Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

D.O.A. - Narrow Escape

  The chase continues from the previous post ...  Bigelow is pursued north along the 700 block of Broadway by Chester.  He ducks into a corner drugstore (click image to enlarge).


Then ...  Chester follows him into the store.  Note the pillar behind him and the gawkers across the street watching the filming taking place.

... a vintage photo ...  the 1956 photo below shows where this took place.  The view looks north along Broadway towards W. 7th Street.  The Lankershim Hotel is on the corner at right, where the pillar seen above can be seen (map).  Across 7th is a Bank Of America branch where the gawkers were standing.

... and Now, in the same view today we see that the Lankershim has been replaced by a retail/parking structure and the street frontage of the building that housed the Bank of America branch has been modernised.  Still there though is Clifton's Cafeteria at 648 Broadway, on the left.  This same street corner shows up in another scene in the movie, as does Clifton's.


  In the drugstore Chester fires several shots at Bigelow before a cop enters and guns him down, allowing Bigelow to slip out unnoticed.  The sign over the door says Imperial Drug Co. but the Lankershim Hotel didn't have a drugstore at this corner so the interior action was either filmed on a studio set or at a different drugstore location.  In the comments below a reader suggests it might have been the store at 6th St and Vermont Ave: CitySleuth would be grateful if one of his readers could confirm this.  Finding a contemporaneous photo of the pharmacy would help.

Petulia - Penguin Show

   Archie takes his boys to see a performing penguin show.  On the way there he spots Petulia on a passing cable car and calls out "We're gonna see the penguins".

Then ...  this was filmed at a real show at a pool near Fisherman's Wharf featuring penguins diving off a high platform, sliding down a chute and riding on a skateboard.  Note the sign at the back - 'The Cannery Penguins' - in front of the gabled end of a long narrow building.

... a vintage photo ...  Neither the penguin pool nor that white building exist any more but the 1937 photo below of the old Cannery building at Leavenworth Street and Jefferson shows the gabled building across Leavenworth at lower left.  The pool was installed years later at the southeast corner of Leavenworth and Jefferson (map), left of center in the foreground.

... and Now,  the block that contained the pool and the building has since been redeveloped into the Anchorage Shopping Center, shown below taken from Jefferson looking south along Leavenworth.  The Cannery, still there, is just off the picture to the right.


Then ...  In the capture below one of the stars of the show summons up the nerve to take the plunge.  The highrise apartments in the background at left are on either side of Leavenworth at the top of Russian Hill.

... and Now,  Citysleuth snapped this matching photo from a rooftop within the Anchorage Shopping Center complex.  It looks south across Beach Street and over the Holiday Inn opposite and shows the same apartments and skyline as above.


    Petulia has followed them to the show.  Archie goes over to her and they briefly share a poignant, wordless moment to the gentle strains of John Barry's haunting Petulia's Theme.

Vertigo - Nervous Breakdown

  Following his visit to Madeleine's grave Scottie suffers a nightmare, causing him to spiral into a state of melancholia requiring treatment at a sanatorium.

Then ...  To usher in the nightmare scene a night vista is briefly shown with SP and Mobilgas neon signs glowing in the distance.  This was filmed looking east from the Top O' The Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel (map).

... a 1950s archival photo ...  We get a better look from the photograph below taken from the same spot.  The 32 story Russ Building, at that time the tallest office building in San Francisco, is over to the right and the Bay Bridge is seen crossing over to Yerba Buena Island.

... and Now, the relentless growth of the Financial District has transformed this view.  The tallest skyscrapers now are the Transamerica building at far left and the Bank Of America building right of center - the Russ building is still there, behind it and to the right, and several buildings in the lower foreground are little changed.


  The nightmare scene which followed included special effects by artist John Ferren who also painted the Portrait of Carlotta seen earlier in the Legion Of Honor art museum.


Then ...  Scottie has to spend time recovering in a sanatorium, St. Joseph's Hospital at 355 Buena Vista Avenue East facing Buena Vista Park (map).  Scottie's friend Midge's Karman Ghia is parked out front.

... and Now, the building looks the same today (OK, they moved the mailbox) but is now the Park Hill Condominiums.  Designed by architect John Foley, the six story building was built in 1928 in Spanish Revival style.



  In the sanatorium (the interior scenes were filmed in a Paramount Pictures studio) Midge plays Mozart to help ease him from his catatonic state but it will be months before he can recover and deal with his profound sense of guilt.


Then ...  Scottie's recuperation was represented by Hitchcock with soothing music played over a slow left-to-right panoramic sweep of the city, filmed from Twin Peaks (map).  Tiburon and Angel Island are in the left background, the Buena Vista Park hill is in the center, and that's Market Street at far right (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  more than half a century later the almost identical view continues to be enjoyed from the popular Twin Peaks vista point.  Coincidentally, the red-roofed sanatorium building can be seen in the panorama, marked below by the arrow (click image to enlarge).

Experiment In Terror - High School

  Kelly drops her sister Toby off at school.  The police, who she had alerted after being threatened the night before, maintain a discrete watch on them.

Then ...  She drives up the hill to the school, on the left.  For this scene director Blake Edwards chose George Washington High School in the Richmond district (map).

... and Now,  though lacking the elevated perspective, this is the same view north down 30th Avenue to Geary Boulevard from Anza Street.


Then ...  Toby gets out and is puzzled when Kelly, without explaining why, warns her to watch out and be careful.  Meanwhile, filmed on 30th Ave close to Anza Street, we get a good view of George Washington High behind them.

... and Now,  trees and added structures obscure the school today at street level from this spot but here it is, looking essentially the same, viewed on a misty day from the upstairs level of a house opposite.


  Below is a recently taken aerial shot of George Washington High.  Lincoln Park is on the left and the Presidio on the right.  At the top, left to right, are the headlands of Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge, Bevedere/Tiburon and Angel Island.  The arrow shows where this scene was filmed.


... in 2005 ...  George Washington High was built in 1936 and is a well-regarded public school.  A bonus for the students are Golden Gate Bridge views from various vantage points at the school.  As an example, the photo below was taken from the bleachers of the sports field at the 2005 Senior graduation.

Click in this box to search this site ...