Notes on the Port of St. Francis


About This Item

An impressionistic and evocative film from 1951 directed by Frank Stauffacher and narrated by Vincent Price, about San Francisco. Opens with the text of Walter de la Mare's poem 'An Epitaph': "Here lies a most beautiful lady:/Light of step and heart was she;/I think she was the most beautiful lady/That ever was in the West County." Price's narration consists of a series of excerpts from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1882 essay on San Francisco. Professor Scott MacDonald has written online about Stauffacher's film and the summary below is quoted directly from his work: "The opening section provides a rough overview of the history of San Francisco. The remaining sections focus on, respectively: people negotiating the city's hills via cable car, automobile, and go-cart; the speed of the city's development; the general mixture of ethnic groups and types of people; the Italian-Americans and Fisherman's Wharf; the Chinese-Americans and China- town; the fog; and finally, the city's diverse neighborhoods, a section that leads to the concluding idea of San Francisco as a "City of Contrasts." The TV Archive would like to thank Barbara Solomon - author and Frank Stauffacher's ex wife - for granting us permission to stream this film online. It was remastered from San Francisco State University's 16mm, optical sound film print.

Originally aired on
Privately produced & owned
Date aired
Recording medium
16mm b&w, optical sound film
Rights for this video belong to
Barbara Solomon
Type of material
special feature
AT 3507