Matthew, Elizabeth, Jack and Nancy rush from Matthew’s Telegraph Hill home pursued by a horde of pod people. In desperation they flee down the Filbert Steps towards the Embarcadero.
Then … Through the stairway we see them run towards us along the side of a house and around past the front entrance.
and Now, this is 32 Napier Lane at the far end of a narrow lane that tees off the Filbert Steps (map). The house has since seen several changes; those stairs leading up to the second floor balcony have been removed and the front entrance has been modified. The door on No. 28 to the right though is the same one, as evidenced by the unchanged door handle.
Then … They dash on, passing a brightly lit window.
and Now, this is the window of 8 Napier Lane. Ahead, number 32 faces us at the end of the alley.
Then … Napier Lane tees in to the Filbert Steps from the left; from there they charge on down the steps. Note both the official street sign and a hand-painted one.
and Now, the same junction today. The city’s sign with the block number is still there and what could be the original hand-painted sign at left has a more recent one below it.
Then … They finally descend the lower part of the steps leading to the flats east of Telegraph Hill.
and Now, the view is from Filbert Street at Sansome (map). The steep steps test the fitness of a steady stream of visitors and locals every day.
Those same lower steps were also seen in the 1947 movie Dark Passage when hecklers gave Humphrey Bogart a hard time as he struggled up them. Back then the steps were made of wood, far more precarious, and the heavily quarried rock face was only beginning to sprout a covering of foliage.
And in 1973 the movie The Laughing Policeman included a view from the same spot as well as other locations on the Filbert Steps. (Erosion of the rock face eventually prompted the City to condemn and subsequently demolish those apartments overhanging the hill).