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Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  6 September 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 621 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.



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

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Complete credited cast:
Fleety Belle
Irvin S. Cobb ...
Captain Eli
Sheriff Rufe Jeffers
John McGuire ...
New Moses
Francis Ford ...
Roger Imhof ...
Raymond Hatton ...
Matt Abel
Hobart Bosworth ...
Stepin Fetchit ...


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Steamboat 'Round the Bend  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Both Frank Mayo and Jim Thorpe are in studio records/casting call lists as actors in this movie, but neither of them were seen. See more »


Sheriff Rufe Jeffers: [performing wedding ceremony in jail] Friends, we're gathered here in the eyes of God and one another for the purpose of joining together this here man and this here woman in holy matrimony. Can't nobody rightly say nothin' agin marriage, 'cause I reckon God intended everybody to live that-a-way. 'Cause every living human on this earth has got to find his mate sometime or other. And when God put Noah in the ark, he told him to take two of everything. 'Cause God knowed that was right, and I guess...
See more »


Referenced in Paper Moon (1973) See more »


Listen to the Mockingbird
(1855) (uncredited)
Written by Richard Milburn
Played on piano by Lois Verner at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

This River Runs Deeper Than You'd Expect
16 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's funny to think that when this film was made, it was about a time in the early 1890's, only 35 years earlier than it's production. Now we are looking back almost 75 years at the film itself. I expected a light wacky comedy, but there is definitely a well-rounded plot here revolving around murder in self-defense. Will Rogers gives a very skilled and sympathetic performance, but some of the more hilarious gags in this are gifts from the writers.

The sheriff/preacher's wedding speech goes right up there with Donald Sutherland's in "Little Murders" for sheer comic value.

A great throwaway gag involves the search for the New Moses, when they accidentally run into the New Elijah instead!

Steppin Fetchit, while no great symbol for African Americans, actually plays against his lazy type in this, and his hard work and quick thinking actually save the day on a couple occasions.

A great (and uncommon) saw-playing musical interlude!

To me, the only major weakness was Ms. Shirley as the ingenue. She was quite likable, but did not seem to have lived as hard as her character was supposed to have.

All told, a winner of a film for fans of the 1930's view of the 1890's.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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