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 »
Sophie loved Edmund, but he left town when her parents forced her to marry wealthy Octavius. Years later, Edmund returns with his son, William. Sophie's daughter, Marguerite, and William ... See full summary »
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>
Spencer Tracy initially had qualms about appearing in the film because he was unsure about playing a priest. A devout Catholic, Tracy felt that he might be betraying his faith by trying to impersonate a priest for the movies. Ironically, two years later Tracy would win an Oscar for playing a priest in Boys Town (1938). 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 »
[pointing at necklace]
Hey. I thought I told you not to wear that thing.
Ah gee, honey, I think it's nice.
Yeah? Well I think it makes you look cheap!
[Rips it off of her]
Now don't wear it anymore. Blackie doesn't like it.
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SAN FRANCISCO is a major Hollywood production from the 1930's, From the Boldness of the opening credits, along with a rousing rendition of the tune by the same name, the viewer suspects that they are going to witness a special movie event.
The plot is a rather forthright formula story of a tug-of-war romance between bad boy Clark Gable (Blackie Nortion, saloon owner) and mama's boy Jack Holt (Jack Burley, scion of a well-to -do family) for the affections of singer Jeanette MacDonald (Mary Blake, beautiful, virginal). It's also a story of good vs. evil, the good portrayed by Spencer Tracy as a Catholic Priest.
But it's the hard-hitting script and it's crisp dialogue, the recreation of a turn-of-the-Century San Francisco, the great acting, the music, and the fabulous Earthquake sequences that make this show the classic that it is.
SAN FRANCISCO is a tale of contrasts. On one hand the Barbary Coast with it's bars and bordellos, yet on the other hand we have a city of the fine arts, opera, and the Nob Hill elite. We have the rich, the spendthrifts, and also the poor who seek shelter in the Mission Houses.
The acting of Clark Gable cannot go unmentioned. His Blackie Norton is the most mockingly amoral character, proud of his lack of religious faith..... relying only on himself. Yet as Father Mullin (Tracy) says at one point in the movie, "Do you know who gave the chapel that organ we've been dedicating tonight? The most scoffing, unbelieving, and godless soul in all San Francisco, ..Blackie Norton. Cost him over $4,000......Don't tell him I told you. Blackie's like that, ashamed of his good deeds as most men are ashamed of their bad."
The famous 1906 Earthquake is a real show-stopper. Entire sets were hoisted on hydraulic lifts and rockers, and literally shaken down. VERY REALISTIC. I would have reservations about showing this picture to kids under 10 years of age. They may develop a neurotic fear of earthquakes following this one.
Enjoy and re-enjoy.
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