Klondike Annie


1h 20m 1936

Brief Synopsis

Rose Carlton is the kept woman of Chan Lo, who takes her from walking the streets to pacing the floors of her high rent apartment. Rose ends up killing Chan and boards a ship where burly sea captain Bull Brackett takes a shine to her. When he finds out she killed Chan, he blackmails her into coming

Film Details

Also Known As
Klondike Lou, The Frisco Doll
Release Date
Feb 21, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

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 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.

Cast

Mae West

[Rose Carleton] The Frisco Doll

Victor Mclaglen

[Captain] Bull Brackett

Phillip Reed

[Inspector] Jack Forrest

Helen Jerome Eddy

Annie Alden

Harry Beresford

Brother Bowser

Harold Huber

Chan Lo

Lucille Webster Gleason

Big Tess

Conway Tearle

Vance Palmer

Esther Howard

Fanny Radler

Soo Yong

Fah Wong

John Rogers

Buddie

Ted Oliver

Grigsby

Lawrence Grant

Sir Gilbert

Gene Austin

Organist

Vladimar Bykoff

Marinoff

George Walsh

Quartermaster

James Burke

Bartender

Chester Gan

Ship's cook

Jack Daley

Second mate

Jack Wallace

Third mate

Carl Harbaugh

Port officer

George Macquarrie

Port officer

Wong Chung

Tong man

Paul Fung

Tong man

Mrs. Chan Lee

Blind woman

Otto Heimel

Cocoa

Gladys Gale

Dance hall girl

Edna Bennett

Dance hall girl

Pearl Eaton

Dance hall girl

Kathleen Key

Dance hall girl

Ilean Hume

Dance hall girl

Marie Wells

Dance hall girl

Howard Lang

Miner

Eddie Allen

Miner

Dick Allen

Miner

Katherine Clare Ward

Miner's wife

Jackson Snyder

Little boy

D'arcy Corrigan

Missionary

Arthur Turner Foster

Missionary

Nell Craig

Missionary

Nella Walker

Missionary

Homer Dickinson

Dress man

Philip Ahn

Wing

William Norton Bailey

Mission man

Polly Vann

Mission woman

Mrs. Wong Wing

Ah Toy

Maidel Turner

Lydia Bowley

Huntly Gordon

Clinton Reynolds

Paul Kruger

First sailor

Edward Brady

Second sailor

John Lester Johnson

Third sailor

Frank C. Baker

Port official

George Burton

Port official

Jim Thorpe

"beans" Reardon

Hank Hankinson

"dink" Templeton

Billy Mcgowan

Kathryn Bates

Marcel Ventura

Guy D'ennery

Laura Treadwell

Film Details

Also Known As
Klondike Lou, The Frisco Doll
Release Date
Feb 21, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one I never tried.
- The Frisco Doll

Trivia

Notes

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 January 1936 news item in Hollywood Reporter, 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 January 1936, West and Paramount came to an agreement, the production continued, and her contract was renewed for another feature. A September 1935 news item in Hollywood Reporter 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. Daily Variety 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 New York Times, 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 September 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 February 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, Motion Picture Herald 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 Film Daily credits Sam Coslow with music and lyrics, his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. New York Times reports that Victor McLaglen earned $87,500 for this film. Modern sources add Philo McCullough to the cast.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States 1936