Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Penalty - A Diabolical Plan, Revealed

    Blizzard continues to outline his plot to his chief lieutenant, O'Hagan; in it, another policeman is cut down by the anarchists.  (This location has studio back lot written all over it).

 

Then ...  The police respond in force from the old Hall Of Justice at 750 Kearny Street at Washington.

... and Now,  the Hall Of Justice moved to new quarters at 850 Bryant Street in the 1960s after which the old structure was razed in 1967 to make way for a hotel, the Hilton San Francisco Financial District (map).  In the same view today an overhead pedestrian bridge links the hotel to Portsmouth Square Plaza across Kearny.

    Here's the Old Hall Of Justice viewed from Portsmouth Square in the 1958 movie The LineUp 38 years after it appeared in The Penalty.  

 

Then ...  The horde turns its attention to banks, in this case the Union Trust Banking Hall on Market at Grant, and Blizzard's intentions begin to become clear - his plan is to rob the City clean while police and fire responders are distracted.

... and Now,  it's still a bank - now a branch of Wells Fargo (map).

 

Then ...  Blizzard directs his men carrying bags of loot down the steps of the Old San Francisco Mint.

... and Now,  the 1874 structure still stands in SoMa at 5th Street and Mission (map), but it no longer mints coins...

    ... the task of minting coins was transferred in 1937 from the old to the new Mint at Hermann and Buchanan at the eastern tip of the Duboce Triangle (map), pictured here from the Market Street Safeway parking lot.

 

Then ...  Interestingly, while imagining the action on the steps of the old Mint Blizzard sees himself with amputated legs restored.

... and Now,  those same steps today.

 

   The audacious plan startles O'Hagan ...  "By God! You've gone mad!".  Blizzard angrily sends him away.

 

Harold And Maude - Shocking News

    Harold's Mom is amazed to hear that he plans on getting married.  Then, when he shows her a photo of Maude, her shocked expression says it all.

 

   She lines up all of Harold's authority figures but they, in tandem with the background presence of theirs, fail to dissuade him.

 

    The young beau has everything worked out and plans to pop the question on Maude's birthday, surprising her with a private sunflower-themed celebration in her railcar.  But she reminds him of her philosophy of life, and death - she always intended to depart on her 80th birthday; in fact she has just taken the pills.  Aghast, it's Harold's turn to be shocked.

 

Then ...  He calls for an ambulance, seen here racing along the curving approach to a hospital.

... in the 1970s ...  viewed from the same approach road this vintage photo shows the hospital as the ambulance saw it; it was the Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame (map), not far from San Francisco's International Airport. This building was replaced in 2012 by the new Mills-Peninsula Hospital in response to seismic concerns.

    Here's a 2010 satellite view taken while the new hospital was being constructed alongside the old.  Click or tap the image to see it today; the new hospital's parking lot now covers the site of the old hospital.

 

Then and Now,  While the doctors fight for Maude's life Harold waits through the night fearing the worst, hoping for the best.  As dawn breaks he looks to the hills west of the hospital.  Click or tap the image to see how the hillside would look today were that room still there.

    Reflections add interest to this shot as the camera peers into the waiting room from outside as the doctor delivers the fateful news... Maude is gone.

 

Fog Over Frisco - A Cryptic Telegram

    We learned in the prior post that Arlene has been murdered but Val is unaware.  When she receives a telegram signed by Arlene asking for help at the Butcher Town bridge she rushes to meet her.

... a vintage photo ...  Butchertown really did exist in San Francisco.  It was an area in the Bayview neighborhood that housed all of the city's animal slaughterhouses and associated businesses.  The photo below was taken at a slaughterhouse at 3rd and Evans Avenue (map) in 1921.  Butchertown's prime (excuse the pun) was in the late 1800s through 1906 but it wasn't until 1971 that its last slaughterhouse finally closed.

 

Then ...  Val, driving Arlene's car, doesn't know that her sister's lifeless body is stuffed into the trunk.  She heads down a steep hill on her way to the bridge. 

... a vintage photo ...  but the shot above was filmed not in San Francisco; this is Bunker Hill, Los Angeles.  Below is a 1948 image of the same street, viewed south towards Olive St. from Grand Avenue down 2nd St. (map).  CitySleuth recognized it from a couple of movies he has already covered:  1952's Sudden Fear, where Gloria Grahame meets a sudden end, and 1962's Days Of Wine And Roses where Lee Remick visits Jack Lemmon in the Chaspeak Apartments at 512 W. 2nd, the Victorian on the far right.

