The San Francisco Story (1952)

80 mins | Romance, Western | 17 May 1952

Director:

Robert Parrish

Writer:

D. D. Beauchamp

Producer:

Howard Welsch

Cinematographer:

John F. Seitz

Production Designer:

George Jenkins

Production Company:

Fidelity-Vogue Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

As depicted in the film, when the weak San Francisco city government was unable to suppress outlaw organizations terrorizing the city during the mid-1800s, some citizens, including many who held high positions, formed Committees of Vigilance, which seized and punished prisoners, usually after trying them. Although the San Francisco Vigilantes were reported to have acted with relative restraint, similar groups that formed throughout the West were common lynch mobs. Despite the efforts of the Vigilantes, San Francisco repeatedly returned to the condition of corruption and crime that gave the city its notorious reputation. In 1856, a "Law and Order" faction was formed by respectable citizens who disapproved of the Vigilantes' methods.
       Oct and Nov 1951 HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Ted Adams, Marie Bodee, Roy Canada, Henry Cording, Desser Dean, LeRoy Johnson, Frank Losee, John Monohan, Bob Morgan, Gloria Noble, Joel Ray, Wally Rose, Frosty Royce, Dave Sharpe, Mickey Simpson, Joe Wall and Martin Wilkins. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The portrait of Yvonne DeCarlo seen in the film was painted by Audubon Tyler, a Los Angles County Art Institute teacher and grandson of John James Audubon, the famous painter of birds. An Oct 1951 Var news item announced that, with The San Francisco Story , Fidelity Pictures was launching a $5,000,000 program to produce a new picture every eight weeks for Warner Bros. release. However, the other five properties lined up by Fidelity were not produced and subsequent Fidelity films were not released by Warner ... More Less

As depicted in the film, when the weak San Francisco city government was unable to suppress outlaw organizations terrorizing the city during the mid-1800s, some citizens, including many who held high positions, formed Committees of Vigilance, which seized and punished prisoners, usually after trying them. Although the San Francisco Vigilantes were reported to have acted with relative restraint, similar groups that formed throughout the West were common lynch mobs. Despite the efforts of the Vigilantes, San Francisco repeatedly returned to the condition of corruption and crime that gave the city its notorious reputation. In 1856, a "Law and Order" faction was formed by respectable citizens who disapproved of the Vigilantes' methods.
       Oct and Nov 1951 HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Ted Adams, Marie Bodee, Roy Canada, Henry Cording, Desser Dean, LeRoy Johnson, Frank Losee, John Monohan, Bob Morgan, Gloria Noble, Joel Ray, Wally Rose, Frosty Royce, Dave Sharpe, Mickey Simpson, Joe Wall and Martin Wilkins. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The portrait of Yvonne DeCarlo seen in the film was painted by Audubon Tyler, a Los Angles County Art Institute teacher and grandson of John James Audubon, the famous painter of birds. An Oct 1951 Var news item announced that, with The San Francisco Story , Fidelity Pictures was launching a $5,000,000 program to produce a new picture every eight weeks for Warner Bros. release. However, the other five properties lined up by Fidelity were not produced and subsequent Fidelity films were not released by Warner Bros. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 Apr 1952.
---
Daily Variety
7 Apr 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Apr 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 51
p. 6, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Apr 52
p. 1314.
New York Times
9 May 52
p. 19.
New York Times
10 May 52
p. 16.
Time
19 May 1952.
---
Variety
10 Oct 1951.
---
Variety
9 Apr 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss DeCarlo's ward des by
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Portrait of Miss DeCarlo painted by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Vigilante by Richard Aldrich Summers (New York, 1949).
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 May 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 9 May 1952
Production Date:
early October--early November 1951 at Motion Picture Center
Copyright Claimant:
Fidelity-Vogue Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 April 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1644
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15685
SYNOPSIS

