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Arts & Entertainment

Best San Francisco Movie 

Bullitt (1968)

For anyone whose first exposure to San Francisco was during the 1960s, Bullitt is irresistibly evocative. Steve McQueen, the coolest star of the decade, plays a maverick cop who bucks the system, favors paisley pajamas, and resides in a mod one-bedroom apartment at Taylor and Clay. (His girlfriend is miniskirted Jacqueline Bisset, an import, obviously, from swinging London.) At the film's center is the Chase Scene, a still-unmatched dazzler in which McQueen and his Mustang pursue their quarry up and over Russian Hill at breakneck speed. The vintage glimpses of our fair city a few months past the Summer of Love are equally bewitching, however: Enrico's when it still had something to do with the great Banducci of the title; Coffee Cantata, a hip enclave of flutists, bass players, and pinot noir; the extant corner grocery where McQueen stocks up on his TV dinners; and the old Lawrence Halprin Associates building at the base of Telegraph Hill, where McQueen examines a model of the upcoming Vaillancourt Fountain (Bisset's murmured "Ugly, isn't it?" drew a roar of approval at a recent Castro Theater revival). With its goofy camera angles, flashy editing, garish sideburns, and moody jazz score, this is one hip celluloid time capsule.


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