Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Petulia - South Of The Border

  David and Petulia have sailed their yacht to Peru and we see them relaxing at a marina somewhere south of the border while a radio station chatters away in Spanish in the background.


Then ...  But sombreroed locals and a few potted palms dotted about didn't fool CitySleuth.  This scene was filmed at Kappas Marina in Sausalito (map), just north of San Francisco!  Check out what appears to be a causeway at upper right and a mountain slope behind it in the composited panorama below.

... and Now,  the causeway is Highway 101 crossing Richardson Bay and the mountain, fully revealed under clear skies, is Mount Tamalpais.  The hills behind Sausalito are in the left background.


Then ... Here's an aerial photo of Kappas Marina taken in 1968, the year Petulia was filmed.

... and Now,  compare it with the marina today, now called Richardson Bay Marina, as captured in the Google satellite view below.  The marina has been renovated and expanded and a houseboat community, retaining the Kappas Marina name, has been built between it and the adjacent Highway 101.


     Below deck, David is overcome with self-recrimination.  "Only a crazy man can hit a woman ... or a coward".  He commits never to do it again and Petulia, believing him or not, forgives him.

Impact - Bayview Apartments

  Walter Williams (Brian Donlevy), a hardnosed, successful businessman, lives in the Bayview Apartments with his wife Irene (Helen Walker), over whom he shamelessly fawns.  The apartment shows up a number of times throughout the movie.

Then ...  A visitor drives up a steep hill and turns into the apartment courtyard.

... and Now,  the steep hill is Sacramento Street and the apartments are the Brocklebank Apartments at 1000 Mason Street (map), former home of San Francisco's iconic Herb Caen.  Another famous resident of the Brocklebank was the enigmatic Madeleine in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Vertigo (seen here).  The Fairmont Hotel is on the right.


Then ...  When the visitor enters the lobby, we wonder if this was filmed inside the Brocklebank?

... and Now,  the answer, based on the real lobby below, is no.  Evidently a studio set was used but some similarities are there - in particular, the corridor with four steps leading from the lobby.  There was an elevator on the right in the movie set (above) but in real life the courtyard is on the other side of this wall.


Then ...  Inside the Williams' apartment, the window view behind Walter is of the Bay Bridge where it meets Yerba Buena Island (map).  This again was a studio set, using a photograph to represent the view.

... and Now,  the east facing windows of the Brocklebank did indeed have a view of the bridge back then, before today's Financial District urban jungle blocked it, but the angle doesn't correspond to the movie view above.  That photo was taken from further north, most likely from Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, like the recent one below.


Then ...  But when we are shown this view looking down to the courtyard from another of the apartment's windows, it's the real thing.

... and Now,  the same view from ground level, unchanged in 60 years but for the lamp-posts.  The building kitty-korner across Mason Street is the Pacific Union Club, also featured in Vertigo as Madeleine's husband's club (see it here).

... The Brocklebank Apartments today ...  This fine 1926 building is testament to the days when class informed architectural design.  It was designed, as too was the nearby Huntington Hotel, by the architects Weeks and Day.

Experiment In Terror - Parking Garage

Then ...  Kelly drives to work, heads down a narrow alley, and pulls into her downtown garage.

... another look ...  Below is another view of the alley seen later in the movie.  Recognizing the building across the street at the end as the distinctive Hallidie Building at 130 Sutter Street led CitySleuth to the garage site, which as it turns out has since been built over.  The 1962 San Francisco street directory revealed that it was the Lick Garage at 55 Lick Place, an alley between Post and Sutter. 

... and Now,  the garage and the alley were demolished in the early 1980s to make way for a shopping mall, the Crocker Galleria (map).  The matching photo below was taken from where the garage would have been - the ground level is a few feet lower and the line of shops on the right side sit astride where the narrow alley, no more than 30 feet wide, used to run.  The Hallidie Building, still there across Sutter Street, is currently hiding behind scaffolding.


A vintage photo ...  This 1950 photograph showed the entrance to Lick Place at Sutter Street.  The classy building on the left is the Hunter-Dulin Building at 111 Sutter.  The alley side of this building is on the right in both of the 'Then'  images above.

 ... and Now,  the Hunter-Dulin Building is still there but the narrow alley and the two-storey building beyond it have been replaced by The Crocker Galleria.


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

Vertigo - Look-alike

  After recovering from his melancholia Scottie drifts around town imagining every blonde he sees is Madeleine.  He can't help himself from revisiting Podesta Baldocchi's flower shop, the same one she had once led him to, at 224 Grant Avenue near Union Square (map).


Then ...  He can't believe what he sees -  a woman in a green dress is walking towards him ... and she's a dead ringer for Madeleine (surprise - also played by Kim Novak).

... and Now,  the same view today looking south from in front of 224 Grant is remarkably similar although not surprisingly the building across the street on the corner of Post Street no longer houses the Rexall's Owl Pharmacy.


Then ...  She pauses with her friends in front of Scottie.  He probably didn't notice that her dress matched those two Podesta Baldocchi vehicles, an example of Hitchcock's detailed attention to color.

... and Now,  the alley across the street is Campton Place.  Shreve and Co. the jewelers occupied the building to the left back then and still does today.


Then ... As she continues on along Grant Scottie finds himself drawn in once again, unable to resist the urge to follow her.

... and Now,  the view today has hardly changed, well ... vehicles excepted.

Click in this box to search this site ...