Old San Francisco

Old San Francisco

theatrical release poster
Directed by Alan Crosland
Written by Jack Jarmuth (titles)
Screenplay by Anthony Coldeway
Story by Darryl F. Zanuck
Starring Dolores Costello
Music by Hugo Riesenfeld
Cinematography Hal Mohr
Edited by Harold McCord
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • June 21, 1927 (1927-06-21) (NYC)
  • September 4, 1927 (1927-09-04) (US)


Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles
Vitaphone sound effects

Old San Francisco is a 1927 American silent historical drama film starring Dolores Costello and featuring Warner Oland. The film, which was produced and distributed by Warner Bros., was directed by Alan Crosland.


Chris Buckwell (Warner Oland), cruel and greedy czar of San Francisco's Tenderloin District, is heartless in his persecution of the Chinese, though he himself is secretly a half-caste. Buckwell, eager to possess the land of Don Hernández Vásquez (Josef Swickard), sends Michael Brandon (Anders Randolph), an unscrupulous attorney, to make an offer. Brandon's nephew, Terrence (Charles E. Mack), meets the grandee's beautiful daughter, Dolores (Dolores Costello), while Vásquez refuses the offer. Terry tries to save the Vásquez land grants, but when Chris causes the grandee's death, Dolores takes an oath to avenge her father. Learning that Chris is a half-caste, Dolores induces his feeble-minded dwarf brother (Angelo Rossita) to denounce him; he captures her and Terry, but they are saved from torture and death by the great earthquake of 1906 that kills the villain.



The film was released in a silent version and in a Vitaphone version, with sound-on-disc recording of music and sound effects only. It was the fifth Warner Brothers feature film to have Vitaphone musical accompaniment. Just one month later, on October 6, Warner Bros. released The Jazz Singer with music, sound effects, and spoken dialogue. Warner Bros. later reused some of the footage from Old San Francisco for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake sequence in The Sisters (1938).[2] This is Charles Emmett Mack's final film appearance; he was killed in an automobile accident six months prior to the film's release.[3]

Preservation status

A print of the film still exists at the Library of Congress, George Eastman House and Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, as well as its Vitaphone soundtrack and has been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive in association with other organizations such as the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art. And was released on manufactured-on-demand DVD by the Warner Archive Collection series on September 15, 2009.[4]


External links

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