Vertigo, 1958

Director

Alfred Hitchcock

Cast

visit the film locations

San Francisco

Flights: San Francisco International Airport

Tourist info: San Francisco tourism

Stay at: Hotel Vertigo, 940 Sutter Street (tel: 415.885.6800) between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets.

Visit: the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Legion of Honor Drive in Lincoln Park (admission charge; tel: 415.750.3659)

Visit: Mission Dolores, 320 Dolores Street at Sixteenth Street in the Mission District (BART Metro: 16th Street-Mission)

Visit: San Juan Bautista State Park, Second Street, between Washington and Mariposa Streets, San Juan Bautista, three miles east of Highway 101 (tel: 831.623.4881)

Visit: the Old Mission of San Juan Bautista, San Juan Bautista, 90 miles south of San Francisco, just east from Route 101.

Visit: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 21600 Big Basin Way – Route 236 – at Boulder Creek (tel: 408.338.6132) off Pacific Coast Highway 1, south of San Francisco toward Santa Cruz.


Trivia

Vertigo has been a major influence on many film-makers, particularly Brian De Palma, who makes references to it in Obsession and Raising Cain.

Paul Verhoeven borrows both the film’s style and its San Francisco location for Basic Instinct

Vertigo filming location: Mission Dolores, Dolores Street, San Francisco

Vertigo filming location: Madeleine visits the grave of Carlotta Valdes: Mission Dolores, Dolores Street, San Francisco

Madeleine continues to signpost her obsession by visiting the grave of Valdes. The tiny cemetery, in which the suicidal Carlotta supposedly rests – every bit as atmospheric as it appears in the movie – has its own share of buried secrets. You can find it behind the Mission Dolores, 320 Dolores Street at Sixteenth Street in the Mission District (BART Metro: 16th Street-Mission).

Vertigo filming location: Mission Dolores, Dolores Street, San Francisco

Vertigo filming location: Madeleine visits the grave of Carlotta Valdes: Mission Dolores, Dolores Street, San Francisco

Once you’ve seen the ornate exterior, you can forget the pompous basilica which was grafted on next door in 1913, the real interest here is the Misión San Francisco De Asis, completed in 1791.

One of the 21 Californian missions established by the Spanish in the 18th century and the oldest intact survivor, its four-foot thick adobe walls having withstood the worst assaults of San Andreas, the mission of St Francis of Assisi is not only the oldest building in San Francisco but gives the city its name.

Visit the cool, dark chapel interior with its unique Spanish-Mexican decoration and ceiling painting based on the designs of the Ramaytush people – dubbed Costanoans (“coast dwellers”) by the ‘kindly’ Spanish Franciscans who occupied their land, resettled them and oversaw their complete extinction. By 1850 there was only one Ramaytush left alive.

A small museum records sanitised highlights of the mission’s history – for a while in the 1840s and 1850s under Mexican rule it became a hotel and a gambling den, and bullfights were held on the plaza where Dolores Street now stands.

The museum exits into the cemetery itself. Don’t be fooled by the size. Over 5,500 of the native people are buried here in a common grave, commemorated by a single stone shrine. The grander monuments record the founding Father Palou, the city’s bigwigs and the, mainly Irish, immigrants who poured into the area after the Gold Rush.

Back northwest of the city is the granite sea wall beneath the southern anchoring of the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point, Marine Drive off Long Avenue, the spot where Madeleine takes a reckless plunge into the notoriously treacherous waters of the Bay. The site is named for the brick fort, built in the 1850s to defend the city from sea attack long before the bridge was conceived. It now houses a museum of militaria (tel: 415.556.1693).

You can see the interior of the fort in John Boorman’s 1967 classic Point Blank.

Vertigo filming location: 900 Lombard Street, and Coit Tower on the horizon, San Francisco

Vertigo filming location: Scottie's home: 900 Lombard Street, and Coit Tower on the horizon, San Francisco

Falling for the possessed woman act, Scottie rescues Madeleine and takes her back to his apartment. Scottie’s home stands, virtually unchanged, at 900 Lombard Street on the corner of Jones Street, just at the foot of the series of famous hairpin bends on the ‘Crookedest Street in the World’, which you'll recognise from films such as The Love Bug.

Sadly, after remaining unchanged for all these years, the owners of the Lombard Street house have seen fit to give it an extensive makeover. It no longer looks as it did in the film.

Looking east along Lombard Street you can’t miss Telegraph Hill, and crowning it, the Coit Memorial Tower, Telegraph Hill Boulevard, the landmark Madeleine later uses to find her way back to Scottie’s apartment.

The tower was built ‘to beautify San Francisco’ (like, this city is seriously in need of beautifying) with a bequest left to the city by Lillie Hitchcock Coit (no relation to Alfred), a Bay City pioneer woman apparently fascinated by firemen (as a girl she was made an honorary member of the Knickerbocker No.5 Fire Company). It’s claimed, presumably by people unfamiliar with the works of Freud, that the monument is intended to resemble a firehose nozzle.

If your ambition is to visit the top of a reinforced concrete tower perched on the summit of a steep hill in a notorious earthquake zone (so how could you resist?), you can take the elevator to a 210-foot observation deck, which does actually give wonderful views of the Bay (admission charge).

Page 1 / Page 2 / Page 3




Buy the DVD

Region 1

Region 2



Buy the book

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk