Salvation Army Mission, San Francisco

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Moving Image:Salvation Army Mission, San Francisco
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Salvation Army Mission, San Francisco is a short film from ca. 1956 released on 16mm. It is held in the Prelinger Archives collection.

Scenes of the South of Market area in San Francisco, California, especially the former "Skid Row" area in the vicinity of 3rd and Howard, 4th and Howard Streets before it was demolished for redevelopment. Lines of homeless / alcoholic / indigent men listening to religious speech and Salvation Army brass band, then marching on the streets to the mission. Very interesting imagery, shot as if surveillance photography, of low-income inner-city neighborhoods in the 1950s. Further scenes of a speech by Salvation Army officer and interview with another officer.

Salvation Army Mission, San Francisco
Produced by0
Distributed by0
Release date
ca. 1956
ewid: 6059 | Fresh | || dopt: {{{dopt}}}

Documentary style footage. Impoverished men on streets. Documentary style footage inside Salvation Army church.

00:01:12:15 Two shabby looking middle-age to older men wearing late 1940s jackets and fedora hats; one man sits down on stoop of dirty run-down brick building, while other leans against wall; both look down-trodden and depressed; car passes through frame. Camera follows two other homeless looking men along sidewalk.

00:02:39:22 VS dirty looking man smoking cigarette walks across street cutting between 1940s cars; man gets in back of one of several lines on street in front of Dewey Liquor Store with large Coca-Cola emblems on each side of sign and Cannery Sale advertised in store window; in front of crowd on sidewalk in front of store is an American flag. Three military men, two carrying flags lead group of civilians in march through street; large crowd of men walk past Associated Service station near Fourth and Howard streets, South of Market district, San Francisco; long line of men walking on sidewalk turn corner and walk past a pharmaceutical building.

00:05:02:11 Military man at podium introduces old woman Mrs. Ferguson, woman in black dress and black bonnet steps up to podium and leads congregation in song Standing on the Promises of Christ My King; VS woman on stage singing with mostly men on stage seated behind her singing along, man on stage plays melody of song on tuba, great high-angle shot pans over church congregation standing; church congregation reads passage together standing.

00:07:40:20 Man in military attire at podium introduces man in suit seated in chair on stage behind him; man takes the podium and gives his testimony of homeless life on skid row and how he found god, put his faith in Jesus, and was able to overcome adversity; man tells congregation that there is hope and that they must put their faith and trust in the lord.

00:10:25:20 Woman dressed in all black, black dress and bonnet, collects money in a tambourine from men seated in church; men pass tambourine filled with change down row.

00:11:04:05 Man at podium on stage addresses church audience of impoverished men; man in military suit acting as minister gives sermon; good sound bites in sermon:

Now fellows, how about it? Do you really want to see light? Do you want to enjoy life? Well we re telling you on the authority of god s word, and from my own experience,  that life alone is found in Jesus. 

Man invites members of church audience to come up in front of stage to kneel and pray. Man continues preaching at podium:

 eventually, there will be some time in your life you ll come to a place where you ll admit that you can t get on without god. Why not start this new way tonight. Will you? Come on. 

Man leads church in song, pan over Salvation Army church audience. VS two men kneeling at the front of the stage praying. Man collects pray books as men exit church; VS men filing out of church.

00:14:11:10 VS men filing out of church and into soup kitchen; CU disembodied arm ladles soup into soup bowl; CU men receive soup and bread and coffee; great shot looking down from one end of long soup kitchen table as men eat.

00:15:40:28 Older woman dressed in all black wearing a white apron over black dress with S pin for Salvation Army on collar and black hat, stands by door marked Exit and says goodbye to men as they leave the soup kitchen.

00:16:27:29 VS empty rooms in what appears to be a homeless shelter dormitory filled with cots; empty living room with couches and dining table; empty recreation room with ping pong table.

00:16:57:13 Great shot backs of two men in chairs as they watch television with large rabbit ears antenna on top; beside television is an American flag, and above the TV is a painting mounted on wall.

00:18:19:07 Great VS of man in Salvation army military-like suit interviewing man about his seeking help through the Salvation Army to overcome alcoholism. Man in suit interviewing man refers to his sin as having been an alcoholic. Man discusses his recent religious conversion.

00:20:10:15 CU 1940s man with slicked back hair discusses Salvation Army:

The most important part about this place of new beginnings in the Salvation Army is that I can see that in my life it has straightened me out and helped me considerably if you want to get off the skid row and get on the right track, the thing to do is to come and accept the lord as your own personal savior.