In 1856, mine owner and former member of the Vigilantes, Rick Nelson, goes to San Francisco with his employee Shorty to buy supplies. Having been away for five years, Rick has no interest in ridding the city of corruption and dismisses a plea from his old friend, newspaper editor and captain of the Vigilantes, Jim Martin, to rejoin the group. At a saloon, Rick's interest is piqued by a portrait of the beautiful and wealthy Adelaide McCall, who is worshiped by many of San Francisco's men. Rick finagles a way to be introduced to Adelaide and also meets her friend, Andrew Cain, a political boss trying to gain control of California for his own end. At Cain's request, Adelaide joins Rick's poker game to learn more about him. Later, while on a seaside buggy ride with Rick, Adelaide expresses admiration for Cain's efforts to build up San Francisco and the rest of California. However, Rick, who has guessed that she is using him, insults Adelaide and she leaves him alone at the beach. Later, when he gets to town, he finds a note of apology from Adelaide and proceeds to her house. There Adelaide invites him to join Cain's cause and Rick again responds rudely. In retaliation, Adelaide has Rick shanghaied on his way back to the hotel. However, Rick escapes from the ship and swims to the waterfront saloon owned by the frowsy Sadie, an old friend. After a good laugh at Rick's expense, Sadie advises him that it is profitable to join up with Cain. Later, Cain meets with his political cohorts at Adelaide's house. Having bought enough votes to assure that his puppet, Winfield Holbert, ... +


In 1856, mine owner and former member of the Vigilantes, Rick Nelson, goes to San Francisco with his employee Shorty to buy supplies. Having been away for five years, Rick has no interest in ridding the city of corruption and dismisses a plea from his old friend, newspaper editor and captain of the Vigilantes, Jim Martin, to rejoin the group. At a saloon, Rick's interest is piqued by a portrait of the beautiful and wealthy Adelaide McCall, who is worshiped by many of San Francisco's men. Rick finagles a way to be introduced to Adelaide and also meets her friend, Andrew Cain, a political boss trying to gain control of California for his own end. At Cain's request, Adelaide joins Rick's poker game to learn more about him. Later, while on a seaside buggy ride with Rick, Adelaide expresses admiration for Cain's efforts to build up San Francisco and the rest of California. However, Rick, who has guessed that she is using him, insults Adelaide and she leaves him alone at the beach. Later, when he gets to town, he finds a note of apology from Adelaide and proceeds to her house. There Adelaide invites him to join Cain's cause and Rick again responds rudely. In retaliation, Adelaide has Rick shanghaied on his way back to the hotel. However, Rick escapes from the ship and swims to the waterfront saloon owned by the frowsy Sadie, an old friend. After a good laugh at Rick's expense, Sadie advises him that it is profitable to join up with Cain. Later, Cain meets with his political cohorts at Adelaide's house. Having bought enough votes to assure that his puppet, Winfield Holbert, will be elected to the United States Senate, Cain insists that the fatuous Holbert sign a confession that admits to acquiring votes through fraud and promising to send federal patronage to Cain. Although Cain plans to keep the paper private, he tells his cohorts that he needs it to assure that Holbert remains under their control while he is living 3,000 miles away in Washington. Meanwhile, despite Adelaide's provocations, Rick is still attracted to her, and would like to get her away from Cain. Also, he grudgingly admits to Jim that he would like to see San Francisco free from corruption. Posing as an opportunist, Rick offers his services to Cain in exchange for favors. Although Rick is received by Cain with suspicious politeness, Cain gives him an assignment: Rick is to free Cain's former employee Meyers from jail and deliver him to Cain. Although Meyers is the only ex-cohort of Cain's that has been willing to inform against him, Jim agrees to assist Rick in helping Meyers escape, hoping that if Rick earns Cain's trust, he can get inside information that will bring Cain down legally. During the night, Rick and Shorty break out Meyers, but the double-crossing Cain has his men ambush them. Meyers is killed and Rick is wounded in the shoot-out. While secretly recuperating from flesh wounds at Sadie's establishment, Rick asks Jim to publish an announcement of his death in the newspaper. After reading the death notice, Adelaide turns on Cain and sends the paper Holbert signed, along with other incriminating documents, to Jim and insists that Jim use them to incite the people to lynch Cain, as she knows Cain has the influence to escape any legal proceedings. Jim insists that the Vigilante code requires a fair trial for wrong-doers, but fearing Cain's retaliation against Adelaide, arrests her as a material witness to keep her safely guarded at the newspaper office. When Jim tells Rick about Adelaide, he, too, is worried for her safety and publicly challenges Cain to a duel set for the next morning. When Cain sends men to attack the newspaper office, Jim sneaks Adelaide to Rick's hotel room, and she warns Rick that Cain will most likely cheat in a duel. Early the next morning, Rick and Cain meet at the beach. Although one of Cain's men tries to shoot Rick in the back, Shorty shoots him first, and then Rick kills Cain. Afterward, Jim releases Adelaide, despite her involvement with Cain, and she returns with Rick and Shorty to the mine. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.