Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

San Francisco (1936)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

San Francisco (1936)

In director W.S. Van Dyke's dramatic disaster film:

  • the stunningly realistic 20-minute earthquake and fire sequence, with spectacular special effects (including the splitting apart of the earth and the fiery aftermath)
  • Blackie Norton's (Clark Gable) and Father Tim Mullin's (Spencer Tracy) discovery of Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald) on a hillside singing "Nearer My God to Thee"
  • Blackie's confession of thanks to God on his knees and his reunion with Mary as she sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the throngs of people
  • the final scene (after "the fire's out") in which crowds gathered on a hill to look down on the devastated city
  • the dissolve from the ruined city to a view of the reconstructed city with the reprised sound of the title song: "San Francisco"


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