Reliving the people and places I encounter through the sights and sounds of the films they inspired.
David Liu | 18 September 2012
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Kaufman’s skillful remake of Don Siegel’s 1956 picture moves the setting from the fictional town of Santa Mira to San Francisco. Numerous city landmarks populate the film’s compositions, including the Transamerica Pyramid — an inside joke of sorts, since the Transamerica Corporation owned distribution company United Artists at the time.
A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985)
Roger Moore’s James Bond (not pictured) hangs on for dear life as villain Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) maneuvers an airship over the Transamerica Pyramid.
Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
As detectives, journalists and true crime enthusiasts rush headlong into the obsessive pursuit of a serial killer, Fincher provides a brief intermission by way of a magisterial 30-second time lapse — a series of still photographs depicting the construction of San Francisco’s most definitive skyscraper.
Star Trek (J. J. Abrams, 2009)
Abrams’s reboot of the Star Trek franchise retains its predecessors’ San Francisco settings, most notably in its inclusion of the Transamerica Pyramid as the only visible remnant of contemporary San Francisco in the year 2258, as seen from the Starfleet Academy campus.
The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)
Taking place immediately before the nightclub rendezvous between Zuckerberg and Sean Parker, an exhilarating time-lapse of San Francisco illustrates both the passage of time and the allure of new business ventures. In a way, it’s similar to the time-lapse sequence in Zodiac — only framed here as a catalyst for progression instead of as a monument to frustration.
Completed in the summer of 1972, the Transamerica Pyramid (seen here from Fisherman’s Wharf) remains the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks. With a structural height of 260 meters (850 feet) spanning 48 floors, the Pyramid was the tallest building west of the Mississippi from 1972 to 1974 and, upon completion, one of the five tallest buildings in the world.