Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Petulia - The Danner Residence

  CitySleuth had fun finding this one.  There's a flashback in the movie, lasting no more than four seconds where we see Petulia's father-in-law Mr Danner (Joseph Cotten) and his wife in a spectactular living room, presumably at their home.  But where was this house?  There are no clues whatsoever in the movie other than that one brief shot.  But fear not - CitySleuth tracked it down, it's in Sausalito, and he was recently there.

Then ...  The striking feature of the room was this remarkable fanshell window.

... and Now,  the room has to this day remained largely unchanged, obvious exceptions being a window wall in the far right corner and the refinished fireplace hood on the right.

... and Now, from outside,  the house is well-hidden on a hillside but the distinctive window is just visible from the street below.


    CitySleuth is withholding the home's street address to respect owner privacy but a hillside view of the house is shown below.  From its vantage point high above Bridgeway between Atwood Avenue and San Carlos Avenue (map), it enjoys a sweeping view across the Bay towards San Francisco.  The house was originally built in the late 19th century by Melville Attwood, an immigrant mining engineer from England, then remodelled to its present form in 1961 by French architect Walter Nemhauser, a former owner.


    So how was the house found?  Serendipitously the movie DVD's accompanying documentary Petulia: The Uncommon Movie included footage of the film crew setting up in a house "somewhere In the suburbs of San Francisco", according to the narrator.  It's clearly not Petulia's house but CitySleuth surmised it could be the Danner house.  Brief window views in the documentary suggested Sausalito and studying hillside photos of east-facing houses pinpointed the site.

... on location ...  The crew carries massive lighting fixtures into the house along a suspended walkway.

... and Now,  here's the walkway, still there.  Its railing design invokes a marine rope theme.


... on location ...  The lights are then set up above the living room.  This is the window view that led CitySleuth to Sausalito.

... and Now,  the same view, looking south along the Sausalito shoreline (the fanshell window is downstairs at lower left).


... on location ...  Here's director Richard Lester and Joseph Cotten admiring a view of San Francisco across the bay.  They are on the same balcony seen above - note that the little shoreline point matches up, one of the clues in pinpointing the location.


... on location ...  Look at this fascinating shot below - what on earth is that circular hole they are filming through?  (That by the way in the corner is the camera setting up to film the brief movie shot).

... and Now,  it turns out to be the small oculus at the radial 'center' of the fanshell window! (see the window at the top of this post).  The shot above was filmed from the east balcony looking through it across the living room.  Neat.  Here's the matching photo, below, showing some changes to the fireplace.


  It's puzzling why so much cost and effort was expended for a mere four seconds of footage.  Most likely it was filmed as a longer scene (Mrs Danner is speaking in the brief shot but there's no dialog heard) that ended up on the cutting room floor.


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Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport

  Bullitt now knows that the murdered state's witness wasn't mobster Johnny Ross after all, it was Albert Renick (Felice Orlandi), a car salesman who Ross had paid to take his place to take the heat from his pursuers.  Following up, Bullitt finds out that Ross is at San Francisco airport (map) about to take a Pan Am flight out of the country under Renick's name.

Then ...  Bullitt rushes to the Pan Am terminal at the airport, in the South Terminal.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport
  ... from the 1960s ...  this vintage photo shows the departure level of the South Terminal as seen in the movie view above but viewed from the opposite direction.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport

... and Now,  the airport has changed greatly since then but the terminal is still there, now called Terminal 1, although it has itself seen many changes over the years and is now used for domestic flights only.  Here's how it looks curbside today (below).

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport


Then ...  Director Yates used hundreds of extras for the airport scenes.  Here are some of them in the check-in area.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport
... and Now,  Terminal 1's check-in area today.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport



Then ...  San Francisco airport in 1968 had only two terminals as seen in the aerial photo below.  Central Terminal was built in the mid 1950s, South Terminal in the 1960s.


Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport
... and Now,  Today there are four terminals.  South Terminal is now known as Terminal 1, Central Terminal became Terminal 2, Terminal 3 was added in the late 1970s and the International Terminal opened in 2000.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport


  Ross's plane has already left the gate but Bullitt orders it to return to the terminal. As the passengers file out Johnny Ross (the real one, played by Pat Renella), in desperation, jumps from the plane to the tarmac as Bullitt closes in.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport


  Bullitt follows him and a night-time chase across the runways ensues that is as daring and exciting as the movie's better-known car chase.  Below, Bullitt ducks under a passing Boeing 707 to the soundtrack accompaniment of screaming engines.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport


  After a harrowing exchange of gunfire Ross runs back into the terminal.  Bullitt catches up with him and much to the consternation of the teeming crowd finally gets his man.

