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 »
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>
Al Shean (born Adolph Schoenberg), who plays the Professor in the film was once half of one of the most popular teams in vaudeville - Gallagher and Shean. He was also the younger brother of Minnie Marx, the matriarch of The Marx Brothers clan, and was instrumental in writing many of the first sketches that his madcap nephews first performed on the vaudeville circuit before their enormous success on Broadway and in Hollywood. 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 »
This movie has it all: good history, great acting, superb special effects, a Stellar cast (Gable, Tracy, and McDonald, all top stars at the time), and a great story line. You get so wrapped up in the lives of these people that you even forget that there's an earthquake a' comin', until it HITS, and right in the middle of the human drama... Remember the first time you saw it? The timing was SO good that I'm sure most audience members felt the same confusion and sense of impending doom that the characters on-screen were experiencing at the same time. It's a real jaw-dropper...
In addition, there's a string of occurrences in this film which often go overlooked by all of the above: the INCREDIBLE singing of Jeanette McDonald, which punctuates the film at several key moments. When she sings, on demand, "Love Me and the World is Mine", the audience, just like Blackie Norton, can't help but be stunned by her voice, seeing that this woman has a set of PIPES! Whether it's opera, hymns, or the title song, her singing is the thread that ties all the parts of this film together, and, considering sound recording in 1936, it's stunning. Next time you visit this film, make a note to yourself: focus on her singing. She had an amazing talent that no one in film has matched, before or since. Her singing alone makes this film worth the price of admission.
So, rent the film and enjoy one of the greats... can't wait until it comes out on DVD.
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