Tugboat Annie

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

What could have been a sentimental and sickly sweet saga turned into a colossal hit for MGM as it reteamed Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery (who had starred together in MIN AND BILL) and gave them free rein to strut their stuff. Dressler, the title character, is captain of a tugboat and Beery is her drunken husband. Their son, Robert Young, who is the captain...read more

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What could have been a sentimental and sickly sweet saga turned into a colossal hit for MGM as it reteamed Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery (who had starred together in MIN AND BILL) and gave them free rein to strut their stuff. Dressler, the title character, is captain of a tugboat and

Beery is her drunken husband. Their son, Robert Young, who is the captain of an ocean liner, falls in love with Maureen O'Sullivan, the daughter of Willard Robertson, who owns the large liner. Young adores Dressler and would like to get her off the little scow she pilots and away from her

shiftless husband. But Dressler enjoys her life on the tug and refuses to leave Beery. Angry, Young leaves, saying he will never speak to her again until she comes to her senses. After Beery drunkenly crashes the tugboat, the damaged vessel is sold at an auction and put into service as a garbage

boat. Offered the job of running it, Dressler takes the assignment because she and Beery need the money. Then one stormy night, while Beery and Dressler are far out to sea dumping refuse, they hear an SOS from Young's liner. Their small boat can hardly get up enough steam to effect a rescue until

Beery climbs into the boiler and repairs a leak. They then sail to Young's ship and everyone is saved. Beery receives an award, the tug is given back to Dressler and Beery, and the family is together once again. The relationship between Beery and Dressler was never again done with as much panache

and affection as it was here under the direction of a young Mervyn LeRoy. The tugboat was later used by Beery and new costar Marjorie Main in BARNACLE BILL (1941) after Dressler died in 1934. Marjorie Rambeau and Alan Hale did the roles once more in Warner Bros.' TUGBOAT ANNIE SAILS AGAIN, and

Edgar Kennedy and Jane Darwell played the leads in Republic's CAPTAIN TUGBOAT ANNIE (1945). In 1957, Minerva Urecal did the lead for a TV series. TUGBOAT ANNIE cost $614,000 to make, not an inconsiderable amount in those days, but the box office results more than made up for the production

budget.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: What could have been a sentimental and sickly sweet saga turned into a colossal hit for MGM as it reteamed Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery (who had starred together in MIN AND BILL) and gave them free rein to strut their stuff. Dressler, the title charact… (more)

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