Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum and sees SUTRO'S: THE PALACE AT LAND'S END

From the maker of several local (SF Bay Area) cult nostalgia films, Tom Wyrsch (WATCH HORROR FILMS, KEEP AMERICA STRONG!, REMEMBERING PLAYLAND AT THE BEACH, BACK TO SPACE-CON).

I'm not old enough to remember when Sutro's existed (besides, I'm not a native to the Bay Area). But I have seen the ruins that are left, by the ocean near the new Cliff House. And, of course, the ruins are featured in HAROLD AND MAUDE, one of my favorite movies.

Originally, Sutro's Baths were a major tourist attraction, back when Adolph Sutro owned the Cliff House (by the way, the story of his life could make for another great movie). The world's largest swimming complex, with heated pools fed directly from the Pacific Ocean. But it was so much more, both in its original incarnation and in its future lives. It was always a huge glass building. But it was also a skating rink at one point, and the home to several odd museums. There was a mummy exhibit, a museum of torture, the Musée Mécanique (which now lives on Fisherman's Wharf, I stumbled across it with my dad a few year's back. I didn't even know the history at the time). Anyway, the film showcases a veritable treasure trove of vintage photographs and artifacts, as well as interviews with history buffs and other people with fond memories of the place, and like all Tom Wyrsch films, Ernie "HARDWAR WARS" Fosselius has to show up. And most haunting, it contains home movie footage of the place burning down in 1966.

It's an odd accomplishment, this movie has made me nostalgic for a place I've never been. In fact, for a place that was gone before I was even alive.

Running Time: 84 minutes
My Total Minutes: 257,373
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