Barbary Coast (1935)

Barbary Coast (1935), directed by Howard Hawks.

A mail order bride arrives in 1849 San Francisco -- mud streets and elaborate gambling halls -- to find her intended husband has been murdered and all his gold is now owned by the local crime boss. After due consideration -- it's not like she ever knew her fiancé -- she throws in with the gambler and runs his gaming tables.

When a handsome young poet-prospector appears... well, is it possible to get out and go back?

This is a middling melodrama/action picture. I review it because I want to be a Howard Hawks completist: "the greatest American director who is not a household name" (Leonard Maltin).

A good cast:

Also with Harry Carey and Donald Meek. David Niven is supposed to have a bit part but I didn't spot him.

Certain types of race-talk were not allowed by the Code, but the Code was pretty new in 1935. Hopkins causes a sensation when she first appears: "A New York white woman! Whiter than a hen's egg!" After she's been working in the gambling saloon for a while: "Do you think I'm still a white woman?"

Available on DVD. Indifferent unrestored quality.