Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Vertigo - At The Coast

  They drive from the redwoods to the coast where Madeleine recalls dream-like recollections of visions of her death while Scottie desperately tries to make sense of it all.  The coastal scenes were filmed at Cypress Point on the 17 mile Drive near Pebble Beach and Carmel (map).

  The scene was put together using location footage interspersed with studio closeups using a projected background (for optimum lighting and dialog).  The closeups included a moveable tree (below, behind Scottie in a studio shot) which was also used at the location site to create seamless continuity.

 

Then ...  The same tree is seen below in this location shot.

... and Now,  in the the same view today there's an unsightly fence to keep the multitude off the rocks.

 

Then ...  Madeleine and Scottie however are not so constrained, but stunt doubles were used for this risky scramble down the rocks.

... and Now

... and Now,  The panorama below of this cove can only hint at the pristine beauty of this special part of the world when experienced in real life.

 

... On location ...  Here's a photo taken during setup for the movie shoot.  Note the 'moveable' tree and also the giant fan which tossed Madeleine's scarf around for added drama during the scene.

Petulia - Petulia's Residence

  This one is especially interesting.  For the home of Petulia and David Danner director Lester combined two separate locations several miles apart and even duplicated one of the structures to achieve continuity between the sites.  Below, Archie visits the home and we see him arriving at the carport.

Then ...  The carport has a lovely cross-bay view to Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge, probably why this location was chosen.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence
... and Now,  the carport was at 401 Belvedere Avenue on the island of Belvedere right where Pine Avenue joins it (map).  Below, the only part of it remaining is the concrete pad (seen under the car's rear wheels above) and exposed foundations down the hill.  401 Belvedere has been a derelict lot for decades.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

 

Then ...  In a later scene Petulia and her young Mexican friend Oliver exit the house and approach her Rolls-Royce parked in the carport  (the entrance gate, below, can also be seen at the far right of the movie capture above).

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence
... and Now,  this scene was filmed at this same roadside spot at 401 Belvedere Avenue.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

... on location ...  The cast and crew are seen in the carport during the filming of the scene.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

 

Then ...  In the movie the carport connects down the hillside to the house by way of a funicular platform.  Below is a view of the house from the bottom end of the funicular ...

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence
   ... and here's the top of the funicular, looking up the hill.  Note the structure next to it to the right, presumably the carport.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

... and Now,  but this house is located miles away, across the bay from the carport!  CitySleuth is refraining from giving the actual street address from owner privacy considerations but a Google satellite view of the house is shown below.  It is one of four homes in a private 38 acre estate on Paradise Drive in Tiburon, overlooking Keil Cove (map).  (Clearly then, the car port at the top of the funicular duplicated, for locational continuity, the real carport across the bay.  It's a funicular to nowhere!).

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

 

Then ...  Several scenes at the home were used throughout the movie.  Below, David enjoys the pool while Petulia takes his picture.  The pool is clearly visible at the rear of the house in the Now photo above.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

 

Then ...  In another scene (below) the house is viewed from the beach at Keil Cove, perched above a lake.  The small pier and gazebo were built for the movie by the Warner Brothers studio.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence
... and Now,  the house is almost hidden by trees but clearly the same one and the pier and gazebo are still there.

Petulia -  Petulia's Residence

Bullitt - Hall Of Justice

  At the the Hall Of Justice Chalmers confronts Bullitt over the death of his State's witness Johnny Ross.  They are then alerted to a message just in, a shocker revealing that the dead man wasn't Ross at all - he was a car salesman from Chicago by the name of Albert Renick (Felice Orlandi) who had been set up by the real Ross to take the heat of his pursuers.  What's more, the murder victim at the Thunderbolt Hotel was Renick's wife, killed by Ross to keep her quiet.

Then ...  The confrontation takes place at the ambulance entrance on Harriet Street near Ahern Way on the east side of the Hall Of Justice  (map).  The I-80 flyover crossing 6th Street is seen behind Chalmers.

Bullitt -  Hall Of Justice
... and Now,  the same view today.

Bullitt -  Hall Of Justice

 

  Below is the  Hall of Justice, at 850 Bryant Street between 6th and 7th Streets.  This view of the drab concrete structure looks west along Bryant Street from 6th Street.  It was built in the early 1960s to replace its predecessor which used to be at Portsmouth Square.  You can see the old Hall Of Justice here in a scene from the 1958 movie The Lineup.

Bullitt -  Hall Of Justice

The Lady From Shanghai - Errol Flynn and the yacht Circe

  O'Hara joins Elsa and her husband Bannister as a crewmember on their voyage to San Francisco by way of Acapulco.  O'Hara, in voiceover, admits "Well, it's clear now I was chasin' a married woman, but that's not the way I want you to look at it".  The yacht is named Circe, after the Greek goddess who was described by Homer as 'the loveliest of all immortals' and who turned her enemies into animals using magic potions.  In other words a femme fatale.  Below, O'Hara steers the yacht while Elsa, in saucy nautical garb, looking extremely femme and certainly not (well, not yet) fatale, relaxes with her pet dog.

 

  While scouting locations in Acapulco Orson Welles had met Errol Flynn who happened to be there with his recently acquired luxury yacht Zaca.  Welles contracted to use the Zaca for the two month movie shoot.  Flynn captained the yacht himself - one can only imagine what life aboard must have been like with these two renowned high-living, hell-raising, larger-than-life characters.  Incidentally, Elsa's dog seen above was Flynn's pet dachshund.  During filming, on October 17 1946, Welles and Errol Flynn (with second wife Norah Eddington, below) celebrated Rita Hayworth's 28th birthday on board the Zaca.

  And here's a color photo of the debonair Mr. Flynn taken in the same cabin.

 

  Coincidentally, the Zaca, a 118 foot gaff-rigged schooner, was built at the Nunes Brothers boatyard which will be seen later in the movie when the storyline moves on to Sausalito.  In 1959 Errol Flynn, prematurely aged by a life of excess, died of a heart attack at age 50 in Vancouver while he was trying to sell his yacht to a Canadian businessman.  He must have taken with him many happy memories of his time aboard the Zaca, reportedly his pride and joy, seen below under full sail.

 

  After Flynn's death the yacht deteriorated badly over the years then underwent a stem-to-stern 'money-no-object'  resurrection by the Italian art patron Roberto Memmo making her one of the most spectacular yachts in the Mediterranean, with a Picasso hanging in her salon.  Check out excerpts from the video documentary 'In The Wake Of The Zaca' by Luther Greene telling the full story of the yacht's fascinating birth, life and rebirth here.

 

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