An elderly Miss Morrison recounts her life as the once young and beautiful opera singer Marcia Morney-then the toast of Napoleon III's Paris. One evening, she encounters an American voice ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
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 '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 »
The Barbary Coast, the priest, the singer and Blackie.
San Francisco hundred years ago must have been an attractive place to be before the earthquake. The director W.S. Van Dyke made other disaster-movies for Hollywood but this must be his best. The special quality of this movie is that the effects of the earthquake are secondary to the story-telling of Robert E. Hopkins and the script by Anita Loos. Everybody is moved by the quarrel opposing Father Tim Mullin (Spencer Tracy) and Blackie Norton (Clark Gable) for the singer of the opera Mary Blake (a magnificent Jeanette MacDonald). Jack Burley (Jack Holt) is impressive as he ought to be. The nightclub "Paradise" is realistic as it was at that time without exaggerating. This is a movie about morals: how you can remain decent in a decadent environment.
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