Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Impact - Larkspur - Walter Lies Low

  The two-timing Irene has been arrested and accused of Walter's murder while the police continue to look for Torrence.  Walter follows the news in the papers but decides to lie low in Larkspur under an assumed name and let his wife suffer in jail.

Then ...  Marsha suggests he room in her house next to the garage and It soon becomes clear that they are falling for each other.  In this scene they chat on the porch of her house, in real life the home of garage owner Hil Probert, at 234 Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur (map).  That's Hil's greenhouse next to the house.

... and Now,  the house today is the Tavern at Lark Creek restaurant (formerly the Lark Creek Inn) and the greenhouse and surrounding garden is now a parking lot.

... and Now,  here's a wider view of the house.  The newer structure in the front was appended in the early 1970s when the Probert house became a restaurant.  The garage site, described in the previous location, is next door to the left, just off the picture.


Then ...  Walter readily adapts to quiet rural town life, even joining the local Volunteer Fire Brigade.  Below, he attends the local church, St. Patrick's, which faced onto King Street at the corner of  Locust (map).  For this scene the director chose the older, quainter church over the newer St. Patrick's that was built eight years earlier at the end of the block at Magnolia.

... and Now,  the old church has been replaced by St. Patrick's Parochial School, seen below.  A good cause, yes, but what a pity such a picturesque structure was abandoned.


Then ...  They take a stroll across a bridge at a nearby lake.  Did I say nearby?  This scene was filmed in Southern California at the Corriganville Movie Ranch, an outdoors spread in Simi Valley including extensive Western town sets and used by countless movies from 1937 - 1965.  The lake was known as Robin Hood lake after the Robin Hood movies filmed there.

... and Now, the Western town on the ranch today has reverted to foundations and hiking trails and is open to the public as Corriganville Park.  The cement-lined man-made lake, located on the Corriganville loop trail near the 118 freeway (map), is now dry and exposed.  The bridge is gone but the supports are still there.  If Marsha and Walter were re-creating the above scene below, they would be approaching from the left.


Then ...  In this pastoral setting Walter admits to her that he is married but before she can ask how he ended up in Larkspur the town's fire horn (the real one) blares out, beckoning the volunteer brigade.  Note the large rock across the lake ...

... and Now,  the rock, now with a safety railing, used to be called the stunt rock.

... a vintage photo...  here's a circa 1950s shot of Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, taken from the same spot, again showing the stunt rock across the lake.


  In this not-to-scale map of the Corriganville movie ranch in its heyday, the lake, which was a mile from the Western town, is sketched in over to the right (click on the map to enlarge it).

Experiment In Terror - Powder Room Encounter

  Kelly and a coworker at their bank go out to lunch together.  She doesn't know it yet but she's about to come face-to-face with her tormentor ...

Then ...  They leave the bank by a side door and cross over the alley to the Orange Grove, a restaurant at 57 Lick Place, an alley described here in an earlier post.  At the end of the alley across Sutter is the steel and glass Hallidie Building at 130 Sutter Street.

... and Now,  Lick Place has been replaced by the Crocker Galleria mall (map).  The mall parallels Montgomery Street between Sutter and Post.  Below is the same view as above, except that Lick Place used to run at street level where those stores on the right are now, so the mall is offset some and a few steps below street level.  The restaurant used to be just beyond the two foreground planters, at street level.  Facing us, the Hallidie Building is currently being renovated behind wood and scaffolding.

   Here's the 1962 Street Directory entry confirming the address and name of the restaurant.


... in 1964 ...  This vintage photo taken from Lick Place (you can see its street sign) shows a wider view of the Hallidie Building two years after the movie was released.  Designed by Willis Polk, the 1918 structure was the second building in the nation to feature a glass curtain wall.

... and Now ...  The building is currently hidden behind scaffolding but here, looking east along Sutter Street, is how it looked just before then.


  As Kelly enters the Orange Grove we see a reverse view through its front window of the Hunter-Dulin building across Lick Place.  But CitySleuth thinks this is a studio set, in part because the patterned wallpaper and tables close to the window aren't seen through the window from the outside in the Then image above.


