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Klondike Annie

USA 1936
produced by
William LeBaron for Paramount
directed by Raoul Walsh
starring Mae West, Victor McLaglen, Phillip Reed, Helen Jerome Eddy, Harry Beresford, Harold Huber, Lucile Gleason, Conway Tearle, Esther Howard, Soo Young, John Rogers, Ted Oliver, Lawrence Grant, Gene Austin, Vladimir Bykoff, Huntley Gordon, Russ Hall, Otto Heimel, Tetsu Komai, Maidel Turner, Philip Ahn
screenplay by Mae West, Frank Mitchell Dazey, based on the play The Frisco Kate by Mae West and a story by Marion Morgan, George B.Dowell, music by Victor Young, songs by Gene Austin

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Rose, the San Francisco Doll (Mae West) is kept locked up in a golden cage by a powerful Chinaman (Harold Huber), but somehow she manages to escape his clutches - even if she has to kill somebody in self defense while getting away - and board a boat to Nome Alaska fro the goldrush in the Captain's cabin. And sure enough, the Captain, Bull Brackett (Victor McLaglen) soon falls for her, and eh even covers for her when he learns that she is wanted for murder.

In Vancouver, Sister Anne Alden (Helen Jerome Eddy) boards the ship, as she wants to go to Nome to help the local mission house which is in a poor state - and devout Anne and bad girl Rose soon enough find themselves sharing the Captain's quarters with each other ... and against all odds begin to like each other - and Anne even gives Rose a book about mission work to read which leaves Rose quite impressed. Then though Anne dies, and Rose - realizing that she is wanted for murder even in Nome - assumes Anne's identity.

At first, Rose becomes Anne only to evade the police and get away with the Captain at the earliest possible moment, but when she sees in what poor state the mission house is, she has a change of heart and decides to run the mission, in part because she thinks she owes it to Sister Anne.

Soon, applying unorthodox methods she has learned in dance halls around the world, she has the mission house packed and the collection plates overflowing ... and she and local chief of police Forrest (Phillip Reed) fall in love - much to Captain Brackett's dismay, naturally. Problem is, Rose is also in love with the Captain, and she knows Forrest must never find out who she really is since she's wanted for murder ...

Ultimately though, Forrest finds out about her true identity, but for her sake he is willing to give up his job and his ambitions and make a getaway with her ... Rose, who is by now overwhelmed by her conscience, declines though, and decides to stay with Captain Brackett, but asks him to take her back to San Francisco so she can face the charges against her and clear her name - after all, it was only self defense ...


Raoul Walsh is probably the single best director Mae West has ever worked with ... Klondike Annie however is far from her best film, essentially it's a melodram by the numbers with an under-challenged comedienne in the lead, whose whole star persona - that of a man-eating, promiscuous bad girl - seems oddly out of place here. Sure the film shows polish and directorial inventiveness absent from her earlier movies, but it's also full of kitsch - also absent from her earlier movies - and is low on jokes.

A pity, but maybe pairing a director of Raoul Walsh's caliber with a comedienne of Mae West's caliber wasn't such a good idea in the first place.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD