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>
While writers Anita Loos and Robert E. Hopkins considered W.S. Van Dyke a director of considerable talent, they became worried shortly after filming had begun. Van Dyke said Loos, was "an oaf when it came to the subtleties of the San Francisco tenderloin. We were horrified watching Woody direct a scene where Blackie reproves an underworld sweetheart for wearing a gaudy necklace and, indicating it, said, 'Blackie told you not to wear that. It looks cheap.' Those words should have been tossed off gently and with a smile, as Wilson Mizner would have done. But Van Dyke caused our hero to jerk the necklace off the girl's throat with a brutality that cut into her skin and to bark out the dialogue in the manner of a hooligan. Not all of Gable's native charm could overcome the loutish behavior in which Van Dyke was directing him. We proceeded to [producer] Bernie [Hyman's] office to demand a retake. Bernie was surprised. 'Why I thought the way Woody directed that scene was swell!' For over an hour Hoppy and I conjured up the spirit of Irving [Thalberg], explaining that one crass move on the part of our hero would cause the entire movie to flounder beyond recall. Bernie, bless his simple heart, finally got our viewpoint. He ordered the sequence reshot with Hoppy on the set to guide Van Dyke. Pacing the Alley the next day I said to Hoppy, 'When Irving died, he'd taken the studio to the top of a toboggan run. From now on there's only one direction MGM can go.' 'Babe, you just said a mouthful!' Hoppy declared, thus repeating a phrase that he himself might have added to the English language." See more »
As Jack Burley walks past a piano backstage at the opera, there is a copy of "The Hollywood Reporter" propped up on the piano. This publication first appeared in 1930. See more »
I'm going to stay.
That's right. You're in probably the wickedest, most corrupt city, most Godless city in America. Sometimes it frightens me. I wonder what the end's going to be. But nothing can harm you if you don't allow it to because nothing in the world, no one in the world, is all bad.
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"San Francisco" is a very good classic picture. It's in many ways kind of similar to "In Old Chicago", which came out a year after this film. Both films have love stories, both have beautiful sets, and both climax with a disaster that really did take place in their respective cities. "San Francisco" takes place in the mid-1900s. Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy are two of the thousands of people living in the city that was tragically rocked by the massive earthquake of 1906. Like "In Old Chicago", the disaster recreation here is impressive. The film tends to drag a little from time-to-time, but that's only a minor quarrel to an otherwise classy movie. All-in-all, I was pretty entertained by "San Francisco".
*** (out of four)
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