In BARBARY COAST, Mary Rutledge (Miriam Hopkins) travels to San Francisco at the height of the gold rush to meet the man she has arranged to marry, a prospector who has struck it rich. When she arrives she finds him dead, thanks to local casino owner and crime boss Louis Chamalis (Edward G. Robinson). Mary takes up with Chamalis in a business partnership: He nicknames her Swan and hires her as a main attraction in his casino, the Bella Donna. Mary quickly grows tired of Chamalis's strong-arm habits and runs away, falling in love with thoughtful prospector James Carmichael (Joel McCrea); meanwhile, Louis and his thugs are abusing power and harassing or killing those who would expose their crimes. A colorful and entertaining period drama, half gangster picture and half Western, BARBARY COAST features a strong performance by Robinson as the flamboyant Chamalis and a notable appearance by Walter Brennan as Old Atrocity. The film also showcases the song "I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair."
A group of diverse, antagonistic individuals come into conflict in this drama set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast during the California gold rush days. A cinema classic that's notable for its great period detail as well as its compelling story, the film was directed by Howard Hawks and stars Edward G. Robinson as a crooked casino owner.
Theatrical release: September 27, 1935.
Actor Walter Brennan had his first major Hollywood role in BARBARY COAST, which was the first of six films he would make with director Howard Hawks.
The film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography.