Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)

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    There are 58 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)



      Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


      Plot Summary
      Duke falls for Flaxen in the Barbary Coast in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.
      He loses money to crooked gambler Tito, goes home and PL: learns to gamble, and returns.
      After he makes a fortune he opens his own place with Flaxen as the entertainer.
      The 1906 quake destroys his place.
      Summary written by Ed Stephan

      Montana cowboy Duke Fergus travels to 1906 San Francisco to collect a debt from Tito Morell
      who runs a place on the dodgy Barbary Coast. Though he heads home after losing the money
      to Morell's card-sharping, Duke takes a crash course on card play and returns with all his savings
      ready to take on Morell and start up his own place.
      A lot of this is due to Morell's woman Flaxen whom Duke has fallen for.
      The earth may soon be moving for him in quite dramatic ways.
      Summary written by Jeremy Perkins

      Full Cast
      John Wayne .... Duke Fergus
      Ann Dvorak .... Ann 'Flaxen' Tarry
      Joseph Schildkraut .... Boss Tito Morell
      William Frawley .... Wolf Wylie
      Virginia Grey .... Rita Dane
      Russell Hicks .... Cyrus Danver, Owner San Francisco Star
      Jack Norton .... Byline Conners, Reporter San Francisco Star
      Paul Fix .... Calico Jim
      Manart Kippen .... Dr. Gorman
      Eve Lynne .... Martha, Morell's Secretary
      Marc Lawrence .... Joe Disko, Gambler
      Butterfly McQueen .... Beulah, Flaxen's Maid
      Rex Lease .... Collingswood, headwaiter
      Hank Bell .... Hank, cabby
      Al Murphy .... Horseshoe Brown
      Eddie Acuff .... Smokey, the Train Engineer (uncredited)
      Doc Adams .... Barfly (uncredited)
      Melva Anstead .... Dancehall Girl (uncredited)
      Edmund Cobb .... Townsman (uncredited)
      Bud Geary .... Henchman (uncredited)
      Frank Hagney .... Morell Henchman (uncredited)
      Stuart Hamblen .... Jake (uncredited)
      Frank Jaquet .... Prominent Citizen (uncredited)
      Willie Keeler .... Barfly (uncredited)
      Patricia Knox .... Dancehall Girl (uncredited)
      Tom London .... Townsman (uncredited)
      Adele Mara .... Marie (uncredited)
      Frankie Marvin .... Cowboy (uncredited)
      Jack Mulhall .... Gambler (uncredited)
      Bud Osborne .... Driver (uncredited)
      Jack O'Shea .... Barnes, the Dice Table Croupier (uncredited)
      Eddie Parker .... Pedestrian (uncredited)
      Victor Potel .... Train Fireman (uncredited)
      Bobbie Priest .... Bit (uncredited)
      Hugh Prosser .... Fred Mellon (uncredited)
      Beverly Reedy .... Dancehall Girl (uncredited)
      Arlyn Roberts .... Dancehall Girl (uncredited)
      Hector Sarno .... Spectator at Dice Table (uncredited)
      Lee Shumway .... Casey (uncredited)
      Charles Sullivan .... Calico Jim's Bartender (uncredited)
      Emmett Vogan .... Rita's Agent (uncredited)
      Bill Wolfe .... Barfly (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Prescott Chaplin story
      Borden Chase screenplay

      Original Music
      R. Dale Butts (uncredited)
      Mort Glickman (uncredited)

      Robert De Grasse

      No known Triva/Goofs or Movie Locations
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 6 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Flame of Barbary Coast is a 1945 American Western

      To mark Republic's 10th.birthday, they released this Duke feature.
      Herbert Yates, the boss, approved a huge budget, and very substantial for the studio.
      They secured the services of Ann Dvorak,Joseph Schildkraut, Virginia Grey, Paul Fix,
      and Butterfly McQueen.
      Joseph Kane, directed a Borden Chase script.

      The reviewer, for the NYTimes said,
      John Wayne is perfectly cast ....
      That is, he gambles, fights, woos, and rides with consummate ease, if not historic aplomb
      However, reviewers, found the movie, lavish, if a tale too often told before.
      Duke received little satisfaction from making the film.
      Formulaic and trite, it lacked imagination, and was only just a step above a 'B' movie.

