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 earthquake actually occurred at 5:13 am. In the movie the timing appears to be in the late evening, not in the early morning. The prologue of the opening credits states the correct time of the earthquake: April 18, 1906 at 5:13 am but it is easy to understand any confusion since with the cinematography at the time, day for night shots were used in exterior sets and with model sets, so that the full impact of the earthquake in progress could be easily seen. Also, it took at least three days for the fire to be extinguished and with the one night shot in those sequences, it appears that the timing of events after the earthquake was much shorter than it actually was. See more »
Oh, yes "San Francisco" was a masterpiece movie when it was made in 1936 - the special effects designed and brilliantly brought to the screen by MGM were astounding, and this film was a giant hit. Having seen it many times over, I am still enthralled by the Earthquake scenes, and it was great to see Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable working so well together - somehow this was one of Gable's best two roles of his career as Blackie. Jeanette MacDonald was somewhat miscast in some ways, but her singing of "Nearer My God to Thee" was inspirational - it was a pity it was so short. The supporting cast was excellent while the spirit of the city of San Francisco was well captured by the direction of W.S. van Dyke. Jack Holt and Jessie Ralph, a couple of old stagers, did well - but the star of the show was the Earthquake.
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