Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Vertigo - Scottie Follows Madeleine - 6

  In a long conversation with Madeleine after Scottie rescues her from the Bay he is no closer to finding out why she takes off on her mysterious wanderings.  He decides to continue watching her.  In this sequence an asterisk (*) indicates a route discontinuity, i.e. a location jump.


Then ...     She had stopped by to leave a thank-you note.  They talk outside his apartment and as she leaves we enjoy a clear view down Lombard Street with Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower in the distance.

... and Now,  a half century later when this photo was taken (2011) the house was unchanged but since then the owner has completely made over the exterior, wiping out a cinematic location icon (see it here).


  They resume their conversation then agree to go off on a drive together.

Vertigo - Palace of Fine Arts

  Scottie and Judy begin dating.  Naturally, he takes her out to Ernie's for a meal (where he first saw Madeleine) and dancing at the Fairmont Hotel.  Both of those scenes were filmed on carefully recreated Paramount Studios sets, but their stroll alongside the Palace of Fine Arts was a location shoot.

Then ...  There was a glimpse of the domed Palace of Fine Arts earlier in the movie when Scottie was tailing Madeleine's Jaguar through the Presidio.

... and Now,  looking north on Presidio Boulevard near West Pacific Avenue (map).  The view is now mostly obscured by trees from here.


Then ...  A retreating camera dolly tracks them as they walk alongside the Palace - Judy is looking over to it off to the right.

... and Now,  this looks south along Baker Street from near Beach Street (map).  On the horizon Baker Street crests at Broadway in Pacific Heights.


Then ...  They pause a moment and admire the majestic edifice across its peaceful lagoon.  The Palace of Fine Arts is the only survivor, on its original site, of ten grand palaces constructed for the city's 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.  For many years it housed art exhibitions but today is the home of the Palace of Fine Arts Theater and, since 1969 until its 2013 move to Piers 15 and 17, the popular Exploratorium museum.

... and Now,  the Palace looks unchanged, but back in 1964 in response to structural concerns it was demolished down to its skeletal steel supports and rebuilt with lightweight concrete materials.  They did a fine job.


... on location ...  this informal photo caught Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart taking a break on the camera dolly used for the tracking shot shown above.

The Lady From Shanghai - Jailhouse Lament

  O'Hara is in jail and laments his predicament in voiceover.  "The wrong man was arrested, the wrong man was shot.  Grisby was dead and so was Broome.  And what about Bannister?  He was going to defend me in a trial for my life, and me charged with a couple of murders I did not commit.  Either me or the rest of the whole world is absolutely insane".

  While he laments we are shown two city vistas - a reminder that we are now in San Francisco - and then we see Elsa driving to the jailhouse ....

Then ...  First, a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, beloved by all who visit and also by the directors who used similar views in the movies Dark Passage and Vertigo (see them here and here).

... and Now ,  taken from the south end of the bridge in the Presidio (map).  Fort Point is in the lower foreground in both views. 


Then ...  The second vista looks west over Cow Hollow and the Marina district towards the distant Golden Gate Bridge.  The fortunate inclusion of the distinctive foreground chimney enabled CitySleuth to find this location.  It's the rooftop of 1360 Jones Street, a classy 1920s apartment building in Nob Hill (map).

... and Now,  the view from alongside the same chimney 64 years later is virtually identical except that the gasworks right of center has been dismantled.  (It used to occupy the block behind the Marina Safeway store).  The golden dome belongs to the Palace of Fine Arts.

... a vintage photo ... here's a 1955 photo taken from the Top 'O The Mark at Nob Hill's Mark Hopkins hotel showing the 1360 Jones building (arrowed) from which the views above were taken.

... and Now,  here's 1360 Jones, looking east down the cable car tracks on Washington.


Then ...  O'Hara laments on as Elsa drives up a steep hill.  She's in the head-turning 1946 Lincoln Continental V-12 convertible seen earlier in the movie when she was in New York.

... and Now,  this is Sacramento Street, viewed from Mason (map).  The Fairmont hotel is on the right and the Brocklebank Apartments on the left.  This exact location was used two years later in the movie Impact (see it here).


Then ...  She turns and passes the courtyard of the Brocklebank Apartments, at 1000 Mason.  In the movie Vertigo, Kim Novak's character Madeleine resided here (see it then).

... and Now,  the courtyard today.


Then ...  She continues on, north down Mason.  The twin-towered church on Broadway down on the left is Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, built in 1912 to serve the local catholic community.

... and Now,  there are some changes in this recent view.  An obtrusively jarring apartment highrise, the Royal Towers at 1750 Taylor, has appeared on the left (bad) but the gasworks at the bottom of Mason are gone (good).  The church is still there, now housing a Chinese language school.

Petulia - A Bittersweet Goodbye

  Months have passed and Petulia and David have reconciled, so much so that she is about to give birth to their child, in the same hospital where she first saw Archie.

Then ...  The hospital is the California Pacific Medical Center at 3801 Sacramento Street in the Pacific Heights/Laurel Heights neighborhood (map).  Throughout this movie, director Lester seemed to have a thing about nuns as in this shot showing two of them entering the main door.

... and Now,  the same entrance today, looking west down Sacramento.


  Archie stops by to see Petulia outside the delivery room.  He impetuously proposes spiriting her off to a private hospital so they could be together again ... she agrees ... he picks up the phone ... a change of heart ... and instead they reluctantly bid adieu.


Then ...  David enters the lobby to join Petulia scant seconds before Archie leaves - they barely miss each other, two ships passing in the night.  The two houses seen through the glass doors are across Sacramento Street.

... and Now,  of those two houses, the Tudor-styled one on the left is still there but the one on the right has been replaced with a newer building.


Then ...  A passing group of attractive young women catches Archie's eye - well, after all, he is once again unattached - and the camera pans up the exterior facade of the hospital.

... and Now,  the recent matching view.


    The movie ends with this closeup of Petulia in the delivery room as she is about to be put under.  She touches the doctor's hand and murmurs " Archie? ... ".  He may be gone from her life, but, it seems, never from her mind.

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