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FILM: Jim Van Buskirk explores San Francisco on the Big Screen featuring San Francisco on the Silver Screen (06-04), Hollywood Shakes San Francisco (06-11), The Golden Gate Bridge on the Silver Screen (06-18), Alcatraz on the Silver Screen (06-25).

Cinematic San Francisco: Hollywood Shakes San Francisco

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Date(s) - 06/11/2024
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

San Francisco Main Library


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Jim Van Buskirk, a retired SFPL librarian, major movie buff, and public speaker, is the co-author of Celluloid San Francisco: The Film Lover’s Guide to Bay Area Movie Locations as well as other books, articles, blogs and radio broadcasts on San Francisco and film history.

The 1906 earthquake and fire is the single most important event in San Francisco’s colorful history. View clips from a number of Hollywood films — some favorites and others unfamiliar — recreating the event. On Wednesday, April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m. the earth shook, buildings collapsed, fires raged and the history of San Francisco was changed forever. Thrill to depictions of the devastation as Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Bette Davis, and other stars dodge falling bricks and chandeliers, searching for beloved survivors.In addition to contemporary newsreel footage, the program includes the recently rediscovered silent When The Earth Trembled (1913), Frisco Jenny (1932), San Francisco (1936), The Sisters (1938), and more. Through early special effects and masterful film editing, the cataclysmic event becomes a plot point in many feature films.

This four-part series, hosted every Tuesday night in June, celebrates San Francisco’s important role in the movies. These lively clip-filled programs are engaging, entertaining and educational. Beginning with a general overview of Bay Area in films and television, narrowing the focus to representations of the 1906 earthquake, before traversing the Golden Gate Bridge, and finally landing on Alcatraz.

Presented by San Francisco Public Library