Add Comment


All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Wow! Thanks. This stirred a lot of memories. All pleasant, I'll add. An innocent age on our part.A lot of this was before even we were born, but it is fun to recall the old movies we saw.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I can’t remember seeing this movie before last night when it happened to be on “Grit,” a local broadcast affiliate of CBS here in southwest Montana. If I saw it before, it must have been when I was a really young kid—and hardly capable of appreciating art of any kind.

    The action takes place mostly in what was once San Francisco’s red light district, and for the sake of simplicity, uses characterization to simplify portraying the rise of the SF vigilance committee (vigilantes) that helped curb criminal excesses in gold-rush San Fran in the 1850s.

    An adventurous, opportunistic American woman, played by Miriam Hopkins, lands in San Francisco, bent on making the most out of the situation at hand. She falls under the influence and power of a gambling-saloon-(and presumably brothel) magnate (Edward G. Robinson) who hires her as a crooked roulette wheel operator and (for the sake of prudish audiences) seems to hold her as captive in a platonic relationship.

    One night on a horseback ride in the rain, she meets a successful gold miner-poet who is on the point of returning to the east coast (Joel McCrea) with his pile, and he falls in love with her.

    Cognizant of her loyalty to the gambling magnate (who could symbolize the power and essence of an industrialist), she departs the gold miner after one night’s interaction—realizing that she’s more in love with him than the magnate.

    The magnate can’t figure out the sudden change in the woman, and she won’t divulge her recent interaction or the identity of the gold miner. Suspicious, the magnate finally realizes the woman has another interest when she meets the gold miner again at the saloon roulette wheel.

    He arrives in San Fran and is steered into the magnate’s gambling saloon where he again sees the woman at the roulette wheel. In order to engage her attention he doesn’t mind losing his gold to the house, as the woman is under surveillance of the magnate and his minions.

    He betrays his interest in the woman, and the magnate sees that the gold miner gets a Mickey Finn after losing his gold. He’s then dumped in an alley not far from the saloon.

    After recovering, the gold miner makes it back to the roulette table with a remnant of his gold, and this time the woman makes sure he wins all of his gold back and bankrupts the magnate. She’s then locked up in her room upstairs in the saloon, but a shadow appears in her room that turns out to be the gold miner’s and they make their escape together in a rowboat headed for a ship at anchor off shore.

    The magnate catches up with the pair in a faster boat, and the gold-miner is shot and wounded as their boat sinks. The pair are brought back in the magnate’s boat, but vigilantes are waiting and shoot and kill the magnate’s minion chief, apprehending the magnate.

    With her life and the gold miner’s life still in his hands, but realizing his life is now in the vigilantes’ hands, he tells the woman to run to her wounded lover. The woman runs back to the boat, and makes her way to the ship with her lover, and they leave together for the east coast as the magnate is led away presumably to be hung.

    The movie’s directing is excellent, but I come away thinking that Edward G. Robinson isn’t the best possible choice for the part of saloon magnate. I can see Clark Gable in the part of the saloon magnate as a more romantic figure than Robinson—although Robinson’s acting is flawless. It’s just that Gable would make the woman’s romantic choice more challenging—and credible.

    Robinson can play a detestable gangster credibly, but not one as capable of making a life-affirming, romantic gesture to close the movie as Gable.

    The movie was produced by order of Sam Goldwyn who may have had Ayn Rand working for MGM in wardrobe at the time the movie was filmed.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by 4 weeks ago
    Barbary Coast will be shown today (April 30) at 12 noon (MDT) on "Grit" (a CBS affiliate here in MT). That should be 2 PM EDT.

    Hope some people out there have a chance to view it and decide for themselves the degree to which it qualifies as "romantic art."
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  


  • Comment hidden. Undo