Klondike Annie (1936)

78 or 80 mins | Comedy-drama | 21 February 1936

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Producer:

William LeBaron

Cinematographer:

George Clemens

Editor:

Stuart Heisler

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Bernard Herzbrun

Production Company:

Paramount Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening credits of the film read, "From a play by Mae West, a story by Marion Morgan and George B. Dowell and material suggested by Frank Mitchell Dazey." According to SAB, Mae West's unpublished and unproduced play was called Frisco Kate . SAB also indicates that Morgan and Dowell's unpublished story was called "Hallelujah, I'm a Saint," and Dazey's suggested material was actually an unpublished story called "Lulu Was a Lady." Pre-release scripts at the AMPAS Library are titled The Frisco Doll and Klondike Lou . The original story in the script files is titled "Hallelujah! I'm a Saint! or How About It, Brother?" According to a Jan 1936 news item in HR , Paramount was considering dropping Mae West as a contract star because of the "production turmoil entailed in working with the temperamental star" and the high cost of their production. The article notes that the approximate cost of Klondike Annie was $1,000,000, $200,000 of which went to West for her performance and writing. Paramount threatened to halt filming of Klondike Annie and sue West for the cost of production; however, by late Jan 1936, West and Paramount came to an agreement, the production continued, and her contract was renewed for another feature. A Sep 1935 news item in HR indicates that cameramen Victor Milner and Ted Tetzlaff were slated to work on the film, but were replaced by George Clemens when Mae West insisted on a new cameraman. DV news items noted that assistant director James Dugan also left the production due to "difficulties" with West, ... More Less

