Flame of Barbary Coast

Archival Print!

Love can often lead to disaster, and in Flame of Barbary Coast that disaster levels the whole town. This Republic Picture was a tenth-anniversary actioner for the studio's biggest star, John Wayne. A period splurge with lavish sets and choice camerawork, the film casts Wayne as Duke Fergus, a curt cowboy from Montana, who can't corral his love for the Barbary babe of the Eldorado saloon, “Flaxen” Terry (Ann Dvorak). As luck would have it, Flaxen's already been claimed by card-carrying Tito Morell (Joseph Schildkraut), owner of the infamous gambling den. Their rivalry plays out in a demimonde of gin joints, where the dicey shenanigans are soon disrupted by a rift that razes the house. The New York Times wrote: “When that most spectacular of the acts of God finally does come along, it is the most edifying screen cataclysm since the Barbary Coast was razed in Metro's San Francisco. . . . John Wayne is perfectly cast. That is, he gambles, fights, woos and rides with consummate ease if not histrionic aplomb.”

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