      User Review
      Not really a western, but John Wayne is still a cowboy.
      1 February 2006 | by Steve Haynie (Easley, South Carolina)

      Before watching Flame Of Barbary Coast I never read the description on the back cover of the DVD case. It mentions the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Fortunately I was aware of some of the history of that earthquake, so I was picking up the clues given throughout the movie. All I cared about before watching the movie was that it was a western with John Wayne in it. The movie is a "late" western in that it takes place as the wild west had been tamed and the 20th Century was becoming an entirely different reality.

      The plot was okay, but a little thin. A Montana rancher goes to the big city, finds himself played out as a sucker, and returns to conquer the same people who made a fool out of him. Duke Fergus (John Wayne) takes lessons from his professional gambler friend, Wolf Wylie (William Frawley), and ends up beating the professional gamblers in their own casinos. Even for John Wayne this is quite amazing. Added to that is his love interest in Flaxen (Ann Dvorak), known as "the Flame of the Barbary Coast", who apparently has teased virtually every powerful man in town. At the time of the story she is tied to Tito Morrell (Joseph Schildkraut), the most successful and notorious of the gambling house bosses.

      I liked the way Joseph Schildkraut played the classy, but devious, casino owner, Tito Morrell. His character hinted at aristocratic old world lineage and his determination to maintain a level of sophistication despite his present reputation. Tito's criminal side is never shown, only implied. John Wayne's character, Duke, never came across as simple. He loved his modest environment at his ranch in Montana, but he had a business sense and some integrity. Ann Dvorak's Flaxen is the character that seems a bit odd. If she has such a reputation for being the unobtainable prize, why do so many still want her? She really does smile her way through everything, too. It would have been really nice if she got one of those famous John Wayne spankings.

      Establishing a specific time was done gradually and then deliberately. The house Tito provides for Flaxen is definitely built in an elaborate turn of the century European-influenced style that would not have existed thirty years earlier. Upon arriving in San Francisco there were many electric lights. A bathroom with running water is shown. Eventually a specific date in January of 1906 is mentioned, and later it is mentioned that April of the same year has arrived. Although everyone is moving on foot or in a horse drawn carriage, an automobile appears in one scene. The time placement was subtle in the beginning and made perfectly clear as it became more important to the plot.

      I expected the climax of the movie to be the famous San Francisco earthquake. There really were explosions and gas fires from ruptured natural gas lines. Firefighters are shown in the movie running out of water because of broken water mains just as the real firefighters did. It is even mentioned that looters would be shot, as they really were. The catalyst that brought about changes in San Francisco set up the final scenes for the main characters. The true nature of everyone is shown in a final showdown between Duke, Tito, and Flaxen.

      I liked Flame Of Barbary Coast. My only complaint is that the movie makes the Barbary Coast seem to be the most important part of San Francisco, and it is the only part of the city that is shown. The sets were elaborate and the actors were good. It cannot be called a gangster movie even though it has crime bosses. Over all it was more of a drama than a western, but it was worth watching.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Hi,

      I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
      looking for previous discussion, relating to this movie.
      I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
      so that they are now under one forum:-

      Flame Of The Barbary Coast
      post Nov 24 2004, 04:02 AM

      I bought this DVD a month or so ago but just got around to watching it tonight. (Can't remember if I ever saw it before....if I did, it's been many a year ago.)

      Anyway, I can't believe some of the goofy facial expressions Duke assumes in this picture. Anybody else agree who's seen the movie?

      post Nov 24 2004, 09:20 AM

      Hi Stumpy

      My wife when she watches his films counts his expression, for example when he gets hit on the head or kocked out his eyes roll up and his mouth opens into a sort of gape and she says that expression number nine, he uses it in all of his pictures.



      post Nov 24 2004, 10:48 AM

      QUOTE(arthurarnell @ Nov 24 2004, 04:20 AM)
      Hi Stumpy

      My wife when she watches his films counts his expression, for example when he gets hit on the head or kocked out his eyes roll up and his mouth opens into a sort of gape and she says that expression number nine, he uses it in all of his pictures.