The opening credits of the film read, "From a play by Mae West, a story by Marion Morgan and George B. Dowell and material suggested by Frank Mitchell Dazey." According to SAB, Mae West's unpublished and unproduced play was called Frisco Kate . SAB also indicates that Morgan and Dowell's unpublished story was called "Hallelujah, I'm a Saint," and Dazey's suggested material was actually an unpublished story called "Lulu Was a Lady." Pre-release scripts at the AMPAS Library are titled The Frisco Doll and Klondike Lou . The original story in the script files is titled "Hallelujah! I'm a Saint! or How About It, Brother?" According to a Jan 1936 news item in HR , Paramount was considering dropping Mae West as a contract star because of the "production turmoil entailed in working with the temperamental star" and the high cost of their production. The article notes that the approximate cost of Klondike Annie was $1,000,000, $200,000 of which went to West for her performance and writing. Paramount threatened to halt filming of Klondike Annie and sue West for the cost of production; however, by late Jan 1936, West and Paramount came to an agreement, the production continued, and her contract was renewed for another feature. A Sep 1935 news item in HR indicates that cameramen Victor Milner and Ted Tetzlaff were slated to work on the film, but were replaced by George Clemens when Mae West insisted on a new cameraman. DV news items noted that assistant director James Dugan also left the production due to "difficulties" with West, and was replaced by David MacDonald. According to NYT , Dugan directed the poker scenes.
       The MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveal that Will H. Hays, president of the MPPDA, was adamant that the character of Annie never appear as an actual "religious worker," or that the film make any actual religious references. In 1935, the first script, Klondike Lou , was rejected for this reason. A Sep 1935 letter from the Hays Office regarding the second submitted script noted that Annie's clothing "ought not to have about it any definite suggestion of her religious work." In addition, the lines, "There are souls to be saved everywhere," and "We have a mission at Nome," were recommended to be changed to "There are souls to be rescued" and "We have a settlement at Nome." Hays's concern over the possible religious content of the film continued into Feb 1936, when he stated in an interoffice letter to Joseph I. Breen, director of the PCA, "My worst worry is not the alleged salaciousness, but is in the producer's failure to avoid the impression that it is a mission house picture and that "The Doll" was masquerading as a missionary. The effort to avoid this is to me unconvincing." Nonetheless, with alterations the film was approved and released.
       Local censors almost unanimously deleted the scene in which Chan Lo is stabbed by Doll, in addition to the scenes in which Ah Toy is tortured, and various scenes of intimacy between Doll and her lovers were also deleted. The Hays Office came under fire from various organizations for approving the release of Klondike Annie , and newspapers owned by Paul Block and William Randolph Hearst launched a vigorous campaign against the promotion of the film. In a May 1936 letter to Paramount from the president of the San Francisco Motion Picture Council, the president condemned the film because "it presents its heroine as a mistress to an Oriental, then as a murderess, then as a cheap imitator of a missionary--jazzing religion--[it] is not in harmony with other education forces of our social set-up. And these elements are particularly objectionable when they are interspersed with smutty wise-cracks." The Atlanta Better Films Committee also condemned the film because of its topic. The Paul Block newspapers published an editorial that suggested that the Hays Office would "serve the American public as well as the whole film industry to better purpose if they were to outlaw indecent and immoral pictures such as the film Klondike Annie . Here is a picture which lauds disreputable living and glorifies vice. Censors may cut out a few of the worst scenes in some states. But they cannot clean it up, for the whole story is on the lowest possible level. It is humiliating that a film of this kind can be presented to the public in the guise of entertainment." Hearst's papers banned all advertisements for Klondike Annie ; however, Paramount managed to get around this by placing the following advertisement in the trade papers: "Important feature. For information call VA-2041." The National Legion of Decency published a proclamation against the film in several publications. An article in the Herald claimed the film was "an affront to the decency of the public." According to contemporary articles, the National Police Gazette filed a libel suit against Paramount for using a facsimile of the magazine in the film during a scene in "a bawdy house." The film was banned in Australia. Despite the negative press, MPH reported that Klondike Annie grossed "$2500 to $8500 over average per box office."
       According to the pressbook, some Chinese musicians from Los Angeles appear in the film. Malamutes appearing in the film were owned by Carl Stecker. Although FD credits Sam Coslow with music and lyrics, his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. NYT reports that Victor McLaglen earned $87,500 for this film. Modern sources add Philo McCullough to the cast. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Nov 35
p. 1.
Daily Variety
15 Nov 35
p. 1.
Film Daily
26 Oct 35
p. 7.
Film Daily
10 Feb 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Feb 36
pp. 9-12.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 36
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
28 Dec 35
p. 49.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Feb 36
p. 44.
Motion Picture Herald
7 Mar 1936.
---
New York Times
12 Mar 36
p. 18.
Variety
26 Feb 1936.
---
Variety
4 Mar 1936.
---
Variety
18 Mar 36
p. 17.
Variety
27 Oct 1937.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Lucille Webster Gleason
Otto Heimel
Edward Brady
Frank C. Baker
"Dink" Templeton
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Scr and dial
Material suggested by
Contr to spec seq
Contr to spec seq
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
SOURCES
SONGS
"Occidental Woman" and "Cheer Up, Little Sister," music and lyrics by Gene Austin
"Mr. Deep Blue Sea" and "Little Bar Butterfly," music and lyrics by Gene Austin and Jimmie Johnson
"Auld Lang Syne," words by Robert Burns, music Scottish traditional
+
SONGS
"Occidental Woman" and "Cheer Up, Little Sister," music and lyrics by Gene Austin
"Mr. Deep Blue Sea" and "Little Bar Butterfly," music and lyrics by Gene Austin and Jimmie Johnson
"Auld Lang Syne," words by Robert Burns, music Scottish traditional
"A Hot Time in the Old Town," words by Joe Hayden, music by Theodore M. Metz
and other songs.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Frisco Doll
Klondike Lou
Release Date:
21 February 1936
Production Date:
began 25 September 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 February 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6201
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78 or 80
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1857
SYNOPSIS

