"Mother Bright's" place on the lawless, waterfront district of the 'Barbary Coast' in San Francisco is the toughest of all saloons that can be found, and that is where "Turk", a stoker on a...
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"Mother Bright's" place on the lawless, waterfront district of the 'Barbary Coast' in San Francisco is the toughest of all saloons that can be found, and that is where "Turk", a stoker on a freighter named "The Coyote", and his shipmates can be found when in port. They are there when Como Murphy, fleeing the law for a killing he did not commit, bursts in seeking a hiding place. Mother Bright directs him upstairs to a door that leads to another building, but Murphy opens the wrong door and finds himself in the room of "Toy," one of the many girls employed by Mother Bright in the event any of the sailors desires to purchase anything other than whiskey. "Toy" takes pity on Murphy and hides him when the police knock on her door. She and Murphy then talk the night away and are very much in love when the dawn breaks. "Turk" is also much smitten with "Toy" but the feeling isn't mutual. "Turk" gets Murphy a stoker's position on "The Coyote" and the two soon become close friends, and tell each...Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Barbary Coast!!!! Stamping ground of the devil. A broiling, brawling setting for a love so tender it might have happened in Seventh Heaven. (Print Ad-Woodville Republican, ((Woodville, Miss.)) 11 August 1934) See more »
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Toy's feather boa when she dresses to go out after bringing food to her apartment for Como. See more »
"Wharf Angel" is a movie about Stokers, seamen who stoke the boilers on ships and the brutish lives the live. In between voyages they hang around in dive bars and drink too much, carouse, fight and often pass out on the floor. This one is called "Mother Bright's", on the Barbary Coast near San Francisco. When in port, "Turk" (Victor McLaglen) holds court and is also the star of the picture. One night Como (Preston Foster), on the run from the police, ducks in and finds a hiding place in a room upstairs; the tenant is Toy (Dorothy Dell), a prostitute with the proverbial heart of gold. Almost simultaneously, Como and Turk fall in love with her, and therein hangs the tale.
Too bad the tale is not as interesting as the players or the sets. The film is held together by the force of the actors, especially Dorothy Dell, who gives a superlative performance. It is all the more remarkable when you consider she was only 19 at the time. McLaglen is his usual overpowering self and Foster, minus trademark mustache, looks almost boyish. The director is set designer William Cameron Menzies, who doesn't have much of a chance due to the tepid story, but creates an atmospheric dive setting for the cast that is very realistic - it looks and feels extremely authentic. That said, there's not much else to recommend this picture. It's been done before and since, and better.
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