In a fortuitous bit of timing, this Hitchcock Blogathon happens to be running the same week that I’ve been attending a conference in San Francisco, which was of course the setting of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films. In fact, I’ve been staying in a hotel seen in the movie. Since I had a free day before the conference to tool around town a bit, I decided to visit a few of the locations immortalized in ‘Vertigo’.
I started this walking tour with the best of intentions. I did some research online and made a list of spots in the city that appeared in the film and still exist today. Unfortunately, a variety of scheduling issues and other circumstances prevented me from hitting most of them. Perhaps chief among these was the fact that I severely underestimated how long it would take to get from one spot to another, especially when doing so involved hiking up some of the city’s notoriously steep hills. Lesson learned.
In any case, here’s the Brocklebank apartment building at 1000 Mason St. on Nob Hill, where Kim Novak’s character lived, as it appeared in the 1958 movie:
And here it is today:
The Fairmont hotel and the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental hotel are both just steps away from the Brocklebank, and can be seen in footage of the neighborhood. (Unfortunately, I don’t have good screen caps of either from the film.) The Mark Hopkins (which is where I’m staying) is home to the Top of the Mark restaurant lounge that James Stewart’s character Scottie mentions in dialogue.
The following is a then-and-now comparison of Scottie’s apartment at 900 Lombard Street:
Finally, we come to the Mission Dolores church, where Novak’s character visits the grave of Carlotta Valdes:
Yeah, I know, I missed a number of iconic locations from the film. If I’d planned this trip better, I could have made more effective use of my time. Perhaps this just leaves me with a good excuse to return to the city again to finish what I started.
My thanks to Adam Tyner from DVDTalk for taking the time to grab these screen shots from the ‘Vertigo’ DVD for me.
In association with the National Film Preservation Foundation, High-Def Digest is proud to join the 2012 Hitchcock Blogathon. During the week of May 14th to 18th, we will blog about topics related to the films and career of the legendary Sir Alfred Hitchcock. This year, the NFPF hopes to raise money to fund a new musical score and online streaming distribution for ‘The White Shadow’, an early silent film that young Mr. Hitchcock (then officially a writer and Assistant Director) used as a stepping stone to launch his own directorial career. To contribute, please visit the NFPF’s donations page.