The next morning Helen visits Mrs Kraft at the Felton Hotel to warn her against telling the police about witnessing the murder in the dunes, otherwise she too will be killed. Frazzled and finally beaten down, she agrees and calls off the private detective Arnett.
For his part Arnett calls Helen and tells her he will call the police unless she gets him the $15,000 payoff he had earlier demanded. But meantime Helen's rich fiancé has walked out on her, citing her behavior since Sam arrived on the scene. Realizing her only hope of financial security is gone, and blaming Sam, she tells Arnett to go right ahead. He can't resist a biblical quote, borrowing from Ecclesiastes 7:26 ...
"I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets ... and he who falls beneath her spell has need of God's mercy."
Sam finds out the police are on the way and assumes Helen had shopped him. He corners her in a bedroom and blasts away through the door, doing her in, moments before the police burst in and do the same to him.
Then ... In the movie's final scene Arnett buys a newspaper on the Embarcadero street corner where Market and Sacramento merge. Steuart Street tees in at far left and a streetcar passes by on one of four sets of tracks serving Market Street.
... and Now, this corner was swallowed up when the Embarcadero was widened in the 1990s. Across Market we see that the 1916 Southern Pacific Building has survived the Financial District transformation all around it. CitySleuth took this recent matching photo from amongst the street vendors who congregate at this spot each weekend.
Then ... As he reads about the sensational deaths of Sam Wild and Helen Brent, he waxes biblical once again, this time from Proverbs 13:15 ...
"The way of the transgressor is hard ... " and adds an afterthought, "more's the pity, more's the pity".
The view behind him looks west along Sacramento Street. The business at right on the corner with the Embarcadero is the Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Co (interestingly its address was 2 Market Street) and a short way up the street is the projecting sign of the Loop Cafe at 6 Sacramento. In the distance past Arnett's fedora is the faint silhouette of the Mark Hopkins hotel atop Nob Hill.
... and Now, you would never guess this view down Sacramento Street is from the same spot. The first part of the original block is now part of the expanded plaza and what remained has been usurped by modern structures including the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the left.
... in 1953 ... Six years after the movie was filmed this vintage photo looking across the Embarcadero and along Market Street was taken from the Ferry Building. It shows (arrowed) the corner where Arnett bought his newspaper. Sacramento angles off to the right of the arrow. By then the streetcars had been replaced by trolleybuses but the streetcar tracks were yet to be removed.
Then ... The movie ends as he strides across the Embarcadero towards the ferry building to catch Southern Pacific's 'Berkeley' ferryboat on the first leg of his return to Reno.
... and Now, the same view today. The historic Ferry Building continues to dominate this prime waterfront spot even though its early days as the world's second-busiest transit terminal (London's Charing Cross station being the first) have long since passed. Since 2003, following a four year 75 million dollar restoration, the building has thrived as a mixed-use property with a world class food market on the entire ground floor and premier office space above.