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Barbary Coast (1935)

Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She... See full summary »

Directors:

Howard Hawks, William Wyler (uncredited)

Writers:

Ben Hecht (screen play), Charles MacArthur (screen play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Miriam Hopkins ... Mary 'Swan' Rutledge
Edward G. Robinson ... Luis Chamalis
Joel McCrea ... Jim Carmichael
Walter Brennan ... Old Atrocity
Frank Craven ... Col. Marcus Aurelius Cobb
Brian Donlevy ... Knuckles Jacoby
Clyde Cook ... Oakie
Harry Carey ... Jed Slocum
Matt McHugh Matt McHugh ... Broncho
Donald Meek ... Sawbuck McTavish
Rollo Lloyd ... Wigham
J.M. Kerrigan ... Judge Harper
Roger Gray Roger Gray ... Sandy Ferguson
Edit

Storyline

Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She falls in love with miner Carmichael and takes his gold dust at the wheel. She goes after him, Louis goes after her with intent to harm Carmichael. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 December 1935 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Port of Wickedness See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$778,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There were constant struggles between Miriam Hopkins and Edward G. Robinson during the shooting of the movie. She constantly changed her lines and tried to upstage and unsettle Robinson's performance. After two weeks they had to shoot a scene where Robinson had to slap his co-star. He did just that, but put such force in it that she fell to the ground. After a pause the crew began to cheer, fed up as they were with Hopkins' antics. See more »

Quotes

Knuckles Jacoby: No Chinamen allowed in here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Gold

Out of California in 1849 came the cry that lured the adventurous from the four corners of the earth.

Over the Rockies in covered wagons they came, and around the Horn in square-rigged ships. See more »

Connections

Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Little Caesar on the Barbary Coast
18 September 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I love the story about Sam Goldwyn who said that he bought the rights to the title, Barbary Coast, and then said to the writers hired to write a story with that title.

They gave him a story that made a pretty good picture. Edward G. Robinson is at his snarling best as a nineteenth century version of Little Caesar on San Francisco's Barbary Coast during the gold rush days.

Basically Miriam Hopkins has come to San Francisco to marry a newly minted millionaire whom she barely knows, but finds he's dead and fortune gone on her arrival. Since there was no real love involved, she doesn't have a problem teaming up with the man who probably had her fiancé robbed and killed, that being Edward G. Robinson.

It's a pretty lawless place San Francisco. It's been newly acquired by the USA in the Mexican War and it being one of the great natural harbors of the world, a perfect arrival point for people traveling by sea to the gold fields. And such law that's operating is pretty much operating for the town bosses. There is a scene where after Brian Donlevy, who's Robinson's chief henchman, kills a man a trial is held right in Robinson's gambling palace. It's an impromptu affair with a crooked judge who naturally finds Donlevy not guilty.

It's no wonder that certain citizens form a vigilante committee to restore some kind of justice to San Francisco. All part of the colorful history of that place. And that part of the film is well done.

Where Barbary Coast fails is in the romance department. Miriam Hopkins though a woman of conscience has a practical side to her. The weakness of the film is in Joel McCrea's performance. He's a prospector who having made his fortune wants to return home. He has a chance encounter with Hopkins and she takes a shine to him and McCrea doesn't know she's Robinson's main squeeze.

Now I'm a big fan of Joel McCrea, the most virtuous of heroes Hollywood ever produced. But in this one, he's not really virtuous as much as he's an idiot. Let's just say that I cannot understand why Hopkins wants anything to do with him. A much stronger character might have believably taken her from Robinson, but not McCrea in this film.

Barbary Coast was responsible for the first real notices of two prominent character actors. Walter Brennan had been knocking around for years, but he received his first real attention as a player as waterfront character Old Atrocity. And with minimal dialog, Brian Donlevy made his first real impression on film audiences as Robinson's strong arm killer.

It's entertaining, but I'd mute the sound when Barbary Coast turns away from the action.


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