Thursday, August 19, 2010

Noir and San Francisco

The Rap Sheet asked author Kelli Stanley to name her Top Ten Movies set in San Francisco. She came up with an amazing list and I agree with most of it, though my favorite is-

Not what would you expect for such die-hard Hammett fan, right? You would've guessed I would have chosen "The Thin Man" or "The Maltese Falcon." Well, neither has as many exterior shots of my favorite city in the world, as "Dark Passage."

And neither film had Lauren. Both "Dark" and "Falcon" had Bogart, though "Maltese" had the better Bogie performance. I am not, nor will I ever be a Mary Astor Fan, and as great as John Huston was, I prefer shot-for-shot, Delmer Daves direction. Before you get angry, I said I "prefer," as in it's a personal preference. Put the lead bird down.

The Rap Sheet also has a Top Ten Books Set In San Francisco List by Janet Rudolph, and J. Kingston finishes it up with the Top Ten TV Series.


Bukowski's Basement said...

I guess you couldn't count 'Basic Instinct' ... Maybe you could... It's more sexual thriller than noir.

Alan Griffiths said...

Good post Cormac, you know your stuff.

I had a holiday a few years back in SF and had a fantastic time. A beautiful city, with so many iconic views and places to visit.

The Dirty Harry movies always bring that holiday back to me; there is just something about Clint and SF.

Kind regards.

Cormac Brown said...


Ezterhaus's "Jagged Edge" was more noir than "Basic." Film snobbery aside, if the sexuality of "Instinct" wasn't so overt, I wonder how many people would count as a neo-noir?

Cormac Brown said...


Though they didn't work on every level (Jim Carrey as a would-be Axl Rose and the miscast of the otherwise brilliant Liam Neeson in "The Deadpool," still pisses me off), I loved everyone of The Dirty Harry series.

From a scenic point of view, you have to go with "Bullitt" or "What's Up Doc?" because they unintentionally covered the entire city in an effort to get perfect shots. "Bullitt" in particular, goes some nine miles in one transition!

Alan Griffiths said...

Yes all good shouts Cormac; Bullitt, if my memory serves me correct has that fantastic car chase scene?

As for Dirty Harry, for me the first film was the best.

Cormac Brown said...


The car chase in particular and the info on the various locations, stitched together to make it look like one neighborhood.

Randal Graves said...

That list sucks. No Goodtime Slim, Uncle Doobie, and the Great Frisco Freakout? Seriously?

Paul D. Brazill said...

Top post.Always wanted to go to SF Love the make over, BTW!

Cormac Brown said...


I want the time I wasted looking up your little Troy McClure "film" on the IMDB, back!

Paulie Decibels,

Thanks, and it won't be the last. I was happier with the surfer because it loaded faster than my other choices, but I didn't like the color schemes.

BTW, congratulations on you and Matt Hilton being accepted into that best writers in the UK anthology! It is well deserved and Ian Rankin has some outstanding company with you two being published along with him!

Alan Griffiths said...

Thanks so much for those links Cormac, you are a gent; they stirred a memory - pop over to Brit Grit and have a gander.

David Barber said...

Great post Mr B and the extra's are great too. SF is certainly on our list of places to visit some time soon. For me the the places and the wife the seafood down on Fisherman's Wharf (Is that right?) although I won't say no to the seafood and wine.

Thanks for the info and extra links, mate. Enjoyed it!

Cormac Brown said...


You're welcome. Wow, that "Brannigan" clip has got me going, thanks much!


You're welcome, and I'm glad that you dug them.

Yeah, Fisherman's Wharf? Tourist trap central, except for; the sights, the crab cocktails and Scoma's.

David Barber said...

Scoma's looks great. If we get there one day, dinner will be on me. Have a great weekend, mate.

sunshine said...

Yikes! Can you believe that I haven't seen any of those movies???

I've seen bits and pieces of a few of them, but, never the whole movies.


Cormac Brown said...

David,, changed your avatar, there. You've been working a bit too hard there, mate. Speaking of working hard, if you want to spring for a trip for the family to S.F, plus a dinner at Scoma's for seven? That will take a lot of tiling, man. A whole lot of tiling.

A free meal, though? I'm game, if you are. You have a good weekend too.


You've only seen pieces? Well, that certainly explains why Canadians are impossibly polite, you only get to see edited crime films.
; )