Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Play It Again, Sam - Casablanca Finale

Allan rushes onto the tarmac, catching up with Linda right before she catches up with Dick. But where is this? The preceding airport scenes were filmed at San Francisco International but these final scenes may have been at Hollywood/Burbank Airport (later known as Bob Hope Airport), for reasons explained later in this post.


From here on, the airport scene mostly mirrored the final airport scene in Casablanca; the comparisons are shown here side-by-side. Allan is intent on telling her to forget him and go with Dick. But she beats him to it, having come to the same conclusion.

Notice how Bogart is looking down to Bergman in Casablanca, above. That’s because he wore shoe lifters to compensate for his modest height (below). Apparently Woody Allen had no such pretensions.


Dick joins them, surprised to realize that she is coming with him (remember, Linda had already told him that she loves Allan). They spin around at the sound of the aircraft engines springing to life.


The Casablanca airport scenes were filmed at Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley alongside a Lockheed 12-A Electra aircraft whereas in Play It Again, Sam, filmed (as mentioned, most likely) at Hollywood/Burbank Airport, the moviemakers used a vintage Douglas DC-3. (Trivia fact - the winged seahorse logo on the Casablanca airplane was adopted by Air France in 1933 from its predecessor Air Orient and as such was historically accurate for that movie’s French colonial setting).


As Dick and Linda leave together the parallel with Casablanca is complete. Just like his idol, Allan has done the honorable thing having come to terms with the real love of his lover.


And again, like his idol, the movie closes with him slowly walking off into the mist …

The filming of this final shot in Play It Again, Sam has since been described in an interesting anecdote by one of the movie’s assistant directors. It was a reshoot to accommodate a late script change and it was filmed at the Hollywood/Burbank Airport. He doesn’t mention where the action leading up to it took place, possibly the same location but not yet confirmed.

The movies’ final line …

Casablanca - “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.

This movie - “Here’s looking at you, kid”.


Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Elizabeth Succumbs!

Their truck backs up to the loading dock of a warehouse that they quickly realize is being used as a pod incubator.

These scenes were filmed at the Pier 70 Historic Shipyard at the eastern end of 20th Street in the Dogpatch neighborhood (map). The warehouse is Building 6, a facility originally (from 1941) used for outfitting newly floated ships. Below is an aerial view of Pier 70 showing Building 6; it’s still there, but barely.

… and Now, here it is as viewed from its north end at the closest point CitySleuth could get to on a recent visit. As you can see, it’s now in a very sorry state of repair.


Outside the warehouse Elizabeth twists her ankle and Matthew leaves her for a short while to check out a possible escape route. When he returns she has fallen asleep and before his horrified eyes she dissolves into a heap of ash. Just as quickly she rises, an alien phoenix, urging him to join the converted.


Then … Matthew, consumed with distress and anger, enters the warehouse and climbs above the canopied electric lamps that cover the incubating pods. Thinking only of revenge, he grabs a fire-axe, frantically cutting the canopy support ropes to bring it crashing down in flames.

… and Now, long a graffiti target, the warehouse is known to local street taggers as ‘Tag Cathedral’.

Here’s a closer look. Some pretty wild stuff, enhanced by the diffused sunlight on the broken panes.


‘Pod’ Elizabeth alerts the scrambling workers to Matthew with a bloodcurdling alien scream (click or tap to zoom in - even her dental filling has been cloned).


After exiting an upper window and dropping down from the awning he escapes along the loading dock.


Then … The workers pursue him, stumbling in their haste, as he flees the burning building.

… and Now, CitySleuth was not able to access this, the south end of the building but came across a recently taken photo showing the loading dock on the left where the first image in this post and the one two images up were filmed. Note too the same mini balcony at the top left corner both Then and Now and the surviving ‘Building 6’ name on the wall.


Play It Again, Sam - To The Airport!

Then … Allan climbs Kearny Street on his way back to his North Beach apartment (described in more detail earlier). He finds Dick waiting for him, telling him that he has become convinced that Linda is having an affair. Allan quakes in his boots, not having the nerve to fess up. But he becomes tormented on hearing Dick’s passionate declaration of his feelings for his wife.

… and Now, viewed from Fresno Street (map), this is the ultra-steep block of Kearny above Broadway.


When he calls her she has already confessed to Dick, without naming Allan. Bitterly disappointed, he leaves for the airport on a business trip.


Then … Allan has to talk to her - he takes a cab to her place, finds out that she’s left for the airport chasing Dick, then continues on, chasing Linda.

… and Now, this is viewed from outside 2614 Buchanan Street in Pacific Heights (Linda’s house, described earlier). The cross street ahead is Pacific Avenue .


Then … By now he has decided that he has to tell her to stay with Dick but during the cab ride he pictures her, in this great wide angle shot at San Francisco Airport’s Central Terminal, reacting angrily to his decision.

… and Now, Central Terminal is still there but is now named Terminal 2. In 2008 it underwent a state-of-the-art upgrade via a $383 million renovation.

This vintage image shows Central Terminal as it looked when the movie was filmed. The windows above the upper departure level are the same as those seen in the Then image above.

… vintage trivia … Citysleuth often digs up indirectly related material when researching a location. Case in point; he came across this photograph of passengers lining up at the same PSA counter seen at far left in the Then movie image above. The bell bottoms would date it to the 1970s. PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) was a popular West Coast airline perhaps best known for its flight attendants’ mini-skirted outfits in the 1960s and hot pants in the 1970s, not to mention kinky boots.

Monty Python said it best … “Nudge, nudge, know what I mean, say no more, say no more”. It didn’t take long before outraged women’s groups and a shift in passenger profile away from predominantly businessmen persuaded management to, ‘hem, tone it down.


Then … Linda’s cab arrives at Central Terminal’s departures and she dashes in hoping to reach Dick before he leaves. Note two more airline signs: Air West and National, both destined, like PSA, to be swallowed up by bigger fish.

… and Now, same terminal, different name, different look. Here’s a Google image of the Terminal 2 departures level in its current reincarnation.


She finds the gate and runs onto the tarmac (she couldn’t do that now) where Dick is about to board his plane. Allan follows her, just steps behind.


Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Capture and Escape

Then … Matthew and Elizabeth flee ahead of the pursuing pod people past a line of columned lamps. City Hall is in the background.

… and Now, this is the United Nations (U.N.) Plaza (map). The Plaza was installed along the former alignment of Fulton Street during the reconstruction of Market Street following the excavation for the Market Street Bart Subway. It opened in 1975 but the view now from the same spot shows foreground access stairs down to the Civic Center station that were installed 2 years after Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was filmed when the Muni Metro line was added to the Subway.


This recent image shows the U.N. Plaza as pristine as you will ever see it. The plaza was designed by the renowned San Francisco environmental architect Lawrence Halprin. (In a location trivia note, Halprin’s office appeared in a scene in the movie Bullit). The Bart/Muni Metro stairs are bounded by the railing on the left


Then … They come across their street busker friend and his boxer dog (they were seen earlier in the movie) sleeping next to a pod. Knowing what’s about to happen Matthew kicks the pod in disgust.

… and Now, the view is from Polk Street near the Grove Street junction (map) looking west past City Hall to Van Ness.

Later in the movie we see that a kick in the pod has consequences: the busker’s body-snatching gene transfer didn’t quite go as planned…


Then … They finally run across Grove Street and reach their destination - their workplace at the Department Of Public Health at 101 Grove, described in more detail earlier.

… and Now, the entrance still looks the same.


Then … from an upstairs window they watch an army of pod people lining up to distribute pods across the Bay Area; they fear that their days are numbered.

… and Now, in front of the Grove Street entrance of City Hall.


Without warning, the pod versions of their former friends show up and capture them, administering a sedative drug to send them asleep alongside two pods.


Then … But they manage to escape from the building and leave the pod people behind by jumping into a moving truck.

… and Now, on the left is the east side of the Department Of Public Health; ahead, Polk Street crosses Grove as it recedes to the north. The old First Aid sign partially visible in the movie shot at top left above is still affixed to the wall.


Click in this box to search this site ...