Monday, July 26, 2010

Tonight's Movie: The San Francisco Story (1952)

Fans of Joel McCrea and Yvonne DeCarlo will want to see THE SAN FRANCISCO STORY, a moderately entertaining Western set during the California Gold Rush.

The story, which finds miner Rick Nelson (McCrea) mixed up with vigilantes in lawless San Francisco, is fairly bland, but the film is distinguished by some sharp dialogue (by D.D. Beauchamp), a wry supporting performance by Richard Erdman as McCrea's sidekick, and Yvonne DeCarlo at her most exquisitely beautiful. Recognition also goes to Florence Bates for her rowdy performance as an eyepatch-wearing waterfront tavern owner who cheerfully shanghais sailors on the side. It's not a great movie, but if you like the cast it's worth the investment of time.

There are several other familiar faces in the film, including Onslow Stevens, Lane Chandler, and Robert Foulk. I thought I heard Emile Meyer's voice as a juror early in the film, although he doesn't show up in the credits.

DeCarlo's wardrobe was by Yvonne Wood, who also did her costumes for the highly entertaining BUCCANEER'S GIRL (1950) and several other films.

This film was directed by Robert Parrish (ASSIGNMENT - PARIS, SADDLE THE WIND). It was shot in black and white and runs 80 minutes.

This film was originally distributed by Warner Bros. and has apparently fallen into the public domain. It's available on DVD from Timeless Media Group. The DVD print is quite soft but is watchable. There are no extras.


Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Hi, Laura - Have you read Robert Parrish's autobiography GROWING UP IN HOLLYWOOD? From an Our Gang child actor to his work as an editor and director, he saw it all and tells it like it is but with great humor. In addition to making films together, Parrish and Joel McCrea were good friends and Parrish includes in his book a sweet and funny story about McCrea trying to instill his 4 year old son with a work ethic.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I haven't read that one! Thanks for the recommendation, I just bookmarked the Amazon page. I always like to hear good Joel McCrea anecdotes. :)

Best wishes,

8:50 PM  

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