  She retires to the powder room and gets the fright of her life when in walks Red Lynch, disguised as a doddering old lady.  At gunpoint, he tells her the time has come to steal the money from the bank later that week.

The Lady From Shanghai - On The Lam - Grant Avenue from California to Clay

Then ...  O'Hara passes by the China Herald office and we see the west side of the 600 block of Grant Avenue filmed looking south from the Sacramento Street junction toward the Sing Fat building at California Street (map).  (Oh no, not another Chop Suey restaurant!).

... and Now,  interestingly, the scene above must have been filmed in the studio with the backgound  projected behind a foreground set of the window otherwise the angle constraint inside a store would not have revealed that extended street view..  Welles often used such combinational tricks for a richer visual effect.


Then ...  O'Hara passes a corner store but which junction is this?  Let's look at the clues - the lamppost tells us he's on Grant Avenue, and he's crossing over cable car tracks. That's a start.

... a vintage photo ...  this 1935 photo nails it - note the identifying corner with checkerboard tiles.  The store is at 801 Grant on the northwest corner at Clay (map).  We can also see the low rooftop opposite where the camera for the movie view was positioned, behind the adjacent street lantern dominating the foreground above.

... and Now,  the same corner taken recently.  See how its awning wraps around the lamppost, as it did then.  There's no cable car line on Clay now, it was shut down in the 1940s.

... another vintage photo ...  just to be really thorough, this 1940s photo captured the same corner, viewed the other way, with a cable car passing by.  The store with the checkerboard tiles is at left and the (camera) rooftop is across Grant.


Then ... O'Hara continues north from Clay, closely pursued by Elsa.  These two captures show each of them near the Chinese Pagoda, a cocktail and cafe place at 830 Grant (map).  For the Elsa shot Welles used the same window-in-the-foreground studio trick as above at the top of this post.  (In a variation on the theme, the Chop Suey on the Almond Cookies sign is a sundae ... ugh!).

... and Now, this recent photo spans both of the backgrounds above.  Elsa was opposite what is now the Peking Bazaar and O'Hara was passing an optical store now occupied by Dee Dee Facial at 814 Grant.

Portrait In Black - The Cabot Residence

  Sheila and Matthew Cabot live in a fine home with sweeping views of the north bay on so-called Billionaires Row in the swanky Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Then ...  The home is 2898 Broadway at Baker Street (map).  It was built in Dutch Colonial style in 1899 by Walter D. Bliss, the architect who designed several landmark San Francisco buildings including the St. Francis Hotel and the Geary Theater.

... and Now,  other than the trees the house has not changed in over fifty years.


Then ... Baker Street from here plunges past the side of the house so steeply that cars are prohibited and pedestrians like this mailman have to deal with an interminably long stairway.  Classic San Francisco.  The view from here includes the Palace of Fine Arts at far left ... well, it used to ...

... and Now,  because unrestrained tree growth has since obliterated the view.  CitySleuth wishes he could change this, and not only because it makes his job harder.  Check out this other example, just one of many, at Pioneer Park in the 1950 movie Woman On The Run, seen here.


  The exterior scenes at the home were real locations but the interiors were filmed on a lavish studio soundstage, as here where Sheila stands at the top of the grand stairway leading up from the foyer ...


Then ...  but actual window views were created on the set by use of a painting or photograph for locational verity.  Below, Cabot's business associate Howard Mason (Richard Basehart) looks out of a window and across the bay.  Can you guess what that thin horizontal line is against the distant hills (no peeking below ...)?

... and Now,  CitySleuth was able to access a nearby house and took this matching shot.  The eye is swept across the red-roofed buildings of the former Presidio military base and over the bay to the Marin Headlands.  The thin line in the Then image above is the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge!  Interesting that the director downplayed its presence.


Then ...  There's another window view as Cabot through his binoculars watches one of his ships heading out to sea.  His bitter complaints of its delayed passage endears him neither to Mason nor the watching audience.

... and Now,  this is the spit of land just west of the Golden Gate Bridge that terminates at the Point Bonita lighthouse (map, wherein the red pin is Point Bonita, the blue one is Cabot's residence).

Click in this box to search this site ...