Vertigo has not only been my favorite Hitchcock title, but also one of my favorite films period–and that love only deepened once I moved to the Bay Area.  I remember running the projection booth for the 70mm restoration print we screened when I was manager at the AMC Kabuki over two decades ago, and I never get tired of screening the film, though it is always emotionally exhausting and not the lark that so many of Hitch’s more playful films are.

There are so many locations in Vertigo that anyone would naturally cross paths with while exploring the city or giving some visitors a tour of San Francisco, thus, it was natural fit for the film to be one of my first SF Movie Walks.

This walk (from the Mission up to Lombard) is about seven miles and what I’ve learned is that if you go in the opposite direction, it’s an easier walk downhill all the way to Mission Dolores.  Because I like going early in the morning, ending the walk at the church also means the graveyard will be open by the time you arrive, and it’s worth going in even though there’s no Carlotta Valdes headstone to be found.

However, if you’re feeling very adventurous, you can hit three more major locations if you go west from Scottie’s house:  The Palace of Fine Arts, Fort Point, and the Legion of Honor.

This adds an additional seven miles to your walk or can comprise a Part 2 of a two-day trek (my preference).

And, of course, for the Vertigo completists, check out:

  • Mission San Juan Batista (spoiler–the mission has no tower; that was a matte painting in the film)
  • Cypress Point on the Monterey peninsula
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park (though Muir Woods can act as a substitute because there’s also a massive tree cross-section cut there in the grandeur of the redwoods)

All are well worth the effort. I’d also like to recognize the terrific website which has meticulously thorough rundowns of lots of SF movie locations and an invaluable resource when I prepare my walks.  Check it out!

Enjoy and see you at the next installment.

– Sterling Hedgpeth
Programming Manager, Mill Valley Film Festival and Doclands Documentary Film Festival