82 user 27 critic

San Francisco (1936)

Passed | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 26 June 1936 (USA)
2:09 | Trailer
A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario are rivals for the affections of a beautiful singer, both personally and professionally in 1906 San Francisco.


W.S. Van Dyke (uncredited)


Anita Loos (screen play), Robert E. Hopkins (from the story by) (as Robert Hopkins)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Clark Gable ... Blackie Norton
Jeanette MacDonald ... Mary Blake
Spencer Tracy ... Father Tim Mullin
Jack Holt ... Jack Burley
Jessie Ralph ... Mrs. Maisie Burley
Ted Healy ... Mat
Shirley Ross ... Trixie
Margaret Irving ... Della Bailey
Harold Huber ... 'Babe'
Edgar Kennedy ... Sheriff
Al Shean ... Professor
William Ricciardi ... Signor Baldini
Kenneth Harlan ... 'Chick'
Roger Imhof ... 'Alaska'
Charles Judels ... Tony (as Charles Judells)


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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Together For The First Time See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When he was awarded Best Sound Recording at the Academy Awards for this film, Douglas Shearer (brother of Norma Shearer) became the first person to win consecutive awards in the same category, after winning for Naughty Marietta (1935) the previous year. See more »


After the Earthquake, the driver of a Salvation Army wagon tells Blackie Norton that he is heading to "Daly City to get milk for the kiddies." Daly City was not incorporated until 1911. In 1906 it was called Vista Grande. See more »


[pointing at necklace]
Blackie Norton: Hey. I thought I told you not to wear that thing.
Trixie: Ah gee, honey, I think it's nice.
Blackie Norton: Yeah? Well I think it makes you look cheap!
[Rips it off of her]
Blackie Norton: Now don't wear it anymore. Blackie doesn't like it.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 did not open to traffic until 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. Also seen was a shot of Market Street, as it appeared in 1936, with 4 tracks of streetcars, the white front Market Street lines on the inside tracks, and the Muni lines on the outside tracks. Subsequent releases have omitted this original montage ending in favor of a dissolve into a freeze frame of the San Francisco skyline, as it appeared in 1948, the year of the film's first major re-release. The original montage of the rebuilt San Francisco is a special feature in the DVD release as an "Alternate Ending" sequence. See more »


Referenced in Quo Vadis (1951) See more »


Love Me and the World Is Mine
(1906) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Ball
Lyrics by Dave Reed Jr.
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
See more »

User Reviews

Love and Earthquake in the Sin City
22 October 2011 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

On 31 December 1905, a fire destroys a building at Barbary Coast in San Francisco and on the next day, the singer Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald) from Benson, Colorado, that lived in the burnt building looks for a job at the nightclub Paradise. The owner Blackie Norton (Clark Gable) is a ruthless but good man and hires Mary after asking her to show her legs. Blackie is also invited to run to the position of Supervisor of the Coast by his friends and acquaintances to protect the neighborhood.

When Blackie's competitor from Nob Hill, Jack Burley (Jack Holt), and his friend Maestro Baldini (William Ricciardi), hear Mary singing, Jack invites her to sing at his fancy Tivoli Opera House. However, Mary has a two-year contract signed with Blackie and is in love with him. But when the other artists from Paradise see her with Blackie and make malicious comments about her, she quits and goes to Tivoli. On her debut at the Tivoli, Blackie goes there with an authority to call off the concert. Blackie has an injunction against Jack Burley since Mary is still under contract with him. However, when he hears Mary singing the opera, he changes his mind and proposes her to get married with him.

Mary returns to the Paradise but when Blackie's friend Father Tim Mullin (Spencer Tracy) sees Mary exposing her legs, he does not allow her to go to the stage. Mary works at Tivoli and is proposed by Jack Burley to marry him. Meanwhile the powerful Jack Burley uses his influence with the Powers that Be to close the Paradise and arrest the performers. During a musical competition between the clubs, Mary Blake learns the truth and decides to help the Paradise with her presentation. However, it is 1906, the year of the major earthquake that struck San Francisco.

"San Francisco" is a wonderful film of love and earthquake in the sin city. I had no idea that this film was so good and this is the first time that I watch "San Francisco". The story is excellent, with charismatic and ambiguous characters, enjoyable songs sang by Jeanette MacDonald and stunning special effects, with a realistic and convincing earthquake. The very last scene is fantastic.

Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald show a magnificent chemistry and it is impressive the resemblance of the face of Madonna in the 80's with Jeanette MacDonald. I only regret that I had not seen this film before. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "San Francisco – A Cidade do Pecado" ("San Francisco" – The Sin City")

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Release Date:

26 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Cidade do Pecado See more »


Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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