Odes to San Francisco (films)

Cliff HouseHere at the Archive we’re rather partial to San Francisco: When we manage to tear ourselves from our computers, we can walk out our back door and find views of the Golden Gate. The Archive has a ton of films that feature “The City That Knows How”: Here’s a brief tour through time which highlights a few:

  • Crowds at Ocean Beach, 1900
    This brief glimpse, with the Cliff House hanging in the background, feels like seeing a living 19th century painting. They sure are wearing a lot of clothes!
  • San Francisco Earthquake Aftermath, 1906
    This ghostly footage of destruction is eerily disturbing. An early cable car can be seen.
  • San Francisco by the Golden Gate, 1932
    This film skips terribly but is worth watching. When the narrator speaks of the Golden Gate and shows an aerial shot, there is no bridge! And the wind mill in Golden Gate Park is actually operating.
  • Brooklyn Goes to San Francisco, 1947
    Phil Foster narrates this tourist’s view of San Francisco that visits China Town, the Barbary Coast, and the Golden Gate Bridge. A favorite quote: It’s “the only town that goes in six directions: North, South, East, West, up, down”. You can see riders actually pushing the cable cars.
  • Touring San Francisco, 2006
    Yeah, this was chosen for the cheesy song, and because it provides a current view of the city.
— Renata