Barbary Coast (1935)

90 mins | Drama | 27 September 1935

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HISTORY

According to pre-production news items, this film was to have begun production in the Spring or Summer of 1934, starring Gary Cooper and Gloria Swanson, under William Wellman 's direction. In May 1934, it was announced that the picture was to star Cooper and Anna Sten, but, a Jan 1935 news item in DV noted that producer Samuel Goldwyn had decided to shelve the picture because he thought it could not pass censors. Because Cooper had, by 1935, completed a one picture deal with Goldwyn and returned to his home studio, Paramount, he had to be replaced in the lead, and Goldwyn no longer wanted Sten for the female lead, new leads were needed. Miriam Hopkins was signed for the role of "Mary Rutledge" in Jan 1935. Some modern sources state that William Wyler was actually the film's first director and that filming began in mid-1934 with Cooper and Sten; however, contemporary information makes no mention of Wyler, who was working at Universal at the time, and news items refute the implication that filming actually took place in 1934 under any director. Wyler's first work for Goldwyn was the 1936 release These Three (see below). Other contemporary news items noted that Goldwyn had signed actor Paul Kelly for a role in the picture when Cooper and Sten were cast as the leads, and that writers Dwight Taylor and Courtenay Terrett were hired to write the script at various times in mid-1934. Kelly was not in the film; it is possible that he was to have played the role of Louis Chamalis which was taken over by Edward G. Robinson. ... More Less

According to pre-production news items, this film was to have begun production in the Spring or Summer of 1934, starring Gary Cooper and Gloria Swanson, under William Wellman 's direction. In May 1934, it was announced that the picture was to star Cooper and Anna Sten, but, a Jan 1935 news item in DV noted that producer Samuel Goldwyn had decided to shelve the picture because he thought it could not pass censors. Because Cooper had, by 1935, completed a one picture deal with Goldwyn and returned to his home studio, Paramount, he had to be replaced in the lead, and Goldwyn no longer wanted Sten for the female lead, new leads were needed. Miriam Hopkins was signed for the role of "Mary Rutledge" in Jan 1935. Some modern sources state that William Wyler was actually the film's first director and that filming began in mid-1934 with Cooper and Sten; however, contemporary information makes no mention of Wyler, who was working at Universal at the time, and news items refute the implication that filming actually took place in 1934 under any director. Wyler's first work for Goldwyn was the 1936 release These Three (see below). Other contemporary news items noted that Goldwyn had signed actor Paul Kelly for a role in the picture when Cooper and Sten were cast as the leads, and that writers Dwight Taylor and Courtenay Terrett were hired to write the script at various times in mid-1934. Kelly was not in the film; it is possible that he was to have played the role of Louis Chamalis which was taken over by Edward G. Robinson. Neither Taylor not Terrett were mentioned in contemporary sources after 1934 and the extent of their contributions to the final screenplay has not been determined.
       A DV news item on 20 Mar 1935 noted that screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur decided to do this film for Goldwyn because the pictures they had produced for Paramount had failed at the box office. This was the first of four films which Hopkins made for Goldwyn, all of which co-starred Joel McCrea. It was also the first film that Howard Hawks directed for Goldwyn. According to modern sources, this was David Niven's first American film, however, he appeared in the Paramount film Without Regret (see below), released prior to Barbary Coast , on 23 Aug 1935. Production on Without Regret began on 18 Jun 1935, one day after production began on Barbary Coast . It is possible that Niven's role in Barbary Coast was completed before his role in Without Regret . This also marked Walter Brennan's first appearance in a Goldwyn film. Modern sources include the following additional cast members: Wong Chung ( Ah Wing ), Russ Powell ( Sheriff ), Fredrik Vogeding ( Ship's Captain ), Dave Wengren, Clarence Wertz, Harry Semels, Theodore Lorch, George Magrill, Jack Pennick, Nina Campana, Constantine Romanoff, George Lloyd, Jimmie Dime, Leo Willis, John Ince, Frank Rice, Patricia Farley, Hank Mann, Blackie Whiteford, Edward Gargan, Monte Montague, Harry Holman, Ethel Wales, Kit Guard, Heinie Conklin, Tom London, and Jim Thorpe. According to modern sources, the film was re-issued in 1960 under the title Port of Wickedness . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Jan 35
p. 1.
Daily Variety
20 Mar 35
p. 8.
Daily Variety
17 Jun 35
p. 8.
Daily Variety
20 Sep 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
24 Sep 35
p. 12.
HF
28 Apr 34
p. 8.
HF
19 May 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 34
p. 7..
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
21 Sep 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Oct 35
p. 38.
New York Times
14 Oct 35
p. 21.
Variety
16 Oct 35
p. 22.
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 September 1935
Production Date:
17 June--2 August 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Goldwyn
Copyright Date:
15 October 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5856
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1416
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Beautiful Mary Rutledge arrives in San Francisco in the 1850's to marry Dan Morgan, only to discover that Morgan has died mysteriously after loosing his fortune to Louis Chamalis, a powerful saloon owner. Mary goes to work for Chamalis as a roulette operator and although he is in love with "Swan," as she is now known, she does not return his affection. She feels emotionally dead until one afternoon when, caught in a rainstorm while riding, she meets and falls in love with Jim Carmichael, an erudite Easterner who has come West to earn his fortune. Thinking that she will never see Jim again, Mary pretends to be a lady. A short time later, when Jim wanders into the Bella Donna saloon and sees her, he gambles away all of his money at her wheel. Later, Chamalis hires Jim, ignorant of the love between him and Mary. Chamalis' power in San Francisco is by now eroding under the pressure of the vigilantes who know that he and his henchman, Knuckles Jacoby, have murdered two Scottish miners as well as Colonel Marcus Aurelius Cobb, a crusading newspaperman who had befriended Mary. Knuckles is hanged by the vigilantes. Meanwhile, Mary lets Jim win back his money and urges him to leave. Admitting their love for each other, they set out in a rowboat in the fog to reach a boat bound for the East. When Jim is shot by one of Chamalis' men, Mary promises to love Chamalis in the same way that she loves Jim if he will only let Jim go. Chamalis agrees, but knowing that he is finished, he faces the ... +


Beautiful Mary Rutledge arrives in San Francisco in the 1850's to marry Dan Morgan, only to discover that Morgan has died mysteriously after loosing his fortune to Louis Chamalis, a powerful saloon owner. Mary goes to work for Chamalis as a roulette operator and although he is in love with "Swan," as she is now known, she does not return his affection. She feels emotionally dead until one afternoon when, caught in a rainstorm while riding, she meets and falls in love with Jim Carmichael, an erudite Easterner who has come West to earn his fortune. Thinking that she will never see Jim again, Mary pretends to be a lady. A short time later, when Jim wanders into the Bella Donna saloon and sees her, he gambles away all of his money at her wheel. Later, Chamalis hires Jim, ignorant of the love between him and Mary. Chamalis' power in San Francisco is by now eroding under the pressure of the vigilantes who know that he and his henchman, Knuckles Jacoby, have murdered two Scottish miners as well as Colonel Marcus Aurelius Cobb, a crusading newspaperman who had befriended Mary. Knuckles is hanged by the vigilantes. Meanwhile, Mary lets Jim win back his money and urges him to leave. Admitting their love for each other, they set out in a rowboat in the fog to reach a boat bound for the East. When Jim is shot by one of Chamalis' men, Mary promises to love Chamalis in the same way that she loves Jim if he will only let Jim go. Chamalis agrees, but knowing that he is finished, he faces the vigilantes alone, letting Jim and Mary go off together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.