Flame of Barbary Coast

1945

Musical / Romance / Western

1
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 35%
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 1046

Synopsis


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July 31, 2018 at 11:29 PM

Director

Cast

John Wayne as Duke Fergus
Butterfly McQueen as Flaxen's Maid
Paul Fix as Calico Jim
Joseph Schildkraut as Tito Morell
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
757.09 MB
988*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 31 min
P/S 4 / 14
1.44 GB
1472*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 31 min
P/S 8 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

The Duke Takes On The Barbary Coast

Flame of Barbary Coast finds John Wayne as a visiting cowboy from Montana who makes and loses a fortune in a night and goes home busted. He also finds the love of his life in Ann Dvorak, an entertainer at Joseph Schildkraut's place on the Barbary Coast.

Schildkraut figures that Dvorak is his personal property. But the Dvorak romantic angle is a side issue because Wayne is figuring on not getting mad, but getting even. He's learned a bit about gambling from an oldtimer at the trade in William Frawley.

Of course Wayne and Schildkraut's rivalry is interrupted by the famous earthquake of 1906. As this is Republic Films and not Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer, the special effects are nice, but not near as good as those from MGM. As this was Republic's prestige film of the year, I'm sure it was the best that miserly old Herbert J. Yates could afford.

The most interesting member of the cast is Schildkraut, a scion of the old Spanish aristocracy who's chosen to make his living on the Barbary Coast in the dens of iniquity there. He's as in love with Dvorak as Wayne is, but likes his power and notoriety more.

Yates took some liberties with San Francisco history in this one. The MGM San Francisco did not bother mentioning any of the local political figures of the day, but Flame on Barbary Coast did and got it wrong. Wayne and Schildkraut square off in an election in 1906 that never took place between Mayor Eugene Schmitz and James D. Phelan. Phelan was in fact Schmitz's predecessor in office and Schmitz didn't lose an election. He got himself impeached for setting a standard of corruption that has had some urban historian calling him the worst big city mayor in American history. Now THAT would be an interesting film.

Still the Duke's legion of fans will love him in this one and others will like Joseph Schildkraut.

Reviewed by Steve Haynie 7 / 10

Not really a western, but John Wayne is still a cowboy.

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.

Reviewed by Mike_Noga 6 / 10

A solid Duke vehicle.

The Duke vs. Joseph Schildkraut for the heart of Ann Dvorak and dominance of the San Francisco gambling scene. Wayne is smart and strong, Dvorak is beautiful and unobtainable and Schildkraut is charming and both conniving and dignified. William Frawley provides guidance and laughs as Duke's mentor, Wolf Wiley. This is a classic love triangle/rivalry, the kind that has sustained literature down through the ages. It's good old fashioned fun. I wouldn't call it original but it is well made and fun to watch. I doff my hat especially to Schildkraut for successfully playing a character who is somehow both amoral and principled.

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