Klondike Annie

1936

Comedy / Musical / Romance / Western

0
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 554

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 21, 2021 at 09:03 PM

Director

Cast

Mae West as The Frisco Doll / Rose Carlton / Sister Annie Alden
Esther Howard as Fanny Radler
Victor McLaglen as Bull Brackett
720p.WEB
707.68 MB
978*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 16 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

Bold, Brassy, and Sassy

In 1915 Cecil B. DeMille did a silent film for Paramount called The Cheat. In it, Fannie Ward contracts a Shylock like debt for sexual favors in payment for borrowed money. Trying to kill the oriental who lent the money was deemed justifiable in the end. In that same tradition, Paramount and Mae West did Klondike Annie where she actually kills Harold Huber, the oriental she's involved with and escapes from San Francisco to Nome.

Prejudice against orientals was rampant on our west coast during the Gay Nineties when this story takes place. Mae has two strokes of good luck, first in ship's captain Victor McLaglen who loves her any way and keeps her secret. Secondly she meets missionary Helen Jerome Eddy who is going to the wild north to head a mission in Nome. Eddy sickens and dies aboard ship, but she's the real deal as a missionary and it's the only time Mae West ever trod the straight and narrow. She escapes the police by taking the late Ms. Eddy's identity.

I'm not sure how this one escaped the Code. Not the racial prejudice, mind you, but the fact that Mae and Victor live happily ever after and Mountie Philip Reed who also falls for Mae let's her go. You were not supposed to go unpunished under Code rules.

Mae's as bold and brassy as ever. She's got the right buxom build for these parts as back then feminine ideal beauty was someone like Lillian Russell who had a bit of heft to her figure.

Mae wrote the script as she did in most of her films and she wrote it with an awareness of the times she grew up in. Klondike Annie might not sit well with some audiences today, but it's also the sad truth about those times. Anyway, she's got fabulously sassy lines.

Reviewed by lugonian 7 / 10

She Done Hymn Wrong

KLONDIKE ANNIE (Paramount, 1936), directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Mae West, who's also credited with story and dialog, is a different kind of Mae West production without taking away from the traditional Mae West persona. The movie title is as memorable and most associated with Mae West than the story itself, however, this is one of her most interesting, if not entirely successful projects.

Set in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1890s, Rose Carlton (Mae West), better known as "The San Francisco Doll," (but billed in the closing credits simply as "The Frisco Doll") works an entertainer at the House of Chan Lo. Aside from earning her living as a singer , her other position is acting as mistress to her employer Chan Lo (Harold Huber), who rewards her with luxury but not happiness. After more than a year under his constant guided protection, she becomes bitter, feeling more like a prisoner and annoyed with his abusive behavior and possessive jealously. She now yearns for a man of her "own race" and decides to make leave with Vance Palme r(Conway Talmer), a middle-aged millionaire. After one of her servants, Ah Toy, is put to the torture test, Chan Lo learns of the Doll's attempt to board passage on the next steamer for Alaska. Rose and her Chinese maid, Fah Wong (Soo Yong), leave the casino, and arrive on board the Java Maid where they become only passengers, in fact the only females, sharing the steamer with Captain "Bull" Brackett (Victor McLaglen) and his crew. Rose soon catches the attention of the captain who makes her his special passenger. As a promise to her maid, Rose arranges for Bull to stop in Seattle where Fah Wong reunites herself with the man she loves. While on port, Bull obtains information about Rose, alias "The San Francisco Doll," wanted for murder. Blinded by her beauty, he decides to help her. After the steamer docks at Vancouver, Sister Annie Alden (Helen Jerome-Eddy) of the Salvation Army, comes on board to pursue her mission to save fallen souls at the Settlement House in Nome. During the voyage, Sister Annie suddenly becomes ill and dies. Arriving in the Klondike, authorities come on board to arrest Rose. Rose switches identities with Annie, with Rose Carlton's name listed in the log book as passenger who died on board. While in Nome, Rose's impersonation of Sister Annie gradually changes her heart and soul. Out of respect for the dead woman, she uses her methods to inspire dance hall girls, gamblers and prostitutes to attend the prayer meetings. It's not long before her special brand of preaching earns her a special place in the congregation. In spite of being on an errand of mercy, Rose, who has encountered Jack Forrest (Philip Reed), of the Mounted Police, who, like Brackett, knowing her identity, plans to resign his post and go away with her. Rose is soon placed in a position as to which man she would have as well as the tough decision whether or not return to San Francisco and face up to the murder charge that awaits her.

