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San Francisco Docks (1940)

Barmaid in seedy docks does better detective work than the police to get her beau off a murder accusation, helped by a good priest who proves to be a good fighter for the truth.


Arthur Lubin


Stanley Rubin (screenplay) (as Stanley Crea Rubin), Edmund L. Hartmann (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Burgess Meredith ... Johnny Barnes
Irene Hervey ... Kitty Tracy
Barry Fitzgerald ... Icky
Raymond Walburn ... Adm. Andy Tracy
Robert Armstrong ... Father Cameron
Esther Ralston ... Frances March
Edward Gargan ... Hank
Lewis Howard ... Warren Sanford
Edward Pawley ... Monte March
Don Zelaya ... Felipe
Colin Campbell Colin Campbell ... Dr. Conway
Glenn Strange ... Mike
William B. Davidson ... Dist. Atty. Craig
Joe Downing Joe Downing ... Cassidy


Longshoreman Johnny Barnes (Burgess Meredith) is in love with Kitty Tracy (Irene Hervey), barmaid at her father's waterfront saloon, and he beats up Cassidy (Joe Downing), a crooked politician who has been annoying her. Cassidy is murdered that night and Johnny is jailed for the crime. Kitty, her father Andy Tracy (Raymond Walburn), and waterfront-priest Father Cameron (Robert Armstrong believe Johnny is innocent but all evidence points to his guilt. Johnny's story that he was at pier seven watching a tugboat being repaired is discredited by the police, who prove that pier seven has long been closed, and no tugboat such as the one described by Johnny can be found. Following up a clue found by her father, Kitty finds the boat and uncovers the identity of the real murderer, Alcatraz escapee Monte March (Edward Pawley). Kitty and Father Cameron locate and confront him, but his loving wife Frances March (Esther Ralston) is ready to defend him. A terrific struggle between Kitty and Frances... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TROUBLE on the BARBARY COAST! (original poster) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

3 January 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Friscos hamnkvarter See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Final film of Esther Ralston. See more »


Burgess Meredith's character is described as being 5'10". Meredith was actually 5'5" and is clearly nowhere near his stated height, especially in group shots. See more »


[The Icky, a drunk, explains his resume]
The Icky: I was a spy once.
Hank: What was your mission?
The Icky: I don't know. It was so secret they didn't tell me.
See more »

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User Reviews

Hellcat Hervey
4 April 2014 | by malcolm-68See all my reviews

This is a zippy B which has a great deal going for it. Burgess Meredith is the nominal hero, but he spends time in jail and therefore off screen particularly in the last half hour, so its left up to others principally his feisty fiancé played by Irene Hervey to investigate the crime. The main merit of the film is that it allows some great character actors to shine. Top acting honours are probably shared between Raymond Walburn as the heroine's father, a garrulous old timer whose glory days are long behind him, but who has a penchant for telling tall stories and Robert Armstrong as a courageous two fisted priest. One highlight is the fight between the two beautiful hellcats Irene Hervey and Esther Ralston who don't battle by the Queensberry Rules. The atmosphere of the docks is well maintained complete with colourful waterfront characters. Arthur Lubin does his customary professional job in the director's chair. This is a good film for a wet afternoon... or for a dry one.

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