Monday, July 10, 2017

San Francisco 1936

     Blackie Norton owns the Paradise gambling hall and beer garden in San Francisco.  Mary Blake is looking for a job as a singer but Blackie asks to look at her legs?  He hires her but she wants to be an opera singer.  Jack Burley is a Nob Hill socialite and he hears her sing.  He offers her a chance to sing opera but she has a two-year contract with Blackie.  He makes up posters with Mary in tights and a skimpy costume.  Father Tim Mullin complains about the exploitation of Mary in the pictures and Blackie punches him in the face.  Mary does leave her contract, she sings at the opera house and she marries Jack Burley. 
     Everyone is young in this film including Clark Gable and it’s a classic.  I didn’t think this film was dated and it was nice to see San Francisco buildings of this time period.  There are special effects in the ending scenes.  This is the first film staring Jeanette MacDonald without Nelson Eddy.  This has a good story and shows the city life as it was in this time period.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

115 Drama directed by W.S. Van Dyke with Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy, Jack Holt, Jessie Ralph, Ted Healy, Shirley Ross, Margaret Irving, Harold Huber, Edgar Kennedy, Al Shean.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 100% critic 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 221 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3.5* out of 4* user rating average 4.23* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed in San Francisco and Culver City, California.  Gable and MacDonald did not get along and they avoided each other off set.  Gable didn’t want to make this film but MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer had just paid off one of Gable’s numerous girlfriends.  MacDonald chose Spencer Tracy for his role.  D.W. Griffith directed several scenes.  Many of the opera gowns were used for Glinda in the Wizard of Oz of 1939.   Jeanette MacDonald wears a dress when she sings the song Would You, this dress was re-worn by Judy Garland in the film For Me and My Gal of 1942.

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