Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mission Dolores

This morning, I took the streetcar to Church Street and walked to the Mision San Francisco de Asis, commonly known as Mission Dolores. The Mission was built in 1791 by Franciscan monks seeking to bring the word of Christ to the native peoples who lived in what is now San Francisco. Its adobe walls, which are over four feet thick, survived the 1906 earthquake.

The interior of the Mission has an incredible Baroque altar. The patterned ceiling was designed and painted by Native Americans who converted to Christianity.

A small spiral staircase stands at the back of the church. The wood is obviously hand-hewn.

Mission Dolores was one of the San Francisco locations featured in Vertigo. However, a tour guide told me that Hitchcock shot footage at Mission Dolores and at another mission and then combined the two; for example, the film depicts Kim Novak entering the church and then exiting right to go to the adjacent cemetery, but the cemetery at Mission Dolores sits to the left of the Mission itself.

Given the place's history and function and the hush that pervades the place, I was at first a bit hesitant to ask questions about Vertigo; however, I eventually decided that if it was okay to film Vertigo at the Mission, it was certainly okay to ask questions about the filming.

No comments: