Klondike Annie

  • 1936
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Musical

Mae West was being dogged by censors in 1936, and the many cuts made in KLONDIKE ANNIE give it a choppy feel, with much of the motivation of West's character missing. Nonetheless, the Legion of Decency found the film morally objectionable; worse, audiences were less than enamored of the story's structure, drama, and theme of a murderess who finds God and...read more

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Mae West was being dogged by censors in 1936, and the many cuts made in KLONDIKE ANNIE give it a choppy feel, with much of the motivation of West's character missing. Nonetheless, the Legion of Decency found the film morally objectionable; worse, audiences were less than enamored of the

story's structure, drama, and theme of a murderess who finds God and goes straight. West is Rose Carlton, the "Frisco Doll," who is kept by Chan Lo (Harold Huber). The Chinaman has taken her off the streets and set her up in high style, but she pays the price of his jealousy. Forced to kill him in

self-defense (shown in the original, but edited from the final cut), the Frisco Doll boards a ship for the frozen north. Ship's captain Bull Brackett (Victor McLaglen) is soon importuning her sexually; and when they dock at Seattle, he learns that she is a killer and uses the information to

blackmail her into sleeping with him. Next, the proselytizing Annie Alden (Helen Jerome Eddy) comes aboard to share the Frisco Doll's cabin. En route to Alaska she dies, and, by the time the ship lands in Nome, the Doll has assumed the late missionary's identity to the extent that she feels she

must stay in Alaska and save sinners. Working out of a small mission, the Doll uses unconventional but effective methods: enlisting the help of local dancers, giving sermons in no-nonsense terms, rewriting hymns and setting them to popular tunes. When mountie Jack Forrest (Philip Reed) arrives in

town looking for the American murderess, he and the Doll hit it off right away. An angry Bull confronts the Doll, and Philip overhears all, but assures her that the truth doesn't change his love and willingness to do anything for her. She won't hear of such self-sacrifice, however, so she doffs

her dowdy garb and puts on her old San Francisco clothing--shocking the town--and climbs aboard Bull's ship, intent on returning to Frisco and clearing her name of the murder charge. And that's the unsatisfying end. This was a more serious West than had been seen before, and audience response was

predictably apathetic. Still, she manages to inject some wisecracks into the dramatic structure and serious story (penned by West from her own play). Songs include: "Little Bar Butterfly," "Mr. Deep Blue Sea," "I'm An Occidental Woman In An Oriental Mood For Love," "Open Up Your Heart And Let The

Sunshine In," "Cheer Up, Little Sister," "I Hear You Knockin' But You Can't Come In," "It's Never Too Late To Say No," "This May Not Be Love But It's Wonderful," and "It's Better To Give Than Receive," (Gene Austin, James Johnson), "My Medicine Man" (Sam Coslow).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Mae West was being dogged by censors in 1936, and the many cuts made in KLONDIKE ANNIE give it a choppy feel, with much of the motivation of West's character missing. Nonetheless, the Legion of Decency found the film morally objectionable; worse, audiences… (more)

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