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4.5 out of 5 stars23
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 30 August 2015
I liked this film very much.
The setting is the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, and the arrarently rather wild and lawless life on the Barbary Coast there at the time. The story centers round an exceptionally talented soprano ( Jeanette McDonald), a disreputable club called "The Paradise" owned by Blackie Norton ( Clark Gable) and the Opera "The Tivoli", where the powerful jack Burleigh has interests. The two are both interested in the beautiful soprano, Mary Blake ( Jeanette MacDonald.
Consequently, there is a lot of singing in the film, both operatic and otherwise, but it is not a musical.
I am quite surprised that the sound is so good, considering the age of the film - 1936.
I had no idea that Jeanette MacDonalds voice was as good as that, and that she actually sang opera and was so influential as a singer. I have never seen any of her films before, and I think she is charming on the screen. Clark Gable is - well, he was called the king of Hollywood for a reason. Spencer Tracy is excellent as the priest, and the chemistry between the characters is very good. I will include Jessie Ralph - she had a small role as Mrs. Burleigh, and delivers a memorable interpretation of the rôle.
I am glad i bought this DVD, .
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 September 2011
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) presents "SAN FRANCISCO" (1936) (115 min/B&W) -- Starring: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Holt, Jessie Ralph & Ted Healy

Directed by W.S. Van Dyke

The story begins on the Barbary Coast on New Year's Eve, 1906, as rakish but likable political boss Blackie Norton (Clark Gable) hires demure young singer Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald) to perform at his rowdy Paradise gambling house. Local priest Father Mullin (Spencer Tracy), Blackie's best friend, disapproves of the exploitation of the lovely Mary, feeling that she's suited for classier surroundings. Jack Hurley (Jack Holt), Nob Hill socialite and Blackie's political rival, agrees with Father Mullin and offers the girl the opportunity to sing with the San Francisco Opera. Blackie, who's fallen in love with Mary but won't admit it to himself, jealously holds on to her contract, forcing Mary to walk out on him.

For the rest of the film, Mary is torn between the "respectable" lifestyle offered her by Hurley and the baser creature comforts provided by Blackie. It looks for a while that Hurley has won out, but fate takes a hand in the form of the devastating San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906 (a special effects tour de force for art directors Arnold Gillespie and his uncredited associate James Basevi).

One of MGM's biggest hits, remaining in almost constant reissue for the next three decades.

Oscar Winner for Best Sound. Oscar Nominated for Best Picture, Actor (Spencer Tracy), Director, Assistant Director & Writing.

An astounding achievement in special effects for its time.

This is the first pairing of those two "mega-stars": Clark Gable & Spencer Tracy. They were to appear together on two further occasions - Test Pilot (1938) & Boom Town (1940)

BIOS:
1. W.S. Van Dyke (Director)
Date of Birth: 21 March 1889 - San Diego, California
Date of Death: 5 February 1943 - Brentwood, California

2. Clark Gable
Date of birth: 1 February 1901 - Cadiz, Ohio,
Date of death: 16 November 1960 - Los Angeles, California

3. Spencer Tracy (aka: Spencer Bonaventure Tracy)
Date of birth: 5 April 1900 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
Date of death: 10 June 1967 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

4, Jeanette MacDonald
Date of Birth: 18 June 1903 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 14 January 1965 - Houston, Texas

5. Jack Holt [aka: Charles John Holt]
Date of Birth: 31 May 1888 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 18 January 1951 - Sawtelle, Los Angeles, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 115 min on DVD ~ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) ~ (June 20, 2006)
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on 24 September 2014
Excellent print of 1936 film very interesting story and special effects of earthquake are superb for date of film. Gable at his best
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on 21 October 2001
Must have been one of the first great disaster movies. Great preformance from Clarke Gable playing the rouge and his friend the Priest played by Spencer Tracey. The movie centres around the disater of the earth quake that did hit the city in the early 1900s however the build up to the event is brillent and the special effects and footage of the quake as good as anything you would view today. I recommend this movie to all who love a film with a good plot and plenty of action.
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on 11 May 2016
I first saw this film on TV in the USA when I lived in the San Francisco area I loved it then and I still love it. It is an uplifting story Clark Gable at his glamourous best .When you consider it was made in around 1936 the Earthquake scenes can hold there own with today.The ending of the film with the earthquake and Jeanette McDonalds wonderful singing left me in tears, in a good way. I would recommend it.
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on 11 February 2011
enjoyed this dvd, was very good to watch clark gable again, the fire was great to see again, this dvd is one of the better older films i love it.
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on 27 February 2014
I hadn’t seen this Clark Gable film for a long time and I have visited San Francisco on two occasions and fancied seeing it again! This American DVD is available from Amazon and despite the description of being Region 1 it is definitely Region Free, I have tested it on two Region 2 machines without any problem. For a film of this age the quality is good as is the story and the non -CGI earthquake is surprisingly effective for a pre-war film. What really makes it, is the extras, a documentary profile, ‘Clark Gable: Tall Dark & Handsome’, and includes coverage of how devastated he was over the death of his lovely wife Carol Lombard in a plane crash, just after she had finished the filming of ‘To Be or Not to Be’. Also two vintages Fitzpatrick Travel shorts featuring San Francisco, plus the classic Cartoon ‘Bubbles’ plus the film’s trailer.
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on 4 July 2013
nice film, took some time to come from America! got it for my naghbour who was trying to get it here in uk no luck!! and thats why people look to pirating! pull your finger out hollwood!
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on 6 February 2014
Itis a smahing film.My son bought it for me for christmas.I have sentimental reasons for loving it,but i do like Clark Gable!!
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on 18 September 2015
A stunning Movie, And Jeanette McDonalds voice is utterly superb.
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