Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Experiment In Terror - Powder Room Encounter

  Kelly and a coworker at their bank go out to lunch together.  She doesn't know it yet but she's about to come face-to-face with her tormentor ...

Then ...  They leave the bank by a side door and cross over the alley to the Orange Grove, a restaurant at 57 Lick Place, an alley described here in an earlier post.  At the end of the alley across Sutter is the steel and glass Hallidie Building at 130 Sutter Street.

... and Now,  Lick Place has been replaced by the Crocker Galleria mall (map).  The mall parallels Montgomery Street between Sutter and Post.  Below is the same view as above, except that Lick Place used to run at street level where those stores on the right are now, so the mall is offset some and a few steps below street level.  The restaurant used to be just beyond the two foreground planters, at street level.  Facing us, the Hallidie Building is currently being renovated behind wood and scaffolding.

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


... in 1964 ...  This vintage photo taken from Lick Place (you can see its street sign) shows a wider view of the Hallidie Building two years after the movie was released.  Designed by Willis Polk, the 1918 structure was the second building in the nation to feature a glass curtain wall.

... and Now ...  The building is currently hidden behind scaffolding but here, looking east along Sutter Street, is how it looked just before then.


  As Kelly enters the Orange Grove we see a reverse view through its front window of the Hunter-Dulin building across Lick Place.  But CitySleuth thinks this is a studio set, in part because the patterned wallpaper and tables close to the window aren't seen through the window from the outside in the Then image above.


  She retires to the powder room and gets the fright of her life when in walks Red Lynch, disguised as a doddering old lady.  At gunpoint, he tells her the time has come to steal the money from the bank later that week.

The Lady From Shanghai - On The Lam - Grant Avenue from California to Clay

Then ...  O'Hara passes by the China Herald office and we see the west side of the 600 block of Grant Avenue filmed looking south from the Sacramento Street junction toward the Sing Fat building at California Street (map).  (Oh no, not another Chop Suey restaurant!).

... and Now,  interestingly, the scene above must have been filmed in the studio with the backgound  projected behind a foreground set of the window otherwise the angle constraint inside a store would not have revealed that extended street view..  Welles often used such combinational tricks for a richer visual effect.


Then ...  O'Hara passes a corner store but which junction is this?  Let's look at the clues - the lamppost tells us he's on Grant Avenue, and he's crossing over cable car tracks. That's a start.

... a vintage photo ...  this 1935 photo nails it - note the identifying corner with checkerboard tiles.  The store is at 801 Grant on the northwest corner at Clay (map).  We can also see the low rooftop opposite where the camera for the movie view was positioned, behind the adjacent street lantern dominating the foreground above.

... and Now,  the same corner taken recently.  See how its awning wraps around the lamppost, as it did then.  There's no cable car line on Clay now, it was shut down in the 1940s.

... another vintage photo ...  just to be really thorough, this 1940s photo captured the same corner, viewed the other way, with a cable car passing by.  The store with the checkerboard tiles is at left and the (camera) rooftop is across Grant.


Then ... O'Hara continues north from Clay, closely pursued by Elsa.  These two captures show each of them near the Chinese Pagoda, a cocktail and cafe place at 830 Grant (map).  For the Elsa shot Welles used the same window-in-the-foreground studio trick as above at the top of this post.  (In a variation on the theme, the Chop Suey on the Almond Cookies sign is a sundae ... ugh!).

... and Now, this recent photo spans both of the backgrounds above.  Elsa was opposite what is now the Peking Bazaar and O'Hara was passing an optical store now occupied by Dee Dee Facial at 814 Grant.

Portrait In Black - The Cabot Residence

  Sheila and Matthew Cabot live in a fine home with sweeping views of the north bay on so-called Billionaires Row in the swanky Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Then ...  The home is 2898 Broadway at Baker Street (map).  It was built in Dutch Colonial style in 1899 by Walter D. Bliss, the architect who designed several landmark San Francisco buildings including the St. Francis Hotel and the Geary Theater.

... and Now,  other than the trees the house has not changed in over fifty years.


Then ... Baker Street from here plunges past the side of the house so steeply that cars are prohibited and pedestrians like this mailman have to deal with an interminably long stairway.  Classic San Francisco.  The view from here includes the Palace of Fine Arts at far left ... well, it used to ...

... and Now,  because unrestrained tree growth has since obliterated the view.  CitySleuth wishes he could change this, and not only because it makes his job harder.  Check out this other example, just one of many, at Pioneer Park in the 1950 movie Woman On The Run, seen here.


  The exterior scenes at the home were real locations but the interiors were filmed on a lavish studio soundstage, as here where Sheila stands at the top of the grand stairway leading up from the foyer ...


Then ...  but actual window views were created on the set by use of a painting or photograph for locational verity.  Below, Cabot's business associate Howard Mason (Richard Basehart) looks out of a window and across the bay.  Can you guess what that thin horizontal line is against the distant hills (no peeking below ...)?

... and Now,  CitySleuth was able to access a nearby house and took this matching shot.  The eye is swept across the red-roofed buildings of the former Presidio military base and over the bay to the Marin Headlands.  The thin line in the Then image above is the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge!  Interesting that the director downplayed its presence.


Then ...  There's another window view as Cabot through his binoculars watches one of his ships heading out to sea.  His bitter complaints of its delayed passage endears him neither to Mason nor the watching audience.

... and Now,  this is the spit of land just west of the Golden Gate Bridge that terminates at the Point Bonita lighthouse (map, wherein the red pin is Point Bonita, the blue one is Cabot's residence).

Impact - Larkspur - M.P. Service Station

  Walter has made his way into Idaho and wanders into a small town, Larkspur.  However, these scenes were filmed in Larkspur, California, a mere half hour drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.

Then ...  He heads down the main street, Magnolia Avenue, past a painter announcing the 4,501st town resident.  No, not Walter, a newborn.

... and Now,  the cross street in the foreground is Ward Street (map).  South down Magnolia, the tower on the right belongs to St. Patrick's church, and the one on the left crowns City Hall.  Sidewalk trees have replaced the line of power poles and the sleepy hamlet that was has become a much busier place.


  He happens upon the town's service station where he meets owner Marsha Peters (the delightful Ella Raines) who offers him a job on the spot after he helps her with a repair.


Then ...  Walter settles in to his new job as auto mechanic at the M.P. (Marsha Peters, that is) Service Station while slowly recuperating from his attack.

... and Now,  the site, at 238 Magnolia Avenue, (map), is now occupied by Frank's Hair Styles.  The gas pump aisle has been covered in, otherwise the structure is clearly recognizable.

... the original garage ...  This 1960 photo, provided by long-time Larkspur resident Paul Penna, shows us the garage, owned by Hil Probert, as it was when the movie was filmed - other than the next generation gas pumps.  Hil collected old classic cars - the fine example in the foreground is a 1940 Packard.  (For additional insights from Paul check out his Impact website).

... and Now,  the matching photo today.


  Hil Probert himself makes a one-line eponymous cameo appearance at his own garage ...

Marsha -  "Thanks a lot, Hil"

Hil -  "So long, Marsha"


Then ...  The proud father of the town's new arrival (see top image) excitedly pulls up to the garage from the street opposite and leaps out bearing cigars.  His number plate says Idaho, consistent with the storyline, but we now know better.

... and Now,  the street teeing in opposite the garage site is Madrone Avenue and looks just as it did then.

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