A familiar period musical set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco during the heyday of the Barbary Coast. Raft is the well-respected proprietor of the Gold Coast Saloon who enjoys a hearty business, a steady stream of likable clients, and a promising relationship with the club's star
singer, Blaine. His life takes a turn when he meets a teenage girl, Garner, who's come to San Francisco from Ireland in search of her uncle. The helpless lass' innocent face fills with tears when Raft informs her that her uncle has died. Not knowing what else to do, Raft extends his generosity to
Garner and invites her to stay with him. It is through Garner that Raft meets Bennett, an aggressive and flashy lady from snobbish, upper-class Nob Hill. Raft represses the attraction he feels for Bennett by trying to convince himself of the differences between them. "The Hill and the Coast are
like champagne and beer," he states, "They don't mix." Bennett eventually invites Raft to dinner and daringly plants a kiss on the surprised saloonkeeper. A marriage proposal follows, as does the severing of the relationship between Raft and Blaine. As expected, Raft grows disillusioned with the
insincere ways of Bennett, and the dishonest political scheming of her brother, who is making an election bid to be the city's district attorney. Bennett dumps Raft, and Raft hits the bottle when he discovers that Blaine wants nothing to do with him. It takes matchmaker Garner to reunite the two.
Assuming that three is a crowd, Garner plans to leave the lovers, but the finale has Raft and Blaine taking the young lass with them.
A reworking of two Alice Faye vehicles, HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO (1943) and KING OF BURLESQUE (1935), NOB HILL offers a standard serving of entertaining, if cliche, scenes which are thankfully injected with a lively dose of music. Originally intended as a vehicle for Fred MacMurray and Lynn Bari, NOB
HILL went over just as well with Raft and Bennett, especially with the addition of Garner to the cast list. Given a special Academy Award in 1945 as the "outstanding child performer of the year" (not for this film, but for her stunning performance in A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN), Garner is a fresh
shot in the arm for the somewhat stale script. The film includes a number of tunes penned by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson, including three highlights delivered by Blaine"I Walked In," "I Don't Care Who Knows It," and "Touring San Francisco." Other songs include "Paris of the U.S.A." (McHugh,
Adamson), "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" (Howard Johnson, Joseph McCarthy, James V. Monaco), "San Francisco" (Gus Kahn, Bronislau Kaper, Walter Jurmann), "On San Francisco Bay" (Vincent Bryan, Gertrude Hoffman), "King Chanticleer (Texas Tommy)" (Nat D. Ayer), "Chinatown, My
Chinatown" (William Jerome, Jean Schwartz), and "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra" (James Royce Shannon).
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- Review: A familiar period musical set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco during the heyday of the Barbary Coast. Raft is the well-respected proprietor of the Gold Coast Saloon who enjoys a hearty business, a steady stream of likable clients, and a promising rela… (more)