While a theme about a troubled or bitter woman finding religion could have produced a fine and inspirational film, instead, is something with great potential, but little else. KLONDIKE ANNIE (which could have been titled I'M NO ANGEL had it not been used already), was reportedly faced with censorship problems leading to severe editing process. A notable scene early in the story was one involving a struggling match between Rose (West) and Chan Lo (Harold Huber), ending with the villain accidentally getting stabbed by one of his own daggers. This ranks one of the more regrettable cuts, making that abrupt blackout from casino to steamer a bit puzzling. Learning what had taken place through the "wanted for murder" posters does help to comprehend the continuity of the rest of the story.

Aside from deletion of other scenes leading to its final print of 77 minutes, KLONDIKE ANNIE, being the most dramatic of all Mae West films, not only takes time for some lighter moments in comedy but takes time for song numbers with West taking the spotlight, with music and lyrics credited to Gene Austin, who also appears as vocalist and organ player during the church service. The opening number, "I'm an Occidental Woman in the Oriental Mood for Love," as sung by West, is quite effective especially with the accompaniment of Oriental musical instruments. This is followed by "Mr. Deep Blue Sea" as West sings this one to McLaglen in his cabin. Subsequent songs sung by others include: "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," "Little Bar Butterfly," "Cheer Up, Little Sister," "It's Better to Give Than to Receive" (sung by Gene Austin and parishioners during the collection; and the traditional New Year's Eve theme song of "Old Acquaintance."

Out of circulation from the commercial and public television markets for quite some time now, KLONDIKE ANNIE eventually moved to the cable channel of American Movie Classics where it played several times from September 1991 to March of 1992. In fact, KLONDIKE ANNIE was the only Mae West feature from her Paramount years (1932-1938) to be presented on AMC. KLONDIKE ANNIE along with the other West/ Paramount titles, were distributed on video cassette from MCA/ Universal in 1992, and later to DVD a decade or so later. Aside from a story with a Jack London (author to "The Call of the Wild") Yukon setting, Mae West, with her attempt to be relatively different, keeps the traditional formula and style sizzling, yet goodness did have something to do with it. (**1/2)

Reviewed by Steffi_P 5 / 10

"A hot time in the old town"

The period of strict enforcement of the production code, beginning in 1934, was to Mae West what the end of prohibition was to bootleggers. West was a star whose self-penned stories made an art of promiscuity, and whose overt sex appeal made even the subtlest of innuendoes as see-through as a chiffon stocking. She is sometimes pinpointed as the main reason the code-enforcing Hayes Office was established, although it wasn't so much that her pictures were the most risqué out there (something like Baby Face is a far more flagrant flaunting of the code than I'm No Angel and She Done Him Wrong). It was the fact that she was also a box office sensation – and thus a much more potent influence – that made the Legion of Decency moralists take notice.

In this light, Klondike Annie seems to be not so much a watering down of pre-code Mae, but an apology and atonement for her past misdemeanours. While it begins with some of West's familiar man-hopping sass (albeit without so much of her sly wit), half-an-hour or so in the plot is suddenly hijacked by a Christian missionary, from whereon Mae is a reformed woman, as if in direct response to the proclamation of I'm No Angel. This was in a way self-censorship on her part, because as with her earlier pictures West wrote the screenplay, and despite her antics both on and off screen was truly a devout Christian. Luckily this means Ms West still appears in control and enough of her personality has survived intact, even when she's dressed in black and preaching a sermon. It's a testament to her credible acting skills that she manages to pull this off, making Rose Carlton's redemption and unconventional adoption of the moral crusader role a believable one, tweaking her ability to command attention and work a crowd into a slightly new direction.

West also has a very flattering and focused director in Raoul Walsh. Walsh makes his camera placement a slave to Mae, keeping her almost constantly foregrounded, staring hypnotically out at the audience. Take for example the scene where Victor McLaglen prepares breakfast for her, in which we see the table in a fairly standard sideways-on set-up. When Mae comes in Walsh switches to a sharply different angle, purely so that she can enter bearing down upon the camera. Walsh is also blunt in bringing out plot points, making for example Sister Annie's first address to Mae a close-up straight into the camera (a Walsh speciality), to let us know that this is a key moment in the story.

Another odd side-effect here is that without all the usual sexual politics and bed-hopping Klondike Annie actually has a far clearer and more substantial plot than the earliest Mae West pictures, even transitional ones like Belle of the Nineties, which took out the sex but left in the battle-of-the-sexes. But to what purpose this clarity? Klondike Annie may be technically one of the better Mae West pictures, but without her free-spiritedness and playful man-conquering exploits the very heart of the Mae West formula has gone. While the picture served to keep her in work for a few years, it has little of value for those of us in the audience. The production code had not only put a cramp West's style, it had wiped out her box-office appeal in the process.

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