      I know the expressions you're talking about, Arthur, but those he gets on his face in this movie are completely different and unlike any I've seen on the Duke before. He gets the expression I'm talking about without even being hit,

      post Nov 24 2004, 10:51 AM

      Stumpy and Arther I know exactly what you are talking about, regarding Dukes expression when he gets hit I think its just to be comical e.g. when he does it in Mclintock.

      Flame of Barbarry Coast is a terrible movie one of Dukes worst.

      A Girl Named Jen
      post Nov 24 2004, 02:16 PM

      I agree that The Flame of Barbary Coast ranks toward the bottom of the heap. The woman in it annoys me (can't think of her name off the top of me 'ead) and she and Duke have no chemistry. Bleah.

      But now I'm curious to see these facial expressions Stumpy mentions. Next time it's on AMC I'll tune in just for that.

      My favorite look is his standard squint with the tiny half-grin and the eyebrows angling up and knitting together. 

      post Nov 24 2004, 06:15 PM

      Hi Jen

      The two women in Flame of the Barbary Coast were Ann Dvorak and Virginia Grey probably considered middle of the road actresses, although the former was possibly slightly higher thought of than the latter.

      It is like some of the other Duke pictures, and I don't know if it is intentional in that the film doesn't have an out and out rotter for a villain. True Joseph Schildkraut as Tito does swindle Duke at the start of the picture and try to take over the San Fransico saloons and is beaten by Wayne, but at the end they all appear to end up a friends, the matter is treated as one big jape, they all pull together to rebuild the city after the earthquake, and Duke even tells Tito that he is stealing his girl friend from him, and Schildkraut shrugs his shoulders and smiles his acceptance of the fact.

      Mind you with Ann Dvoraks voice, if she did the singing perhaps he was going to put her in San Francisco Bay as a fog horn.

      If anyone is the villain its Paul Fix, and even that made a change.



      post Nov 24 2004, 08:53 PM

      Duke also had an expression when he was put in an akward situation sometimes by a female lead.

      It would be interesting to see all these pictures an idea might be to post them all here so we can better understand what expression each member is talkign about, it might be fun as well looking at the many faces of John Wayne. :D

      post Nov 25 2004, 08:16 AM

      For me, the most interesting thing in Barbary Coast to look at is the script: Written by Borden Chase, one of the very best in western writing, you'll find a lot of the constallations he used so well, like the special friendly relationsship between hero and antagonist: friends at first, enemies then, and so on, like he did in Bend of the River with Jimmy Stewart and Arthur Kennedy, and of course in Red River between Wayne and Clift.

      post Nov 25 2004, 09:27 AM

      Hi Roland,

      I think you and I are on the same tack, and which I hope starts to prove my point.

      In Richard D McGhee's book John Wayne, Actor, Artist, Hero he looks at these three aspects that went towards John Wayne's make up and attitude towards pictures giving what I think, in a very insightful book, is a very good statement. He says:

      As the character he plays in Paradise Canyon (1935), John Wyatt, says,"About all I can do is ride and shoot," He had vigor, determination, and perseverance. they added up to "heart." These earned him the work he did in numerous low-budget films he made in the 1930s.

      I think that McGhee doesn't go far enough in his assessment in that concentrating on the the actor the artist and the hero, he skips over what I think should have been a fourth part - the Man, for I think the man John Wayne was the actor the artist and the hero, possibly the man was a better actor than the actor, more of an artist than the artist and a bigger hero than the hero he portrayed.

      In my previous post on this subject I suggested and which Itdo took up on, that in Flame of the Barbary Coast, whether the film is good bad or indifferant, the plot was gentle. Hero and antagonist were not that far apart, and given reasonable circumstances might have gone on to become good friends again.

      An examination of many of John Wayne'n non westerns around the time of the early 1940's i.e A Man Betrayed, Lady for a Night, Lady from Louisiana, show a gentle John Wayne, a sympathetic, even sentimental person reflecting his emotional and difficult upbringing, a sentimentality and a gentleness that made men want to be his friend and woman want to mother him.

      In no way would I want to suggest that his ability as an actor was negated by this because every actor brings something of his life experiences to his craft, but I think that his gentleness and sympathy come very much to the fore in many of his films and the scripts were deliberately set out to highlight this aspect.

      This is also seen in many of his films where his carries the reputation of being a hard riding shoot em up gunman who always gets to kill the villain. Yet how many times does he kill the villain, In[/I]Riders of Destiny, his final show down with Slip Morgan, John Wayne's character of Singing Sandy described as one of the meanest killers since Jesse James, only wounds Earl Dwire, albeit ending his career as a gunfighter for all time, but at the end of the fight both men walk away. In'Angel and the Badman'[I] it is Marshal McLintock who kills Laredo, in [I]The Shepherd of the Hills, again He spends the entire picture hating his father and threatening that if they ever meet he will kill him, but when he eventually learns the truth about Harry Carey, they embrace and walk away. Coming up to date in Chisum Forrest Tucker is killed when he falls on to a steers horn lying on the ground.

      I have already in a previopus post quoted the fact that in his indian pictures he didn't get to kill many indians, I would argue that that was also the case in many of his other pictures. Certainly when the part demanded it he killed when he had to, but in general, the man rather than the actor stood out in many of his pictures and the man showed by his performances as Dunson in Red River and Eathan Edwards in the Searchers, what a fine actor the man was.



      post Nov 25 2004, 09:24 PM

      Interesting last post Arther, in regards to Flame of Barbary Coast when you take an overview of it it simply fails in its basic objective
      to be interesting and to entertain the audience.
      Now some people are going to like it but in general many would rather forget it.

      For me this ranks in the same category as other poor Duke efforts such as

      Legend of the Lost
      Three Faces West
      And of course The Quiet Man

      Only joking with my final choice. :D

      A Girl Named Jen 
      post Nov 29 2004, 04:56 PM

      Hey Robbie - good idea with posting photos of the expressions we like. I'll try and do that some time soon.
      I have a picture of him making that expression stuck to my cubicle at work, and am looking at it right now. :D
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Re: Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)

      I can't believe that no one mentioned the special effects in this movie. Sure the plot may be ho hum, a little slow or boring. But when that earthquake struck, I was amazed at how great it looked. The casino caving in, the street swaying and breaking apart, the hydro lines starting the fire, all great. Considering that the movie is sixty years old, I was stunned!
      [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]
    • Re: Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)

      Here's a poster from this film -

      Flame of Barbary Coast-poster.jpg

      This second one is a 1950 reissue poster -

      Flame of Barbary Coast-1950 reissue poster.jpg

      The guy in the first poster looks much more like John Wayne than the guy in the reissue poster, don't you think?
    • Re: Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)


      I'd had this film on video previously but never watched it that much. I enjoyed it though, which seems to go against popular opinion!

      Recently, I upgraded it to DVD, having purchased that Universal 34 disc box set.

      I have a quick question for anyone whom own the region 2 DVD: are those nasty glitches where the sound drops out between approx the 30 and 32 minute mark present on all the DVDs? I hope I haven't got a dud...
    • Re: Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)

      realgone, welcome to DukeWayne.com, "The Friendliest John Wayne message board this side of DotCom". Hope you find this place to your liking!

      Flame Of Barbary Coast is a movie the Mrs. and I have watched and enjoyed. Granted, it's not up near the upper levels of Duke's movies.

      In answer to your inquiry, there have been reports that those DVDs may have some problems. Can you take them back to where you bought them, and ask for a replacement?

      Chester :newyear:

      The post was edited 1 time, last by chester7777 ().

    • Re: Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)

      Sadly, I no longer have a receipt; it was part of the 34 disc set, so I'd hate to take the whole thing back anyway. Since the discs are the same, I may try picking up the separate region 2 disc of 'Lady From Lousiana/Flame of Barbary Coast' and replacing it with that. I could then take the separate disc back as faulty. Sure, that means I'd have a spare, but could probably give it to someone.
    • Re: Flame Of Barbary Coast (1945)

      My wife suggests that you might want to directly contact the manufacturer, and let them know you have at least one defective disc, which you've recently discovered in the set. I would think they might replace it, if for no other reason than good public relations.

      Let us know what you end up doing!

      Chester :newyear:

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