In San Francisco's Chinatown of the 1890s, Rose Carleton, the "Frisco Doll," is Chan Lo's kept woman at his extravagant gambling house, where she is also a singer. When Chan Lo intercepts a note to Doll being carried by her faithful servant, Ah Toy, he tortures Ah Toy to determine the note's origins. Doll meets her friend Vance Palmer in the gambling house and he informs her that he has secretly arranged passage for her on a ship to Nome, Alaska, where Doll hopes to take advantage of the gold strike. Vance gives Doll a farewell kiss, which inspires the jealous Chan Lo to threaten Doll. Late that night, Doll is forced to kill Chan Lo in self-defense, and she and a young servant, Fah Wong, board the ship Java Maid . The Java Maid 's captain, Bull Brackett, falls in love with Doll, and gives her his cabin. Bull agrees to drop Fah Wong off in Seattle, although it is out of his way, and there he learns that Doll is wanted for the murder of Chan Lo, however, he loves Doll in spite of her reputation. Settlement worker Sister Annie Alden boards the boat in Seattle, and although she is dismayed by Doll's loose morals, when Annie falls ill, Doll nurses her and is impressed by Annie's sincerely charitable nature. Annie dies just as Inspector Jack Forrest boards the boat off the coast of Alaska, intending to arrest Doll, so she impersonates Annie, and she and Bull convince Jack that the deceased Annie is actually Doll. Still impersonating Annie in Alaska, Doll revives membership in the settlement workers' Alaskan Settlement House ... +


In San Francisco's Chinatown of the 1890s, Rose Carleton, the "Frisco Doll," is Chan Lo's kept woman at his extravagant gambling house, where she is also a singer. When Chan Lo intercepts a note to Doll being carried by her faithful servant, Ah Toy, he tortures Ah Toy to determine the note's origins. Doll meets her friend Vance Palmer in the gambling house and he informs her that he has secretly arranged passage for her on a ship to Nome, Alaska, where Doll hopes to take advantage of the gold strike. Vance gives Doll a farewell kiss, which inspires the jealous Chan Lo to threaten Doll. Late that night, Doll is forced to kill Chan Lo in self-defense, and she and a young servant, Fah Wong, board the ship Java Maid . The Java Maid 's captain, Bull Brackett, falls in love with Doll, and gives her his cabin. Bull agrees to drop Fah Wong off in Seattle, although it is out of his way, and there he learns that Doll is wanted for the murder of Chan Lo, however, he loves Doll in spite of her reputation. Settlement worker Sister Annie Alden boards the boat in Seattle, and although she is dismayed by Doll's loose morals, when Annie falls ill, Doll nurses her and is impressed by Annie's sincerely charitable nature. Annie dies just as Inspector Jack Forrest boards the boat off the coast of Alaska, intending to arrest Doll, so she impersonates Annie, and she and Bull convince Jack that the deceased Annie is actually Doll. Still impersonating Annie in Alaska, Doll revives membership in the settlement workers' Alaskan Settlement House for which Annie was headed by aiming her appeal to the dance hall crowd and conducting rousing meetings. A romance arises between Doll and Jack, but one day he overhears her conversation with Bull in which he hears that she is the Doll. Jack is willing to give up his career to be with Doll, and she is forced to make a decision between him and Bull. Doll realizes that she cannot allow Jack to ruin his career because of the murder charge against her and, having successfully gotten the town to close on Sundays and raised enough to pay off the settlement's debts, Doll gives up the missionary life. Before she leaves, she bids brother Bowser to build a bigger settlement house dedicated to Sister Annie Alden. After she leaves the settlement house, she is nearly killed by a knife thrown by one of Chan Lo's avengers, however, she drops her Settlement Book, and the knife misses her as she bends over to pick it up. As she has had a dream in which Annie bids her to return to face trial, Doll returns to Bull and asks him to take her to San Francisco, where she will face the murder charges with faithful Bull at her side. +

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

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