San Francisco in Cinema: Daddy's Gone A-Hunting

Mark Hopkins Hotel seen from Grace Cathedral
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting isn't one of the most famous "San Francisco movies," but it should be. The taught 1969 Mark Robson thriller starts as a love story then turns into a fatal attraction after illustrator Cathy Palmer (Carol White) aborts the child of former lover Kenneth Daly (Scott Hylands). While there are a number of films in which the City becomes more than just a backdrop and is elevated to the level of a character in the story, Daddy's Gone A-Hunting is one of the best examples. From the Top of the Mark, the Hylands character announces, "Prediction: The first step in Cathy's climb will be... there!" He points to One Maritime Plaza, where Cathy soon takes a job with an advertising agency. When Cathy marries Jack Byrnes, a prominent citizen played by Paul Burke, at Grace Cathedral, she is haunted by memories of the Mark Hopkins a block away. It is a rare film that makes use of City landmarks while integrating the relationships between the buildings in the plot line. In addition, Robson creates startlingly artistic images of unexpected locations, particularly One Maritime Plaza and the ground level of the Golden Gateway Apartments, which stands in for the street level of One Maritime. The look-and-feel of the picture, characterized by brightness and color saturation, is similar to Robson's 1967 camp classic Valley of the Dolls. The Vertigo-esque climax of Daddy's Gone A-Hunting is unforgettable, as Cathy and Kenneth return to the Top of the Mark for a final confrontation. Also seen are the City of Paris department store, call booth at California and Powell, San Francisco International Airport, Bay Bridge, Palace Hotel garden court, cityscapes, an unfinished Bank of America Building, and many other recognizable sites. One of Mister SF's favorites.

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