A Film-set City
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The first sequences of The Maltese Falcon 1941) take place in the office of Humphrey Bogart, who observes the city from his window. Years later, Alfred Hitchcock used the cinematic beauty of San Francisco for the setting of Vertigo (1958): from Fort Point, Kim Novak throws herself into the water to end her life, although she is rescued at the last moment by James Stewart. In Bullitt (1968), Steve McQueen shows us the city at high speed from behind the wheel of his Ford Mustang GT. The only place they could not obtain a license to film was the Golden Gate Bridge. Alcatraz Prison has also been the setting of several films: The Rock (1996), starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, tells of the rescue of hostages on the island; and Escape from Alcatraz (1979) recreates the escape made by the Anglin brothers and Frank Morris. This last film starred Clint Eastwood, who years later would also film Dirty Harry (1971) in the California city.
In the 1990s, San Francisco soared in popularity as an intriguing setting for celluloid, with legendary films like Basic Instinct (1992), which tells of a torrid romance between Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas, who also starred in The Game (1997) also shot here, along with Sean Penn who, in turn, portrayed gay politician Harvey Milk in Milk (2008), filmed entirely in San Francisco. The shop where Milk opened his photographic business in 1972 can still be visited, at 575 Castro Street. Castro Camera no longer exists, but a plaque in Milk’s honour appears on the façade of the Human Rights Campaign Store that takes its place.
Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine move into one of the traditional Victorian houses in Pacific Heights (1990), a thriller in which they encounter the tenant of nightmares, played by Michael Keaton. In another of these houses, Robin Williams was hired as the nanny in the unforgettable Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). The house is at 2640 Steiner Street, and fans left flowers on the steps when Williams died in 2014. In Interview with a Vampire (1994), Brad Pitt decides to tell his story to Christian Slater. The final and shocking scene takes place on the Golden Gate.
The city is partially destroyed in The Incredible Hulk (2003), just after Cameron Díaz ran up its steep streets in The Sweetest Thing (2002), the same ones that a young Anne Hathaway skateboarded down in The Princess Diaries (2001). One of the latest films to be shot in the city was Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), when the chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas wage a battle against the humans on the Golden Gate, to ultimately flee to Muir Woods and settle among its giant redwoods.