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Arts & Entertainment

Best San Francisco Movie 


San Francisco's pastel charms and mysterious, fog-shrouded ambience have attracted filmmakers for generations, even before Erich von Stroheim shot Greed here in 1922, but few movies have captured the city's wraithlike spirit and impassive beauty as well as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. A retired detective with a dizzying fear of heights becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman who is herself obsessed with the past: her spiritual forebear, a contessa who met a tragic end in San Francisco a century earlier. Splendid VistaVision glimpses of 1958 S.F. (lovingly photographed by Robert Burks) include Mission Dolores, Fort Point, Union Square, the Brocklebank Apartments, the Palace of Fine Arts, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the late great Ernie's, where James Stewart first lays eyes on the ethereal Kim Novak, a black-and-white creature surrounded by Technicolor. The story and its theme of restless, invasive phantoms are played out against the backdrop of hilly, vertiginous San Francisco, a city where sun-drenched graveyards, ancient redwoods, and troubled memories wreak havoc upon the living.

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