When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to do something about. An advocate of child... 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 <email@example.com>
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 »
[referring to Mary Blake]
Well, there's no law against an opera singer being slender, young and beautiful.
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The montage at the conclusion of the film which illustrates the re-building of San Francisco originally included a series of shots of recognizable San Francisco landmarks circa 1936, the year of the film's release; most notably, the Golden Gate Bridge while it was still under construction. The primary support cables had been slung from the towers of the bridge, but its roadway had not been constructed yet. This is very obvious in the one single shot of the Golden Gate Bridge which opened to traffic in 1937. Only the Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened to traffic in 1936, is seen as fully constructed in two shots at the beginning and end of the montage. Subsequent releases have omitted this original montage ending in favor of a dissolve shot proceeding from atop of a cliff overlooking the devastation into a single background matte shot of artist-painted buildings which are supposedly seen from the cliff. The original montage of the rebuilt San Francisco is a special feature in the DVD release as an "Alternate Ending" sequence. See more »
I still get a lump in my throat when Jeanette MacDonald belts out the song "San Francisco"
I have just watched the colorized version of this knock-out film. Whether in color or B &W, it is a powerfully entertaining film. When Blackie Norton finds religion and Mary Blake spots him, humbled and on his redemption encrusted knees,tears well up in my jaded eyes. Everything works so wonderfully in this film. Still, as destructive and tragic as the earthquake scenes are,this movie is basically a love story and what male would not swoon over the voice and the innocence of Mary Blake. Certainly not me.
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