A Montana cattleman comes to scoff at the pre-earthquake Barbary Coast of San Francisco and stays to like it; a ‘gentleman’ gambler runs the most successful joint in the district until the guy from the tall grass decides to take over; and the gambler’s singer-sweetheart is also the toast of the town’s haut monde.
Through dialog, songs and music that’s distinguished chiefly for the fact that it sounds like 1945 instead of 1906, the story winds a tortuous path until the earthquake breaks things up. But there is never any suspense in the piece, there is no juxtaposition of characters, no inner logic. One is conscious constantly of the dragging proceedings.
John Wayne handles imself very well in the role of the man from the plains. Ann Dvorak not only sings well but looks and acts the part of the nitery queen, Joseph Schildkraut as the gambler is socko.
1945: Nominations: Best Scoring of a Dramatic Picture, Sound