MOVIE CORNER

April 17, 2006

My trip to San Francisco Part 2

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 1:31 pm

In a sense this journey up North on the Highway # 1 was a sort of a pilgrimage for such a movie buff and a lover of Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett detective stories like me. The names of the places around me were all too familiar – Simi Valley, Mulholland Drive, Malibu, Ventura, the canyon roads featuring so much in the movies and in the old detective stories of the 30s and 40s, they sounded almost like I’ve been there before. It’s true I did not get much to see of the towns I’ve been passing by, but at least I’ve got a glimpse of what they look like now and I have to admit, thinking about that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I always like most of all if the movie or a book is about places I’ve been before, it sort of gives the story more reality and also helps me to have a clearer picture of the events, especially if I am reading the book and have to envision the places where action takes part by myself. May be that’s why I did like Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” – one of them was half of the time depicting events in Paris, a city I know like the back of my hand and love very much (been in the Louvre quite a few times myself!), and another was mostly about Rome, where I’ve also been several times and very much liked too.

Meanwhile, my drive along PCH was turning into a much longer trip than I’ve envisioned. I’ve left L.A. at about 10am and by the time I’ve passed Malibu, Ventura and Oxnard, where PCH and the route 101 are beginning to run together again, and came to Santa Barbara it was already close to 3pm and I started to worry that I may not make it to San Francisco at all today as by my count I barely made a quarter of a trip if I were to follow the serpentine pattern of the PCH. Somewhere around Santa Barbara I’ve passed the sign pointing the way to Randolph Hearst’s estate, which I was curious about for a long time. According to some information I’ve read it was a prototype for the Charles Foster Kane Xanadu mansion in Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” (1941), a movie which is considered by many a golden standard for any film. As a matter of fact, this film was repeatedly named by generations of the film critics as Number One in the short list of the best movies ever made in the history of the cinema. I was seriously tempted to turn onto the road leading to the estate when I’ve noticed that the admittance was only by prior appointment and – alas! – I did not have one. Marking this place for my future adventures on the

Pacific Coast Highway

I whizzed through Santa Barbara, which turned out to be a fairly large town, compared to the other ones I’ve passed on the way. As I was never a big fan of the “Santa Barbara” series, I was not too keen on exploring this city of rich and famous, though I might still come back to get a better look at it some time in the future…

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