|Flame of Barbary Coast|
|Directed by||Joseph Kane|
|Written by||Prescott Chaplin|
|Screenplay by||Borden Chase|
|Cinematography||Robert De Grasse|
|Edited by||Richard L. Van Enger|
|Distributed by||Republic Pictures|
Flame of Barbary Coast is a 1945 American Western starring John Wayne, Ann Dvorak, Joseph Schildkraut, William Frawley, and Virginia Grey. The movie was scripted by Borden Chase and directed by Joseph Kane.
Naive Montana cowboy Duke Fergus arrives in San Francisco and visits the notorious Barbary Coast. He becomes smitten with the lovely star attraction of the fanciest gambling hall, "Flaxen" Tarry, the "Flame of the Barbary Coast". He gets talked into gambling against the owner (and Flaxen's lover), card sharp Tito Morell. Predictably, Fergus gets cheated and loses all his money.
He sets himself to win Flaxen's affections and decides the best way to do it is to take over. He gets his friend Wolf Wylie to teach him everything about gambling, including how to spot cheating. When he's ready, he sells all he owns and returns to the city to challenge Morell's rule of the Barbary Coast. He goes from casino to casino, challenging each one's resident poker champion to a heads-up game, starting with Morell. Duke wins every time.
Fergus then builds an opulent new gambling establishment, catering to the upper class. To make it a success, he needs to persuade Flaxen to come work for him, but she is initially not interested. Only when Morell offends her does she decide to accept Fergus's offer. And then the fireworks begin. Morell does not take the challenge lying down. In the midst of it all, the Great Earthquake of 1906 strikes, both Fergus' and Morell's businesses are destroyed, and Flaxen grievously injured. They rebuild and recover. Throw in a political battle, and someone gets the girl.
The film was announced in May 1944. It was one of eight "super de luxe" productions from Republic Pictures for 1944-45, the others being Lake Placid Serenade, Storm Over the Philippines, Hit Parade, A Fabulous Texan, Earl Carroll's Vanities, and Let the Hurricane Roar.
Ann Dvorak, who had made her last three films in England, signed a long term contract with Republic and was assigned the female lead. Eve Lynn, a magazine cover model who had never acted before, was cast in the second lead.