Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Petulia - Bad Accident

    Throughout the movie a series of flashbacks show young Oliver, who Petulia and David had brought to San Francisco from Tijuana, being treated in hospital.  Another flashback finally explains why - Oliver had suffered a serious accident.

... from 1965 ...  the vintage photo below shows the accident site (arrow) as it was when the scene was filmed, alongside the elevated Embarcadero freeway in front of the Ferry Building close to where Market Street joins (map).  That's the Clay Street on-ramp in the right foreground and the Washington Street off-ramp in the left foreground.  (The ugly freeway was destined to be demolished after it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake).  


    Petulia buys Oliver a Greyhound ticket to Tijuana - this booth was presumably set up under the freeway especially for the movie - the freeway passes overhead to the north past the signs pointing to Market and Washington.  But the boy doesn't want to leave and runs away...

Then ...  He darts between the passing traffic.  Note the YMCA sign down the road on the building with the flagpole.

... and Now,  the same view looking south down the Embarcadero, now a wide-open bustling boulevard after the demise of the elevated freeway.  The Y, near the corner of Howard Street, is still there and its flag is still flying.


Then ...  We are facing north again as the cars desperately try to avoid the boy but one of them hits him.  In the background are the two freeway ramps seen in the accident site photo at the top of this page.

... and Now,  no elevated freeway, no ramps.  The large office tower on the left is part of the Embarcadero Center on Clay Street.

Vertigo - Death Plunge

Then ...  Scotttie and Madeleine's visit to Mission San Juan Bautista (map) is introduced by this wonderful shot down the length of the cloisters, taking full advantage of both shadow and light.

... and Now,  the mission is a museum - open to the public and certainly worth a visit - so it's not surprising that time stands still here.


Then ...  The camera swings to the right and reveals two buildings across the plaza - both will be featured in the ensuing action.  Madeleine's Jaguar is parked between them.

... and Now,  here they are in a recent photo.  On the left is the Plaza Hall, on the right the Plaza Stables.


  In the stables Madeleine, trance-like, recalls her past life at the mission.  She mentions a grey horse ...

Then ...  but Scottie spies a carved wooden horse and buggy exhibit behind them.  "Look at this ... here's your grey horse ... there's an answer for everything ... no one possesses you!"

... and Now,  that horse and buggy are still there tucked into a corner in the stables.


Then ...  Madeleine pulls away from Scottie and runs back across the plaza towards the mission.  "It's too late", she says and asks him to let her go into the church alone.  This shot (below) was filmed on a set to optimize lighting and sound.

... and Now,  here's the real cloisters.  As you can see, they did a heck of a job recreating it.


Then ...  As she walks to the church she looks up at the tower and with a sudden sense of dread he realizes her intention.

... and Now,  as explained in the previous location this tower doesn't exist - the original was removed in 1949 - the tower above was added as a matte painting.  Below is a recent photo of the mission showing the current bell tower, on the right.


Then ...  He rushes after her into the church and desperately looks around.

... and Now,  surprisingly, the church has seen several alterations since 1958.  The ceiling beams are gone and the side wall archways, which had been filled in after the 1906 earthquake, have been opened up again.  But the altar and altarpiece behind it look the same.


Then ...  In the church, he first looks to his right towards this arched doorway ...

Then ...  then he looks to his left and through another doorway sees Madeleine running up a set of stairs leading up the bell tower.

... and Now,  but both shots above are the same doorway! For the one immediately above, a set of stairs were added in.  Here it is below, just inside and to the left of the church entrance, now with added frescoed touches but still with the identical framed artwork and set of pots.


  He tries desperately to catch up with Madeleine as she scales the steep steps (filmed on an elaborate studio set) but his acrophobia kicks in and an overwhelming feeling of vertigo stops him in his tracks just below the trap door at the top of the tower ...

  ... and he can only watch, mortified, immobilised, as she plunges to her death.

Experiment In Terror - Kelly's House

  Kelly's home is in Clarendon Heights between Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro.  No doubt chosen for its views, it is shown a number of times throughout the movie.

Then ...  At the beginning of the movie Kelly drives over the Bay Bridge and we see this nighttime view of her home as she drives into her garage.

Then ...  later, as she reverses out of the garage, daylight reveals the full extent of the view.  Kelly lives in the small house, 100 St. Germain Avenue, squeezed between the two larger homes with gabled roofs (map).

... and Now, taken from the top of Glenbrook Avenue, this (below) is how it looks today.  From here, 100 St. Germain is mostly hidden by bushes but the roof and chimney peep over the top.  That's the Golden Gate Park panhandle above the house and the Buena Vista Park hill is over to the right.  Angel Island and Alcatraz are in the distance on the left.


Then ...  From across the street there's a closer view of the garage and the home's front fence and entrance gate.

... and Now,  still the same, as too is the neighboring house to the left.


Then ...  This panorama shows an even closer look at the garage and entrance gate.

... and Now,  it still looks amazingly similar, even down to the three angled fence supports and the quaint awning over the gate.  The neighbor to the right, though, has traded a chimney for a skylight.

The House On Telegraph Hill - Yacht Harbor

  Victoria and Marc meet at a yacht harbor, the west harbor on Marina Boulevard in the Marina district (map).  Below is a map of the harbor marked where the movie scenes took place.


Then ...  An establishing opening shot of the yacht harbor is shown below taken from near the St. Francis Yacht Club (location A on the map above).  The view looks east across the harbor towards the Russian Hill skyline with Fort Mason on the far left.

... and Now,  absent the extra buildings atop Russian Hill you would never guess 60 years have slipped by.  (Incidentally, Orson Welles's 1947 movie The Lady From Shanghai featured this same location - see it here).


Then ...  Victoria meets Marc outside the harbormaster's office (location B on the map above).  There's an old stone lighthouse behind her at the harbor entrance.

... and Now, the office and lighthouse are still there but the harbor entrance has been moved to the east by an extension of the spit on which the lighthouse stands.


  Below is a closer look at the lighthouse, built in 1931 but no longer in use.

  And here's a recent look at the harbormaster's office.


Then ...  They talk outside the harbormaster's office.  This scene was filmed in the studio using projected views behind them, a common movie technique known as process photography which gives better control over sound and lighting.

... and Now, the background was indeed filmed outside the harbormaster's office looking southwest across the harbor towards the dome of the Palace Of Fine Arts.  The view today looks just the same.


Then ...  Victoria reveals to Marc that she isn't Chris's mother after all, that she had assumed Karin Dernakova's identity after she died at the Belsen concentration camp.  Marc, unfazed by the revelation, confesses his love for her.  This background, supposedly at the same spot, was filmed on the south side of the harbor at location C on the map above - it looks west towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

... and Now, the same view today, with the bridge partially obscured by, no surprise, fog.

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