Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

80 or 90 mins | Comedy-drama | 6 September 1935

Director:

John Ford

Producer:

Sol M. Wurtzel

Cinematographer:

George Schneiderman

Production Designers:

William Darling, Albert Hogsett

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

This film was released after the death of Will Rogers on 15 Aug 1935 in an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, in a plane piloted by his friend and noted aviator, Wiley Post, who also died in the accident. According to news items, Rogers had signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox to make ten films the day before the trip. In 1933-34 and 1934-35, Rogers was the number one money-making star, according to a MPH poll of independent exhibitors and news items. During the funeral services for Rogers, over 12,000 motion picture screens were darkened for two minutes and production ceased in Hollywood, according to MPH . Although this was the last film Rogers made, it was released before In Old Kentucky , as Twentieth Century-Fox deemed this film to be the stronger, according to modern sources. Modern sources also state that the studio changed the final scene after Rogers died. Originally, sources state, the film ended with Rogers waving farewell to the character played by Irvin S. Cobb, but although Cobb urged the studio to retain the shot, the studio felt that audiences would interpret the scene as Rogers waving goodbye to the world, so they took it out to avoid sending the audience away in tears.
       The novel was originally published in serial form in Pictorial Review , Sep 1933-Feb 1934. The working title of the film was Steamboat Bill . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, author Ben Lucian Burman complained that he was not treated fairly by the company in testimony ... More Less

This film was released after the death of Will Rogers on 15 Aug 1935 in an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, in a plane piloted by his friend and noted aviator, Wiley Post, who also died in the accident. According to news items, Rogers had signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox to make ten films the day before the trip. In 1933-34 and 1934-35, Rogers was the number one money-making star, according to a MPH poll of independent exhibitors and news items. During the funeral services for Rogers, over 12,000 motion picture screens were darkened for two minutes and production ceased in Hollywood, according to MPH . Although this was the last film Rogers made, it was released before In Old Kentucky , as Twentieth Century-Fox deemed this film to be the stronger, according to modern sources. Modern sources also state that the studio changed the final scene after Rogers died. Originally, sources state, the film ended with Rogers waving farewell to the character played by Irvin S. Cobb, but although Cobb urged the studio to retain the shot, the studio felt that audiences would interpret the scene as Rogers waving goodbye to the world, so they took it out to avoid sending the audience away in tears.
       The novel was originally published in serial form in Pictorial Review , Sep 1933-Feb 1934. The working title of the film was Steamboat Bill . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, author Ben Lucian Burman complained that he was not treated fairly by the company in testimony at a hearing in Apr 1936 of the Sirovich Committee in Congress. The legal records also reveal that Charles Middleton originally was cast in the role which Roger Imhof played, and that four steamboats were rented from a company in San Francisco and used in filming on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers between Sacramento and Stockton, CA. HR news items state that some scenes were shot in Sacramento. According to a HR news item, on 30 Sep 1935, studio head Darryl Zanuck sent a complete script of this film to Boris Shumatzky, the head of the Soviet film trust, at the request of Shumatzky, who wanted to introduce American methods into the Russian film industry. According to modern sources, the name of the steamboat was changed to "Claremont Queen" in the film in honor of Rogers' hometown of Claremont, OK. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Aug 1935.
---
Daily Variety
22 Jul 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Jul 35
p. 6.
Film Daily
17 Aug 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 35
pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 35
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
23 Jul 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Aug 35
, 12999
Motion Picture Herald
24 Aug 35
p. 45.
MPSI
Jun 35
p. 15.
New York Times
20 Sep 35
p. 17.
Variety
25 Sep 35
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Hair
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr clerk
Props
Set lighting foreman
Asst to set lighting foreman
Loc mgr
Still photog
Bus mgr
Asst to bus mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Steamboat 'Round the Bend by Ben Lucien Burman (New York, 1933).
SONGS
"Steamboat Round the Bend," music by Oscar Levant, lyrics by Sidney Clare
"Eagle Builds His Nest So High," traditional
"Home Sweet Home," words by John Howard Payne, music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop
+
SONGS
"Steamboat Round the Bend," music by Oscar Levant, lyrics by Sidney Clare
"Eagle Builds His Nest So High," traditional
"Home Sweet Home," words by John Howard Payne, music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop
"I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land," words and music by Daniel Decatur Emmett.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Steamboat Bill
Release Date:
6 September 1935
Production Date:
mid May--21 June 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
6 September 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5971
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 90
Length(in feet):
7,350
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1058
SYNOPSIS

