Docks of San Francisco (February 1, 1932)
Released on February 1, 1932: An author gets mixed up with a bank robbery and the girlfriend of the head gangster.
Directed by George B. Seitz
Written by H.H. Van Loan
The Actors: Mary Nolan (Belle), Jason Robards Sr. (John Banning), Marjorie Beebe (Rose Gillen), John Davidson (Vance), William Haynes (Reggie, detective), Max Davidson (Max Ranovich, detective), Ernie Adams (Cookie), George Chesebro (Vance's henchman), Walter James (phony cafe waiter), Charles McAvoy (policeman), Frank Meredith (plainclothesman), Arthur Millet (Police Chief Rafferty), Paul Panzer (cafe waiter), Hal Price (Vance's henchman), Sam Rice (Nick, aka King Pin)
The Ragged Edge of Life
As soon as the mood was set in the Coal Hole bar I got flashbacks from my early life in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1979 times were tough in the steel belt of Ohio, and with all the mills closing one by one around Youngstown, Ohio where I was living, one day I decided that I needed to move to either Cleveland to the west or Pittsburgh to the east to find work. I flipped a quarter to decide which way to go, and Cleveland won. One of my first jobs in Cleveland was as a blocker apprentice in a drop forge. The work was hot and very dangerous, but the money was outstanding. Because of the dangers of the job many of the men I worked with were guys accustomed to the raw side of life. Laws were only important if you got caught - you did anything you could to get what you wanted. I copied their dress and talk to fit in . . . yeah, I had a big old leather wallet with a strong grommet through it and a hefty chain that I attached to my belt, and it didn't stand out at all because a lot of the other guys did the same. I never backed down from a confrontation . . . backing down would be the mark of death . . . usually confrontations ended without violence as we faced off and cussed long enough that the wind got knocked out of the argument and all was well again. Looking back I am amazed that a preacher's kid raised in small farm towns could adapt to that lifestyle. I worked next to low level gangsters, mob connected men and plain old struggling 'do anything to survive - don't know any other way' souls. I am eternally grateful that after work I could drive to a little better part of town than most of the guys and resume being a relatively normal middle-class husband. I was very fortunate after three years of working there because the economy turned sour again and I was laid off and by the time they called me back two years later I was already working as a fast food restaurant manager and into a totally different way of life. If you never lived on the ragged edge of life this movie may seem fake to you, but trust me, it is a very honest look at many places in many cities in 1932 . . . and in 1979 . . . and I'm quite sure even today. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with lots of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.
Arthur Millett as Police Chief Rafferty
Jason Robards Sr. and John Davidson
Jason Robards Sr. and Max Davidson
Jason Robards Sr. as author Johnny Banning
John Davidson and Mary Nolan
John Davidson as gangster Vance
John Davidson proposes to Mary Nolan
Marjorie Beebe and Mary Nolan
Marjorie Beebe as Rose Gillen
Mary Nolan and John Davidson
Mary Nolan holds a gun on Jason Robards Sr.
Mary Nolan is shot by Vance
Mary Nolan asks Jason Robards Sr. if she should 'Vamp' him
Max Davidson as Detective Max Ranovich
Jason Robards Sr. and his chubby friend