based on the April 18, 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The film, which was the top grossing movie of that year, stars Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy. The then very popular singing of MacDonald helped make this film a hit, coming on the heels of her other 1936 blockbuster, Rose Marie. The Internet Movie Database reports that famous silent film directors D. W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim contributed to the screenplay without screen credit. Griffith also helped direct the famous earthquake sequence.
The earthquake montage sequence was created by montage expert Slavko Vorkapich. The Barbary Coast barroom set was built on a special platform that rocked and shook to simulate the historical temblor. (Similar sets were built for the 1974 disaster film Earthquake.)
There are two versions of the ending. The original release features a stylish montage of then-current (1936) scenes of a bustling San Francisco, including Market Street and the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. When the film was re-released in 1948, it was thought these scenes were dated and the film fades out on a single long shot of the modern business district. However, the TV and 16mm versions of the film seen in the 1950s and 60s were struck from the original version which includes the montage.