In the early 1890's, on a Mississippi River steamboat, an orator calling himself the "New Moses" preaches against the evils of "demon rum." Shortly thereafter, Dr. John Pearly hawks concoctions he calls "Pocahontas Remedies," which seem to have a high alcoholic content. After Doc buys the steamboat Claremore Queen with the money he has made selling the "remedies," steamboat Captain Eli of the Pride of Paducah wagers his boat against Doc's in the upcoming race to Baton Rouge. Doc is a bit chagrined to find his boat in a delapidated state, but he makes Efe, an alcoholic who owes him for a number of bottles, his engineer and first mate and puts him to work. Doc plans on having his nephew Duke, the pilot of the Memphis Belle , run his boat, but Duke arrives with a "swamp gal" named Fleety Belle, with whom he is in love, and confesses that he killed a man who attacked her. When Doc learns that the New Moses was a witness, he convinces Duke to give himself up to the sheriff, because Duke struck the death blow when the man came at him with a knife. Doc promises to take care of Fleety Belle. After he calls her "swamp trash," she tries to stab him, and Doc gains admiration of her spunk. When her father, fiancé and brother try to take her off the boat, Doc tells them that she and Duke are married and then chases them off with a kitchen knife. Doc then gives the grateful Fleety Belle an outfit that belonged ... +


In the early 1890's, on a Mississippi River steamboat, an orator calling himself the "New Moses" preaches against the evils of "demon rum." Shortly thereafter, Dr. John Pearly hawks concoctions he calls "Pocahontas Remedies," which seem to have a high alcoholic content. After Doc buys the steamboat Claremore Queen with the money he has made selling the "remedies," steamboat Captain Eli of the Pride of Paducah wagers his boat against Doc's in the upcoming race to Baton Rouge. Doc is a bit chagrined to find his boat in a delapidated state, but he makes Efe, an alcoholic who owes him for a number of bottles, his engineer and first mate and puts him to work. Doc plans on having his nephew Duke, the pilot of the Memphis Belle , run his boat, but Duke arrives with a "swamp gal" named Fleety Belle, with whom he is in love, and confesses that he killed a man who attacked her. When Doc learns that the New Moses was a witness, he convinces Duke to give himself up to the sheriff, because Duke struck the death blow when the man came at him with a knife. Doc promises to take care of Fleety Belle. After he calls her "swamp trash," she tries to stab him, and Doc gains admiration of her spunk. When her father, fiancé and brother try to take her off the boat, Doc tells them that she and Duke are married and then chases them off with a kitchen knife. Doc then gives the grateful Fleety Belle an outfit that belonged to his deceased sister, Duke's mother, to wear to court instead of the tablecloth she wears. The judge rules against Duke, however, and Doc sends to Baton Rouge for a good lawyer for Duke's appeal. When the sheriff shows Doc an abandoned wax museum, Doc gets an idea to put the museum on his steamboat and put on a traveling show to raise the five hundred dollars for the lawyer. Although he raises the money, the court turns down Duke's appeal, and when the sheriff is about to take him to Baton Rouge, where he is to be hung, Fleety Belle grabs the sheriff's rifle and Doc grabs the sheriff, urging Duke to run. Duke, however, remains rather than get them into trouble. Doc vows to find the New Moses, but he has no luck, and with only two days before the hanging is to occur, he decides to go to Baton Rouge and speak with the governor, with whom he fought at Shiloh during the Civil War. On the way there, they are stopped at the beginning of the steamboat race to Baton Rouge. Challenged again by Captain Eli, Doc enters the race, and when they see the New Moses preaching by the shore, Doc lassoes him and pulls him into the boat, where Doc convinces him to testify on Duke's behalf. The New Moses helps with busting up the deck and lifeboat for firewood, and during the evening, Doc throws a lasso to hook unto Captain Eli's boat to pull them until morning. The next day, after Eli orders the rope chopped off, the Claremore Queen runs out of wood, so Doc suggests that they burn the wax figures from the museum. Despite this, Eli's boat still leads, until the New Moses sees Efe take a swig of the Pocahontas Remedy and, deeming it "demon rum," throws it into the furnace. The resulting explosion leads Doc and the others to toss in the remaining one hundred jugs, except for one which Efe hides, and the Claremore Queen pulls ahead of the Pride of Paducah and wins. With the New Moses in tow, Doc convinces the governor to stop the hanging, and soon Duke and Fleety Belle pilot the Pride of Paducah together. +

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

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