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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining Barbary coast musical drama and mystery, starring Suzanna Foster and Turhan Bey

9/10
Author: weezeralfalfa from United States
24 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

San Francisco's Barbary coast has been the screen script location of numerous films, esp. in the '30s and '40s. The basic story of this film had been and would be done quite few times. But wait! That's no reason to skip this film. Of the several such films I've seen, I rate this as among the most entertaining. That includes the Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jeanette MacDonald-starring "San Francisco", of nearly decade before. The very talented young songstress, Suzanna Foster, in her penultimate Hollywood film, takes on the basic role of Jeanette, her idol as a girl, as a classy high brow singer, newly arrived from Yankee land. She's looking for a singing job in S.F., hopefully not in the worst honky-tonks. Seems her mother died recently, so she's looking for her much older brother, who moved to S.F. years ago, and hasn't been heard from in some years. Exotic-looking Turhan Bey, as Dude Forante, takes the place of Gable, as the charismatic owner of a popular saloon where Suzanna(Sally) ends up looking for a job. Handsome Alan Curtis, as Rio, more or less fills the role of Spencer Tracy, as Dude's combo nemesis and alter-ego. He runs a so-called mission, near Dude's saloon, which is mostly a front for a gang of extortionists and thieves.

When Dude refuses to pay his protection dues or he is otherwise angry at him, Rio sends his goons to infiltrate Dude's saloon and engineer a brawl. We have two such massive brawls, one shortly before the final scene. Clearly, Rio doesn't like Dude's developing subtle romantic overtures to Suzanna. Besides starting brawls in Dude's place, and trying to woo Suzanna into frequenting the mission, Rio tries to frame Dude as being behind the rumored murder of Suzanna's brother, whose whereabouts have been a mystery. This line of drama began with the trial engagement ring Dude gave Suzanna, which she later discovers is engraved with her brother's name. . Rio arm twists Doc into admitting that he dealt with her brother's body after he was murdered. Suzanna gets ready to leave for Boston, but her roommate: 'Mickey Finn'(Collete Lyons), Dude's brassy leading chorus girl, convinces her that Dude is probably innocent, hence Suzanna accepts a romantic buggy ride with Dude to his ranch, where they talk. Later, Rio says he bought a ticket for Suzanna back to Boston, as Dude is no good for her. Suzanna is still undecided.

In the next scene, Mickey Finn is leading the chorus in a number, when Suzanna appears, having been at the mission. She bursts into a love song, drowning out the chorus. At first, directed to the general audience, it eventually clearly is directed at Dude. At it's conclusion, Dude takes her hand, and leads her outside. Rio hears about this scene from his spy, and is furious. He prepares for an all out assault on Dude's place, and a personal confrontation with Dude. I'm going to stop here, as I don't want to spoil the precipitous dramatic ending. Perhaps you have already guessed part of it. Pay very close attention to the last line in the film! Is this plausible? Should it have ended differently? I think so.

Collete Lyons, who played the sassy Mickey Finn lead songstress, before Suzanna showed up, was in quite a few Broadway, as well as Hollywood productions, especially musicals. She was still good looking at 37, compared to Suzanna'e mere 21 years.She leads in the first chorus song. Suzanna's first song is in line with the typical saloon productions: "I'm a Good Little Bad Little Lady". Not too bad. Later, around Christmas, while at the mission, Suzanna begins singing "Silent Night", precipitating some of the men to chime in with further carols. But, the show stopper song Suzanna sings twice, once as a practice run and again in her extemporaneous love song to Dude and his patrons. It's titled "Beloved", and her second rendition is simply mesmerizing! : not just her singing, but also her acting and very fancy outfit. It sounds to me like a Cole Porter-type song(when he's not being naughty). But, he isn't the composer.

Turhan Bey was a popular exotic-looking and sounding leading man or character actor during the war years, often paired with Maria Montez in a series of sand and sandals escapist films. Although not a singer or dancer, he was previously paired with Suzanna in "Bowery to Broadway" Part Turkish and part Jewish, he left his native Austria when the Nazis took over. As you found in this film, he was noted for his suave demeanor and excellent speaking, perhaps an inheritance from his diplomat father.

Alan Curtis, who played Rio, was a former model, and became a minor leading man. He was quite handsome and personable....Charismatic rotund character actor and cowboy sidekick, Andy Devine, makes a welcomed addition, as Dude's hawker, bouncer and sometimes confident. In the film, Mickey Finn keeps pestering him for a wedding ring, not being classy enough for Dude.

Thanks to the interest of Suzanna's surviving son, you can now view this film on You Tube. It's not in the best of shape, with rather frequent skips, or is it abrupt editing? But, it's good enough for me.

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Spirited Barbary Coast Antics with Cowboy Flair

7/10
Author: museumofdave from Paradise, California
11 September 2016

Turhan Bey as "Dude"? Is this the same Turhan Bey that enriched all those exotic Technicolor adventures opposite Sabu and Maria Montez, the handsome Hungarian usually cast as Arabian? Indeed it's the same magnetic actor playing a peace-loving tavern owner who wants to bring harmony to the booze halls of the Barbary Coast, much to the annoyance of shifty Alan Curtis, who runs what is ostensibly a "mission" just down the street, a place rife with miscreants and ne'er-do-wells. Toss into the mix fresh-faced virginal vocalist Susanna Foster, fresh from the East and searching for her long-lost brother, and conflicts build, bolstered by roistering, ebullient turns by such Universal stalwarts as blustery Andy Devine and crafty Samuel S. Hinds.

Toss into the mix two extended bar-room brawls, plenty of unexpected sentiment and some classy singing, and what results is a Western in the spirits of Destry Rides Again--not quite in the same class, but nevertheless more entertaining than one might except and needing a really good DVD transfer. Go Turhan!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What a boring pile of crap

1/10
Author: Alex da Silva from United Kingdom
29 October 2016

Susanna Foster (Sally) turns up in Frisco and gets a job as a singer at a club owned by Turhan Bey (Dude). Alan Curtis (Rio) is the local gangster boss who clashes with Bey. We also get police captain Thomas Gomez (Dan) prowling around looking to bust some butts. The story concerns Foster trying to trace her brother.

My goodness me, how boring was that! After 45 minutes, there still isn't any story developing. I even fell asleep for a quarter of an hour during the second half and woke to Foster singing "Come all ye faithful" before the film continued in an extremely tedious fashion until its climax. The singing is the only ray of hope in this film and only when showgirl Collette Lyons (Mickey) is performing.

Before watching this film, I was watching an old repeat of a session of the European Parliament on the TV. That's why I put this film on – I needed entertaining. Well, give me the European Parliament. Way more interesting.

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