Footsteps in the Fog

In about a week and a half, Patrick and I will be flying to San Francisco.  He will be attending a hackathon down in Palo Alto, while I stay in the heart of San Francisco to spend a weekend visiting many Hitchcock filming locations.  Recently I picked up this book, Footsteps in the Fog: Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco, which details the locations.

The book covers the filming locations of Hitchcock’s films that took place in the Bay area.  Including Santa Rosa for Shadow of a Doubt, San Francisco for Vertigo and The Birds, Bodega Bay for The Birds, along with various other northern California locations that were in several other films.  I have visited Bodega Bay before, including a visit to the infamous schoolhouse, as well as Mission San Juan Bautista, however I have never spent much time in San Francisco proper, mainly due to the fact my family lives in the LA area.

I plan for this book to by my guide as I spend the weekend in the city.  While I know that many locations have changed, if not been totally demolished over the years, I am still excited to walk in the footsteps of Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart.  One such location that is no longer standing is the Portman Mansion, which was the McKittrick Hotel in Vertigo, which is such a shame.  As you can see the building was quite magnificent.

One thing I found interesting while reading the book is that Hitchcock took many geographic liberties with his films.  Portraying certain places to be closer than they were, many places in The Birds were not as close as they appear in the film, and also his choice to reconstruct certain locations on a sound stage rather than film at the actual location, such as the ballroom in the Fairmont Hotel in Vertigo.  I highly recommend this book if you’re a Hitchcock fan and either live in the Bay area or plan on visiting.

I hope to take lots of pictures.  And while I despise looking like a tourist, I know I’ll have to give in and ask for my picture to be taken by a complete stranger, since Patrick will be unavailable.  Oh well.  And may visit the Walt Disney Museum located right along the Presidio, but Hitchcock is my top priority!

4 thoughts on “Footsteps in the Fog

  1. Sounds fantastic! I also highly recommend the Musee Mecanique at Pier 45 Fisherman’s Wharf — it’s full of antique arcade machines and other mechanical wonders, like you would find at old carnivals. It’s such a cool place!

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I’m looking forward to seeing your photos.

    I know what you mean about not liking to look like a tourist but sometimes there’s just not avoiding it. I tend to shy away from asking strangers to take my photo for me though and usually end up with poor selfies where my head takes up 3/4 of the shot. Haha!

  3. I grew up in the San Francisco area, and ‘the Birds’ was one of my mother’s favourite films, so of course we visited the schoolhouse from the famous crow scene. As I remember (it was a long time ago now), it was still really creepy. As you say, Hitchcock often took liberties with his locations, and made them appear more bustling and built up than they actually are. My mum found it hilarious how Santa Rosa was portrayed as a bustling little city in ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, when it really is a very small, sleepy town. It was also the same town used for much of ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’ by the Cohen Brothers (Now I sound like a toal film geek!)

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