... and Now,  this location looks completely different today after the Bunker Hill neighborhood was razed in the 1950s and 60s.  Nostalgists like CitySleuth are grateful that the unique character of the old neighborhood can still be experienced in several old movies.

 

Then ...  Val's reporter friend Tony who had found Arlene's body hears of the telegram and commandeers a Yellow Cab to rush to Butchertown bridge.  But now we are back in San Francisco as the cab heads down Hyde Street...

... and Now,  with Alcatraz in the distance this view down Hyde was filmed from Lombard (map).  Turning 90 degrees to the right would have revealed Lombard's famous crooked street, constructed 12 years before the movie was filmed.  Better had they sent the cab down there!

 

Then ...  The cab continues down Hyde, seen here from Beach Street.  The tall building at the top of the hill is the View Tower Apartments at 2238 Hyde, built in 1928.  Note the vertical garage sign at far right...

... and Now,  in the same view today a cable car waits its turn until a departing one at the Hyde Street Pier terminus, just off the right side, makes room for it.  The blue and red store up the block on the right occupies the site of the garage mentioned above...

    ... it's Blazing Saddles, a bike rental store at 2715 Hyde Street.  If you peer long enough at the Then image above, as CitySleuth would, you can see that this building and the adjacent one next to it uphill appear little changed for almost a century since being built in 1925.

 

Then ...  Val's father, alerted to Arlene's murder by the reporter, joins the frantic rush down Hyde Street in his limousine, filmed here from Francisco Street.

... and Now,  back in the 1930s there were more cable car lines than nowadays but this, the Powell/Hyde line, is one of the survivors. 

 

The Penalty - A Diabolical Plan, continued

Then ...  Blizzard continues describing his revenge plan against the City of San Francisco.  In his mind's eye, his army of malcontents, wearing straw hats for identification, spring into action, intent on sowing chaos in the streets.

... and Now,  this is the northwest corner of Grant and Clay in Chinatown, currently occupied by the jewelry store Jen Ju and Co., at 801 Grant (map).  The cable car that once traversed Clay Street no longer does.

    This same corner was seen years later in The Lady From Shanghai (1947) when Orson Welles' character darts across Clay Street while on the lam from the police (described here in this blog).  Note that the cable car line was still operational then.

 

Then ...  More anarchists charge around a corner near the Ferry Building; the view looks down Commercial Street from Drumm Street (map).  Note the pedestrian footbridge in front of the Ferry Building.  The roof cornice partially glimpsed on the far left side of the photo belonged to the Harbor Police Station.

... in the 1950s ...  this photo taken almost 40 years later shows more of the Harbor Police Station at left.  Straight ahead the newly built Embarcadero Freeway isolates the Ferry Building.

... and Now,  from the same spot today it's unrecognizable since the entire surrounding area was torn down in the 1960s for the Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project which modernized and transformed it into an extension of the Financial District.  The Four Embarcadero Center office complex was built astride this particular location.

... in 1925 ...  here's a vintage photo showing the footbridge at the Ferry building that spanned the Embarcadero until the 1940s.  Note too that an auto tunnel used to carry traffic beneath the busy plaza where the Market Street trams made a U-turn.  The arrow points to the location on Drumm Street where the above scene was filmed.

 

Then ...  Back in Chinatown the mayhem gets serious when a policeman is gunned down.

... and Now,  this view looks down Sacramento Street from Grant - the corner store today is the Floating Sushi Boat restaurant at 700 Grant.

 

    The rampage expands, setting buildings ablaze.

 

Then ...  The disruptive tactics are a diversion, intended to draw out and tie up emergency police and fire responders -  Blizzard imagines the fire department's Engine 10 company charging from the firehouse at 3050 17th Street in the Mission (map)...

... and Now,  the site today is a parking lot. 

 ... a vintage photo ...   The Engine 10 and Truck 7 firehouse, built in 1895, is pictured here in this 1952 photo.

 

    By way of a trivia observation, just across 17th Street from the Engine 10 firehouse was the very distinctive Mission Police Station, photographed here in 1924.  In the next post we will see the police responding to Blizzard's criminal army but filmed elsewhere.  For some reason the moviemakers passed on the opportunity to use this police station even though their cameras were already right there filming the firehouse.

... and Now,  this was home for the Mission Police Station from 1903 to 1950 at which time it relocated to a new site on Valencia Street.  It remains so marked but is now privately owned; its most recent sale was in 2002 for $2.2M.  It still exudes character and suggests only hints of what went on over the decades behind those walls.

 

    (Blizzard's nefarious plot continues in the next post - CitySleuth).

 

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