World Film Locations: San Francisco (Book)

An extraordinarily beautiful city that has been celebrated, criticised and studied in many films, San Francisco is both fragile and robust, at once a site of devastation caused by 1906 earthquake but also a symbol of indomitability in its effort to rebuild afterwards. Its beauty, both natural and manmade, has provided filmmakers with an iconic backdrop since the 1890s, and this guidebook offers an exciting tour through the film scenes and film locations that have made San Francisco irresistible to audiences and auteurs alike.

Category: Film Studies

Edition

An extraordinarily beautiful city that has been celebrated, criticised and studied in many films, San Francisco is both fragile and robust, at once a site of devastation caused by 1906 earthquake but also a symbol of indomitability in its effort to rebuild afterwards. Its beauty, both natural and manmade, has provided filmmakers with an iconic backdrop since the 1890s, and this guidebook offers an exciting tour through the film scenes and film locations that have made San Francisco irresistible to audiences and auteurs alike.
 
Gathering more than forty short pieces on specific scenes from San Franciscan films, this book includes essays on topics that dominate the history of filmmaking in the city, from depictions of the Golden Gate Bridge, to the movies of Alfred Hitchcock, to the car chases that seem to be mandatory features of any thriller shot there. Some of America’s most famous movies – from Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark to Hitchcock’s Vertigo to Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry – are celebrated alongside smaller movies and documentaries, such as The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, to paint a complete picture of San Francisco in film. A range of expert contributors, including several members of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, discuss a range of films from many genres and decades, from nineteenth-century silents to twentieth-century blockbusters.

Audiences across the world, as well as many of the world’s greatest film directors – including Buster Keaton, Orson Welles, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh – have been seduced by San Francisco. This book is the ideal escape to the city by the bay for arm chair travellers and cinephiles alike.

Scott Jordan Harris is a culture critic for the Daily Telegraph, a contributor to the BBC's The Film Programme and a UK correspondent for Roger Ebert. He is the author of several books, most recently, World Film Locations: Chicago, also published by Intellect.

Maps/Scenes

Scenes 1–8 – 1898–1947

Scenes 9–16 – 1951–1963

Scenes 17–24 – 1967–1974

Scenes 25–32 – 1974–1984

Scenes 33–39 – 1986–1995

Scenes 40–46 – 1996–2011

Essays

San Francisco: City of the Imagination – Omar Moore

The Golden Gate Bridge: Gateway, Escape Route and Battleground – Neil Mitchell

City of Shadows: A Brief History of Film Noir in San Francisco – Brian Darr

Alfred Hitchcock Presents San Francisco: The Master and the City by the Bay – Craig Phillips

Faster Than A Speeding Bullitt: San Franciscan Cinema's Famous Car Chases – Mel Valentin

Callahan's City: Dirty Harry and the Mean Streets of San Francisco – Elisabeth Rappe

Midnight Mission: Queer Culture and Midnight Movies in San Francisco – Jason LeRoy

'As well as brief, illustrated pieces on the films and locations, each usefully plotted on a map, there are seven longer essays on themes such as queer culture, noir, and Alfred Hitchcock's San Francisco. A great guide to the celluloid city.'

PD Smith, The Guardian

'Scott Jordan Harris's book made me fall even deeper in love with both movies and San Francisco. When I first arrived in The Bay Area I saw every inch as a movie location, and that has never changed. The city infects you with a cinematographers eye, shooting imaginary movies with a magnificent back drop up on every corner and hill top. Thankfully, Harris has provided us with a marvelous guided tour of the inspiration many masters and lesser-known film-makers minded from Fog City, taking our journey forward with a thoughtful analysis of the past.'

Ted Hope, Executive Director, San Francisco Film Society
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