Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Rat Turd Caper

Then ...  Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), a field investigator for the City's health department, conducts a surprise visit at a swanky french restaurant.  The staff stiffen in anticipation as he walks in. 

... and Now,  it was reader Larry Nussbaum  who pointed CitySleuth to this location, identifying it as the kitchen at Bimbo's 365 Club at 1025 Columbus Avenue in North Beach (map).  It's amazing how little this kitchen has changed over the last 40 years.  Even down to the hanging pots.


Then ...  Matthew, on a mission, marches in with the owner in tow.

... and Now,  the same corner today, with all of the equipment still intact and operational.  The opening shot in this post was filmed from the doorway at right.


    He is thorough ... he finds a rat turd in a pan of soup.  When the affronted owner (Jerry Walter) insists it's a caper ("cay-perrr") Matthew smirkingly suggests he eat it.   When he baulks, he is told a health violation notice will be filed.  (Sadly, actor Jerry Walter died of a heart attack a few weeks after this movie was released, at age 53).


Then ...  When he leaves, Matthew discovers that disgruntled staff have smashed his windscreen, with a wine bottle, no less.

... and Now,  this was filmed at the rear of Bimbo's.  The private property sign, updated, is still there; so too is the horse-head hitching post.


Then ...  He drives out along the narrow cul-de-sac, Houston Street, that runs alongside the north edge of the club past its side entrance.  A large billboard and a 7up sign are seen across Columbus Avenue at the alley's end.

... and Now,  there's still an awning over the side entrance and the overhead lights seen above are still there.  So too is the billboard across Columbus and a (repositioned) 7up sign.


Play It Again, Sam - Allan's Apartment, Exterior

Then ...  Allan's place is in an alley just off of one of the City's steepest streets, so steep in fact that it has steps in place of sidewalks.  Viewed from the alley, he is seen here crossing the street.  The green corner building at the bottom of the hill is Vanessi's restaurant.  

... and Now,  This is the Kearny Street block (also seen earlier in the movie) between Vallejo and Broadway, in the North Beach neighborhood.  (Its steps have been named the Peter Macchiarini Steps, in honor of a local artist).  Vanessi's is no longer there, having closed down, as has the equally iconic Italian eatery Enrico's that used to be opposite, on the corner across Kearny.

... related trivia ...  In 1968 Steve McQueen in the movie Bullit crossed over Broadway heading to Enrico's.  The steep block seen above slopes up at far right.


Then ...  Allan's closest friend, Dick (Tony Roberts), was waiting for him.  They walk along the alley towards his apartment.

... and Now,  this is Fresno Street and  Allan's place is number 15, the red door on the right (map).


Then ...  They chat outside 15 Fresno Street.  But interestingly, when later on we go into his apartment we will find that the interiors were filmed not here, but elsewhere in town.

... and Now,  it's the same door today as evidenced by the molding detail and the mailbox, but repainted.


Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers - Elizabeth's Place

    Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) spots a colorful flowered pod in her neighborhood park that she hasn't seen before.  She picks one, taking in its heady aroma.


Then ...  As a group of schoolkids goes by she decides to take it home.

.... and Now,  this was filmed in Alamo Square Park in the Alamo Square neighborhood (map).  The homes in the background are on Hayes Street, along the south side of the park.  


Then ...  The kids are heading to the park's playground.  The sight of   a black-garbed priest staring expressionlessly at them as he swings alongside a child has a disquieting effect on us.  Who is he?  Why is he there?  Already we are feeling an unease that will only grow stronger as the story unfolds.  (The priest by the way is Robert Duvall, in an uncredited cameo).

.... and Now,  there's still a playground there but it's significantly fortressed and now ADA compliant.


Then ...  She crosses the road to her home at 720 Steiner Street, the one on the left, one of the famous Painted Ladies along the east side of the park.  She doesn't know it yet but carrying that flower into her home is a very bad idea.

.... and Now,  tourists flock to photograph this row of Victorians, often called 'Postcard Row'.  Built in the 1890s, they have been lovingly maintained over the years by their proud owners.  The tree in front of her house has been moved to create access to a garage addition.


    Here's one example of the many postcards that have iconized the Painted Ladies over the years.  (By the way, did anyone notice the Painted Ladies' gables emulated above in the playground 'Now' image?)


Play It Again, Sam - She's Leaving Home

    Allan is still not over his divorce from Nancy (Susan Anspach).  Flabbergasted, he had asked her why.  She didn't hold back ..."I can't stand the marriage, I don't find you any fun, I feel you suffocate me, I don't feel any rapport with you and I don't dig you physically ... oh, for God's sake Allan, don't take it personal".  No wonder the poor fellow has an inferiority complex.


Then ...  As she left and over his protestations, she continued to vent.  "I wanna go skiing, I wanna go dancing, I wanna go to the beach, I wanna ride to Europe on a motorcycle; all we ever do is see movies". 

... and Now, this block, so steep that it has steps in place of  sidewalks, is Kearny Street looking down from Vallejo to Broadway in North Beach (map).  The building on the left with the arched windows at the bottom of the hill housed the iconic Vanessi's Italian restaurant for 50 years before it moved to Nob Hill in 1986, eventually closing down in 1997.

    On a trivia note, this same location, and Vannessi's, was seen 25 years earlier in the 1947 Humphrey Bogart movie Dark Passage.

...  a vintage photo ...  here's a 1964 photo of the restaurant in its prime.  Odds are that Woody Allen would have dined there during the shoot (he was familiar with North Beach, having previously done stand-up comedy performances at the nearby Purple Onion and Hungry i clubs).  Note the sidewalk steps on Kearny.


Then ...  Her parting shot to him before she hopped into her VW Beetle and drove out of his life... "My lawyer will call your lawyer".   "I don't have a lawyer," said he, "Have him call my doctor".  His hilarious deadpan gags, quintessential Woody Allen, set the tone throughout the movie.

... and Now, here's the same junction today, at Vallejo and Kearny. 


Click in this box to search this site ...