Hollywood Shakes San Francisco

The 1906 earthquake and fire is the single most important event in San Francisco's colorful history. View clips from a number of Hollywood films -- some favorites and others unfamiliar -- recreating the event.

On Wednesday, April 18, 1906, at  5:12 a.m. the earth shook, buildings collapsed, fires raged and the history of San Francisco was changed forever. Thrill to depictions of the devastation as Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Bette Davis, and other stars dodge falling bricks and chandeliers, searching for beloved survivors.

On Wednesday, April 18, 1906, at  5:12 a.m. the earth shook, buildings collapsed, fires raged and the history of San Francisco was changed forever. Thrill to depictions of the devastation as Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Bette Davis, and other stars dodge falling bricks and chandeliers, searching for beloved survivors.

In addition to contemporary newsreel footage, the program includes the recently rediscovered silent When The Earth Trembled (1913), Frisco Jenny (1932), San Francisco (1936), The Sisters (1938), and more. Through early special effects and masterful film editing, the cataclysmic event becomes a plot point in many feature films.

San Francisco movie poster

In addition to contemporary newsreel footage, the program includes the recently rediscovered silent When The Earth Trembled (1913), Frisco Jenny (1932), San Francisco (1936), The Sisters (1938), and more. Through early special effects and masterful film editing, the cataclysmic event becomes a plot point in many feature films.

San Francisco movie poster