Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

D.O.A. - "I wanna report a murder"

  As the movie credits roll the camera follows Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) as he walks into a public building.

Then ...  The scene was filmed in the Los Angeles City Hall.  The 454 ft high art deco building has been featured in many movies over the years and its iconic image has been on the L.A. Police Department badges since 1940.

D.O.A. - "I wanna report a murder"

... and Now,  the imposing structure continues to serve as the center of the city's government (below), flanked by palm trees, symbolic of its Southern California location.

D.O.A. - "I wanna report a murder"

 

  In two long continuous takes the camera follows Bigelow until he reaches his destination - the Homicide Division.  There follows perhaps the most dramatic opening lines ever ...

     "I wanna report a murder"

     "Where was this murder committed?"

     "San Francisco, last night"

     "Who was murdered?"

     "I was"

 

  Bigelow starts to explain and the director flashes back to reveal his bizzare tale ...

D.O.A. - "I wanna report a murder"

The Lineup - Sanders' Residence

  One down, two to go.  The men on a mission next go in search of the flatware brought into the country by passenger Sanders who lives at 2090 Jackson Street.

Then ...  The house used for this scene is indeed that at 2090 Jackson (map).  This is the Whittier Mansion, built in 1896 by the man who became head of P.G & E., it has been home in the past to the Deutsche Reich consul and the California Historical Society.  It is said by some to be haunted.  Perhaps by the victim described below?

The Lineup - Sanders' Residence
... and Now,  This house and its neighbors look the same today.  Sorely in need of a paint job, though.  This is the corner with Laguna in the tony Pacific Heights neighborhood.

The Lineup - Sanders' Residence

 

  Dancer meets the butler in the house and tries to persuade him to let him borrow the flatware for a short while.  When the butler resists, calling for Mr. Sanders, Dancer shoots him, the hit cleverly filmed reflected in a mirror, and takes off with the flatware and the drugs hidden inside.  A case of the butler getting it instead of doing it?

The Lineup - Sanders' Residence

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

  The drab urban surroundings of the Produce Market were punctuated by splashes of color on the sides of stacked crates.  These labels today have become collectibles.

Then ...  Mike Figlia is standing in front of his business at 364 Washington Street next to a stack of crates of Cape Cod cranberries.

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

... and here is that same Honker Brand label in full color, featuring flying geese.

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

 

Then ...  Nick walks past a stack of Melo-Glow melon crates.  This was a brand name of the Half Moon Fruit and Produce Co. whose building was used for Mike Figlia's business ...

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

... and below is a similar Melo-Glow brand label.

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

 

  Let's walk down crate label memory lane and look at more, these from the businesses seen in the movie at and near the Washington - Davis junction.  Below are one from John DeMartini and one from Scatena Galli - ("Essangee", get it?) ...

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels
... and these two from Levy & Zentner.

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

 

  But wait till you see these ...  the F. H. Hogue Co. wasn't averse to using sex to push their products ...

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels
... and this one - thankfully the red-faced redhead was wearing underwear.

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels
  But this one tops them all!

Thieves' Highway - Crate Labels

Petulia - Companions of the Evergreen Lodge

  Archie dutifully tries to return the stolen tuba to the address given him by Petulia - "... the Companions of the Evergreen Lodge on Grant Street".  He finds the place but can't get a response at the front door.

Then ...  Assuming she meant Grant Avenue, she was close - this location is at 782 Sacramento Street, near the corner with Grant Avenue.

Petulia - Companions of the Evergreen Lodge
... and Now,  the view east down Sacramento from Grant today.  The 782 entrance door is now gated.  As is the case with many parts of Chinatown there has been little change over the last half century, one of the reasons the neighborhood continues to hold onto its character.  May it stay that way.

Petulia - Companions of the Evergreen Lodge

The Sniper - Amusement Park

  Miller is next seen at an amusement park.  One might expect director Dmytryck would pick San Francisco's Playland At The Beach for these scenes but no, he chose The Pike at Long Beach in southern California.  The reason soon becomes apparent ...

Then ...   Miller can't resist the shooting gallery.  The Double Wheel ride towers over him in the background.

The Sniper - Amusement Park

... a vintage postcard image ...  the Pike, open since 1902, was closed down in 1979 but this image shows the Double Wheel ride during its heyday.

The Sniper - Amusement Park

 

Then ...  The Cyclone Racer rollercoaster is behind him as he passes the Laff In The Dark ride, a main attraction at The Pike.

The Sniper - Amusement Park

... from the 1950s ...  a vintage photo of the ride in full color.

The Sniper - Amusement Park

 

  Below, Miller can't resist this one - an opportunity to vent his misogynistic feelings (click image to enlarge).

 

Then (1964) ...  The Pike amusement park, in yellow on the 1964 map below, extended along Seaside Blvd between Magnolia Pier and Rainbow Pier (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  land reclamation and redevelopment has swallowed up both of these old piers.  The Rainbow Pier is now the site of the Long Beach Convention Center.  The site of the original Pike is overlayed on this ma (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  today there is a new Pike at Rainbow Harbor, a development completed in 2004 (map).  A shadow of its former self, it is primarily a retail/dining/cinema complex.  In a nod to the past it has a Ferris Wheel, a Carousel and a footbridge with a design that invokes the original Cyclone Racer roller coaster.

The Sniper - Amusement Park

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