Bullitt - Showdown At The Airport

The Lady From Shanghai - Acapulco - Beaches

  On the way to San Francisco the Circe puts in at Acapulco.  Filming here commenced mid October 1946 in old Acapulco and the Caleta Peninsula on the west side of Acapulco Bay and in the Puerto Marques Diamante area just to the east (see the map below).


Then ...  Elsa and her husband Arthur Bannister (Everett Sloane) treat their passengers to a picnic on the beach.  The Circe is moored behind them as Bannister, who walks with the aid of canes, is helped ashore (below) by his steward Sidney Broome (Ted de Corsia). Behind them is Bannister's law partner George Grisby (Glenn Anders) who had joined them in Acapulco.  This is the beach at Puerto Marques, at location A on the map above.

...  and Now,  the recent view shows some changes but, compared to the main bay around the coast, as we shall see, this one is still relatively undeveloped.


... on location ...  this promotional movie still of the beautiful Miss Hayworth was taken on the beach at Puerto Marques between takes - she is wearing the same outfit as in the movie scene above.


Then ...  The picnic party provisions are brought ashore but this is a different beach, Revolcadero beach just east of Puerto Marques (location B on the map above).

...  and Now,  the same mountain profile can be seen beyond the Fairmont Pierre Marques hotel in this recent photo taken from Revolcadero beach.


Then ...  They canoe through the mangroves in the Puerto Marques tropical lagoon which connects to Revolcadero beach.

The Lady From Shanghai -  Acapulco - Beaches

...  and Now,  the lagoon has been mostly taken over by vegetation but tourists can still navigate it on high-speed adventure boats.  Below is a capture from a promotional video.

The Lady From Shanghai -  Acapulco - Beaches


Then ...  Later O'Hara and Grisby go off on a walk.  Below they crest the hill above the twin Caleta (furthest) and Caletilla (nearest) beaches (location C on the map above).

The Lady From Shanghai -  Acapulco - Beaches

... in the 1960's ...  this postcard image shows the beaches from near the same spot as the movie view.  The large hotel in the background, the Grand Meigas, was opened in 1949 three years after the filming and is still there today.

...  and Now,  a recent aerial photo of these same two beaches shows how much the Caleta Peninsula has developed since the 1940s.  The two images above were taken from close to the tall apartment building seen below in the bottom left quadrant.

D.O.A. - The Showdown

  Bigelow has found out that it was Halliday who had poisoned him and rushes to his office in the Bradbury Building (described earlier here) to confront him.

Below, he looks up and sees that Halliday's office lights are still on (click image to enlarge).

Then ... As he makes his way across the street we see those same windows lit up but, hang on, this is not the Bradbury Building ... it's actually the Million Dollar Building (that's the Million Dollar Theater in front) at 307 Broadway and 3rd Street, directly opposite the Bradbury Building (map).

... and Now,  the Million Dollar Building as it is today (below).  The theater is still in business, catering to a Spanish-speaking audience, but the offices above it were recently converted to residential units.


Then ...  But as he enters the building ...

... and Now  ... we see that this really is the Bradbury Building, at the 3rd Street entrance near the corner of Broadway (map).  Note the external fire pipe down the right side of the entrance - still there after more than 60 years!



Then ...  Halliday, in the same overcoat he wore when he doctored Bigelow's drink in San Francisco, leaves his Bradbury office just as Bigelow approaches on the 3rd floor balcony (take a moment and savor the dramatic shadows of the railing projected across the balcony floor.  Isn't noir wonderful?).

... a similar view ...  this undated photo captured a very similar view.


Then ...  In the ensuing exchange of gunfire Bigelow prevails, finally achieving the redemption of a punitive but successful end to his last furious hours.

... and Now,  the same view today looks as it always did, testament to the lasting legacy of a classic building, incidentally designed not by a trained architect but by a draftsman who worked for Lewis Bradbury.

  The movie ends as it starts, at the homicide department where the rapt officers have been hanging on to every word of Bigelow's incredible tale.  His final word is "...P-Paula ..." then he drops to the ground.

      "How shall I make out the report on him, Captain?"

      "Better make it -  Dead On Arrival"

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