For those who don't know me yet, I have a home, and it's in Michigan. However, I also have a "second home" which is thankfully not in Michigan. While I can't afford a real house there, the second home of my heart is San Francisco.
My son attends college there, and he loves it. (Who wouldn't?) I visit him several times a year, and even if he didn't live there, I'd still go and I'd still carry on this love affair. In fact, in the last couple of years it has become increasingly difficult for me to leave.
In between trips, I keep my "homesickness" at bay by watching movies set in San Francisco. In fact, I've become quite the aficionado of San Francisco celluloid.
It's not just the recent movie releases like The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) and Zodiac (2007) that are set and filmed in San Francisco. The sheer number of movies set in the Fog City is staggering. Since I love the city so much, I enjoy watching these movies and trying to place some of the local attractions. Here are some of my favorite movies which are San Francisco-based.
The Birds (1963) – Alfred Hitchcock’s famous thriller stars Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor. The opening street scenes are on San Francisco’s busy streets. The rest of the movie takes place in Bodega Bay, about an hour's drive north of the city. You can still visit the Brenner farmhouse, although the Tides Restaurant is completely redone and almost unrecognizable. The Potter Schoolhouse, now a private residence, is located in Bodega, about five miles away from the bay.
Vertigo (1958) – Another Hitchcock classic, this one stars James Stewart and Kim Novak. This movie gem almost completely takes place in San Francisco. Landmarks include the Legion of Honor and the Mission at Saint Delores. In addition to Stewart fishing Kim Novak from the Bay just under the Golden Gate Bridge, there’s also a great scene filmed in the redwood forest of Muir Woods.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) – Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy star. Considered cutting edge at the time, this film broached the problems regarding a mixed racial relationship. Not many San Francisco scenes, but enough to keep me interested. Spencer Tracy crashes his car into a roadster while trying to exit Mel’s Drive Inn. The drive inn is still operational.