“I got a debt to pay — not to this crowd, but to Annie, and I’m gonna do it.”
After stabbing her possessive Chinese boyfriend (Harold Huber), a dancehall singer known as the Frisco Doll (Mae West) boards a ship to Alaska, where she immediately entrances the ship’s captain (Victor McLaglen). When a missionary (Helen Jerome Eddy) on board the ship falls ill and dies, the Frisco Doll assumes her identity on land.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Character Arc
- Mae West Films
- Missionaries and Revivalists
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Play Adaptation
- Raoul Walsh Films
- Victor McLaglen Films
Often cited as Mae West’s definitive film, Klondike Annie is nonetheless an unusual vehicle for the busty blonde, one clearly tempered by the mandates of the Hays Production Code. West’s Frisco Doll undergoes a definite shift throughout the film, morphing from a self-absorbed fugitive to someone who thinks about the needs and desires of others. While this is an admirable character arc, it’s also a bit of a let-down, since “naughty Mae” is the persona we’re accustomed to seeing on-screen. For my money, I’d rather watch West in full saucy form, either in She Done Him Wrong (1932) or My Little Chickadee (1940).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
No, but film fanatics will likely be curious to check it out, and it’s certainly a must for Mae West fans.