Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - No Hope

When next we see Elizabeth in the microbiology lab where she and Matthew work (also seen earlier in the movie) she and her zombie-like colleagues have all fallen prey to the alien invaders. But what about Matthew?

He walks in and looks at them; impassive. He may of course be faking it, in survival mode as it were.


Then … The movie’s blood-chilling final scene unfolds when we see him again, in the Civic Center Plaza behind City Hall (map).

… and Now, those same pollarded trees are 41 years sturdier now. Somebody has a secure job trimming them back every winter. A re-gilded dome on City Hall enhances its grandeur.


Then … another view reveals behind him the low walls that defined an extended pool that used to run down the spine of the Plaza.

… and Now, but it was replaced years ago by a gravel walkway. McAllister Street in the background borders the north side of the plaza.

This vintage 1973 photo shows the pool as it still was when the movie was filmed in 1978.


Then … “Matthew? … Matthew!” - Nancy Bellicec has managed to stay one step ahead of the aliens and, incredibly relieved to see him, calls out his name.

… and Now, the Civic Center South Playground today occupies this corner of the Plaza.


But as she approaches him with a knowing smile he points at her and emits the blood-curdling scream that identifies humans to nearby alien converts. Now we know it; he too has succumbed and there’s no hope, for Nancy or indeed for the entire human race.


Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Suffer Little Children

Then … We think Matthew has eluded the pod people and is still in human form, but we can’t be sure. Here we see him watching a pod delivery taking place.

… and Now, this alley is on the south side of Market Street between 8th and 9th (map).


A group of the converted carry the pods into a side door that leads into a hotel; each pod is destined for a targeted victim.


Then … He walks east along Market where we see that the hotel is the PSA San Franciscan at 1231 Market. PSA Airlines leased the San Franciscan in 1968 as part of a diversification into the car rental and hotel business. Never profitable, the venture lasted only until 1979.

Uh, oh … those children’s buses outside … say it ain’t so!

… and Now, the hotel is still there, now called the Whitcomb. The entrance to Beppino’s restaurant has since been closed off and merged seamlessly with the exterior but there’s still an eatery inside - the Market Street Grill.


The alien takeover continues on plan as the children are led into the hotel for a rendezvous with the pods.


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.


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