Sam Goldwyn picked Barbary Coast as a title and called in Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur to write a story to fit. Result is a picture that has all it takes to get along in thoroughbred company.
Atmosphere of the period has been richly caught, even if the girl’s efforts to free herself from the gambling hall proprietor aren’t so sincere.
Miriam Hopkins is introduced when she arrives in Frisco to meet the man she is going to marry, admittedly because he has struck it rich. When learning he has been killed over a gambling loss, she throws herself toward Edward G. Robinson, town’s underworld leader. Story makes Hopkins a partially unsympathetic character until she falls in love with a young prospector and finds herself tangled up through prior associations. It is mostly Hopkins’ picture but Robinson and Joel McCrea are also strong.
Harry Carey plays the organizer of vigilantes and gives a good performance. Other standout small parts are by Walter Brennan and Frank Craven.
1935: Nomination: Best Cinematography