Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee ... See full summary »
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
Mary Blake arrives at Blackie Norton's Paradise gambling hall and beer garden looking for work as a singer. Blackie embarrasses her by asking to see her legs, but does hire her. She faints from hunger. Nob Hill Socialite Jack Burley and Maestro Baldini of the Tivoli Opera House see her singing and offer her a chance to do opera, but Blackie has her under a two-year contract which she sorrowfully stands by. Later, when he makes up posters featuring Mary in tights, she does leave for the Tivoli. Blackie gets an injunction against Burley, but knocks out the process server when he hears Mary's performance as Marguerite in "Faust". She asks her to marry him and she agrees to go back to the Paradise as his kind of singer, but Blackie's childhood chum Father Tim intervenes. After Blackie slugs the priest, Mary leaves. She is soon the star of the Tivoli and Blackie's place is closed down. She sings a rousing "San Francisco" on behalf of the Paradise at the annual "Chicken Ball" and wins the ... Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The success of the film convinced Darryl F. Zanuck to set up his own disaster movie at 20th Century Fox the following year. In Old Chicago (1937) proved to be just as big a hit with audiences. See more »
The 'highbrow number' sung by Mary Blake while Blackie Norton entertains Jack Burley and Signor Baldini in his box early in the film, is "A Heart That's Free" by Alfred G. Robyn, composed in 1910. See more »
GREAT story, wonderful characters, excellent acting, beautiful cinematography and complex, realistic sets! Makes me nostalgic for these old, well-rounded, meaningful movies. Gable's character, "Blackie" is a marvelous example of the dual human nature that has hidden gold inside - people are not always as they seem. Life is a constant struggle that keeps everyone developing and brings out the true heart - for better or worse.
Beyond the basic plot, the film shows the potential devastation of earthquakes [historic retelling of the 1906 SF quake] and the ability of human beings to band together, overcome petty grudges and social class barriers and rejoice in life, transcending the mundane concerns. Incredible spiritual awakening in several characters, too. What was important before the tragedy became silly and forgotten in the wake of the rubble and death - back to basics. Can't say enough about the story, depiction of history and the outstanding cinematic artistry.
31 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?