A Valentine to San Francisco; as Vertigo Is Named Best Movie of All Time by the British Film Institute, Chris Higham Set out on a Hitchcock-Inspired Tour of San Francisco to Follow in the Footsteps of James Stewart and Kim Novak and Find the Filming Locations for This Most Famous of Pictures by the Master of Suspense
SAN Francisco is that most evocative of American cities - a place that gave birth to 1960s Flower Power and then went on to pioneer gay rights.
These movements have been the subject of memorable movies - most recently Milk where the colourful Castro neighbourhood was almost as much of a star as an Oscar-winning Sean Penn. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the years, hundreds of films have made movie-goers familiar with the great sights of San Francisco - and none more so than Vertigo, the 1957-Hitchcock classic that has just been voted best movie of all time.
What better excuse could there be for a film fan to plan a trip around San Francisco walking in the footsteps of the Master of Suspense? The fact of the matter is that San Francisco is the ideal city to cover on foot - always assuming that you wear sensible shoes and make liberal use of cable cars, streetcars and trams to avoid aching limbs.
True, the city is built on hills and any walk is likely to involve steep climbs, but that is part of the charm and along the way intrepid explorers will see some of the most interesting and diverse architecture to be found in any of the USA's major cities.
With the notable exception of Alcatraz, Vertigo 2012 it's this show, the tale of is such a love letter to San Francisco that virtually all of the city's main attractions are featured in the film.
However, a great place to start - and to stay - is at the Fairmont Hotel, which features prominently because it is next door to the Brocklebank Apartments, where Kim Novak's character Madeleine Elster lives.
Both are located on Nob Hill, San Fran's most celebrated hilltop where the glitterati of years gone by stayed in the plushest of luxury hotels. One of these, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, boasts the legendary 'Top of the Mark' penthouse bar, a great stop off for sunset views across the city - provided you don't suffer from vertigo!
From Nob Hill, the hub of the city's cable car network, you can hop onto the Powell-Hyde line and travel north to Russian Hill, one of the most attractive and unspoilt parts of the city - reputedly named after early Russian otter hunters buried there.
BEST KNOW IT Andrew Marr's History of the World |In its heart is the 'crookedest street in the world', the 1000 block of Lombard Street, where a series of eight switchback curves lead down from Hyde | PHEW! After the mammoth political commentator Andrew undertaken, you'd expect him to series wraps up tonight, but don't content with having brought us the world's very beginnings up to the describes the development of modern the present day. The broadcaster to Leavenworth Street. Downhill only, it is a daring zigzag drive taken, allegedly, by 750,000 cars every year. A better plan is to walk down steps that edge the brick-paved street and admire the smart apartments and their manicured gardens.
At the bottom of the hill a block away is the apartment of Scotty (James Stewart), a recurring location in Vertigo. From here it is an easy bus ride west to the Presidio, a lush area full of hiking trails, cycle paths and beaches. It also provides the access point to the Golden Gate Bridge, the city's most iconic landmark.
In the Presidio's eastern corner is the Palace of Fine Arts, sole survivor of the grand monuments built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, standing in a natural lagoon. In its centre is the beautiful neo-classical domed rotunda seen in Vertigo as Scotty follows Madeleine and witnesses her jump into San Francisco Bay from Fort Point.
These days the Palace of Fine Arts is home to the Explorium, described as the "best science museum in the world". …