Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Thieves Highway - Opening Vista

  The movie opens with a view across a rural town referred to in the movie as Fresno, some 190 miles south of San Francisco, but in reality it's Petaluma, another rural town 35 miles north of San Francisco.

Then ...  The large white buildings are the Petaluma Junior High School.  Note also that unusual structure in the distance behind the school.

Thieves Highway - Opening Vista
... and Now,  this recent photo was taken above Bassett Street on La Cresta Drive between Hill Blvd and Haven Drive.  Petaluma High School now occupies the site of the former Junior High after it was relocated.  That distinctive structure in the distance is still there today.

Thieves Highway - Opening Vista
... and Now,  the closer view of the structure (below) reveals it to be the historic granary located near Petaluma's town center.  Since 1959 it has been the home of the Dairymen's Feed and Supply Co-op.  CitySleuth was able to nail this movie location when he spotted the granary out of the corner of his eye while driving south recently past Petaluma on U.S. 101.  Call it serendipity.

Thieves Highway - Opening Vista

The Sniper - Fourth Victim, in the Park

  The sniper has struck yet again; the police are called to a park where the body of a woman has been found.

The Sniper - Fourth Victim, in the Park

 

Then ...  The camera captures this view - it's from near the top of the oldest city park in San Francisco, designated Hill Park in 1867 and dedicated as Buena Vista Park in 1894 (map).  In the days after the 1906 earthquake people would flock to this 589 foot peak on the edge of the Haight to watch the city fires burning below.

The Sniper - Fourth Victim, in the Park

... and Now,  with Potrero Hill in the background and the slopes of nearby Corona Heights in the right foreground, the view from Buena Vista Park looks very similar but for the missing gas holder on Potrero Hill.

The Sniper - Fourth Victim, in the Park

 

  The police finally have a lead - they find the bandage left behind from Miller's burned hand.

The Sniper - Fourth Victim, in the Park

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel

  The Daniels Hotel is the safe house where Bullitt is guarding Johnny Ross.  It was at the time of the movie the Kennedy Hotel located at 226 Embarcadero near the corner of Howard and the Embarcadero.

Then ...  Bullitt and partner Det. Sgt. Carl Stanton (Carl Reidel) leave the hotel and cross Howard Street where it met the Embarcadero.  Piers 18, 20 and 22 recede towards the Bay Bridge.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel
... and Now,  these piers are gone, removed as part of the major waterfront development following the 1989 earthquake.  The Embarcadero is now much wider here so Howard now meets the Embarcadero a little further back, at Steuart.  The view below is from this junction - the Daniels Hotel used to sit over to the left where the tram rails now run down the middle of the Embarcadero.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel

 

Then ...  The night view shows the hotel and the ill-fated double-decker freeway which passed behind the hotel and along the Embarcadero to Broadway.  The freeway was severely damaged in the 1989 earthquake and subsequently removed, along with this city block.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel
... and Now,  the picture below of the parking structure on the corner of the Embarcadero at Howard was taken from the spot where the hotel originally sat.  Before demolition, the freeway passed in front of this building.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel

 

  The view below from the window of Ross's room at the rear of the hotel shows the freeway passing close by.  The same hotel is seen near the end of the car chase ten years earlier in the movie 'The Lineup', viewed from the freeway - see it here.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel

 

  In the Daniels hotel lobby Det. Sgt. Delgetti (Don Gordon) quizzes the hotel manager.

Then ...  The window view shows the Bay Bridge with piers 16 and 18 across the Embarcadero.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel

... and Now,  the same view from in front of the hotel site is no longer blocked by the demolished piers.

Bullitt - Daniels Hotel

Petulia - Shopping in Chinatown

  Petulia, in her 60's minidress, goes shopping.  She is seen coming out of a trendy dress shop and then she stops next door to buy some fruit.

Then ...  The clues to this location were the number 1053 on the door of the dress shop and a telephone number, YU6-0637, on the window.  There's also some Chinese writing (hint, hint - Chinatown?), which a Chinese friend told me said something about flowers ...

Petulia - Shopping in Chinatown
... from the public library ...  I found this entry in the 1964/66 San Francisco street directory which verified that the movie dress shop was actually a flower shop, Lai Wah Florist, at 1053 Stockton Street in Chinatown with the matching telephone number YU6-0637.  The adjacent fruit store was 1055 Stockton on the corner of Jackson - the Orange Land store.

Petulia - Shopping in Chinatown

... and Now,  the current tenant of 1053 Stockton is a pharmacy but the fruit store on the corner at 1055, though under a different name, is still in the produce business and continues to display on the sidewalk.

Petulia - Shopping in Chinatown

Petulia - Tuba

  Archie gets a call to come pick Petulia up.  We see him getting out of his car in this cleverly arranged shot through a stone railing and under a bench.  On the back of the bench are two psychedelic posters of Jerry Garcia, pre-beard - the real Jerry will appear in other scenes later in the movie - and the legs of a man sitting on the bench are whimsically aligned with one of the posters.

Then ...

Petulia - Tuba

  The poster (shown in full below) was for a Grateful Dead Concert at the Fillmore Auditorium on October 21 and 22, 1966.

Petulia - Tuba

... and Now,  the same view is through the railing at the top of the Filbert Steps linking the two-level Montgomery Street - incidentally, right in front of Irene's apartment in the movie Dark Passage.

Petulia - Tuba

 

  Then ...  Petulia still has the tuba she had filched from O'Dell's Pawn Shop earlier that morning (the instrument is referred to as a tuba in the script but reader Karl Gohl points out that it's really a sousaphone,  John Philip Sousa's redesign of a tuba).

Petulia - Tuba

... and Now,  this is the upper level of Montgomery at the top of the linking Filbert steps.

Petulia - Tuba

 

  Archie joins her and we can see down Montgomery towards, at the end of the street, Julius Castle, the iconic 1922 restaurant.  The bench in the foreground plastered with the Jerry Garcia posters is the same one shown above.

Then ...

Petulia - Tuba

... and Now,  Julius Castle is still there but it closed its doors as recently as January 2009.  The Filbert Steps continue up to Coit Tower at far left.

Petulia - Tuba

 

  A bus arrives and Petulia climbs in, leaving Archie with instructions to return the instrument to its rightful owners, the Companions Of The Evergreen, -  " ... it's a lodge on Grant Street" -  but as we who care shall see, the lodge was not on Grant at all.

Petulia - Tuba

Click in this box to search this site ...