Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Lady From Shanghai - "Would You Like To Work For Me?"

  After they part in the park, O'Hara hears a cry for help and rescues Elsa from a group of hooligans.  She gratefully lets him take her to a nearby garage where her car is parked.  She tells him she is married to Arthur Bannister, a famous, perhaps infamous, criminal lawyer.

Then ...  On the way to the garage they almost collide with a cab and receive an earful from the driver.

... and Now,  this looks like a set and indeed it is - it was filmed on the Columbia Ranch back lot in Burbank in Southern California (map).  The ranch is still operational, now known as the Warner Ranch.  Below is a contemporaneous image from another movie showing the same street corner, with some minor changes, on the ranch's New York Street.


Then ...  They alight from the buggy and walk past the Ellery Apt Hotel.  One clue to its location is the number 1028 on the name plaque ...

    The location was revealed to CitySleuth by John Bengtson, who hosts a well-researched silent movie website.  Per John, this was on Hope Street in Los Angeles and sure enough the 1956 L.A. city directory confirms that this was indeed a real building at 1028 S. Hope Street.

... and Now,  the hotel has been demolished - its site is now a parking lot whose entrance is about where the hotel entrance was


Then ...  Elsa's car, a swanky 1946 Lincoln Continental V-12 convertible, is parked at a garage next to the Ellery hotel.  They banter awhile then she asks him...  "If you're a sailor Michael there's a job for you - would you like to work for me?"... then, suggestively, "I'd like it".  She is to ship out with her husband the next day to the west coast by way of the Panama Canal but her yacht is short one crew member.  "I'll make it worth your while".  Hmmm.  She looks surprised when he declines.

... and Now,  the garage was next to, perhaps part of, the Earle C. Anthony Packard dealership at 1000 S. Hope (it too is listed in the city directory above).  There's still a garage at this location, part of the Packard Lofts building that was built in 2006 on the site of the dealership.


Then ...  But O'Hara has a change of heart after Arthur Bannister himself pays him a visit and he shows up at  a yacht harbor to join the crew.

... and Now,  this was filmed not in New York but near the 22nd Street Landing restaurant in San Pedro, Southern California (map).  This recent photo shows the distant breakwater on the right and the concrete pilings to the left, visible Then and Now.

Woman On The Run - Coroner's Office

  Before Eleanor has a chance to go to Carmel to meet Frank she gets a chilling call from the police.  A dead man has been found and they think it might be her husband.  She hurries to the coroner's office.  When she is shown the stiff's face she faints, prompting Inspector Ferris to conclude that it was indeed Frank.

Then ...  The San Francisco Coroner's Office was in the old Hall of Justice at 750 Kearny Street opposite Portsmouth Square (map).  Eleanor enters the office from the Merchant Street alley side of the building.  The address, 650 Merchant Street, is plainly visible on the door (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  the Merchant Street alley as it looks today from the same spot.  The Hall of Justice has since moved to 850 Bryant Street and the building was demolished in 1967 and replaced by a Holiday Inn, since changed to the Hilton Financial District Hotel.  Portsmouth Square is at the top of the alley.


... from 1964 ...  the vintage photo below of the old Hall Of Justice was taken from Portsmouth Square - it shows us how it looked when the movie was filmed.  Washington Street is on the left and Merchant Street runs down the right side of the building.  The distinctive building with its fan-shaped windows was featured in movies ('The Lineup' - see here and here) and TV shows ('Ironside', where Raymond Burr kept his office).

Woman On The Run -  Coroner's Office

... and Now,  the Hilton San Francisco Financial District hotel occupies the site today.

Woman On The Run -  Coroner's Office

The Lineup - First Responders

  The alarm has been raised and the first responders jump into action as the movie's opening credits roll.  Snapshots from the length and breadth of the city welcome the audience to beautiful San Francisco as each of the responders are shown.

Then ... An ambulance pulls out of a driveway and heads down the hill.  Citysleuth is indebted to Reel SF reader and fellow sleuth CDL, who found this location.  This is on the south edge of Cole Valley - the view looks north down the entire length of Cole Street from Carmel Street with the University of San Francisco main campus on the hilltop in the distance beyond the Golden Gate Park Panhandle (map).

... and Now,  the view today, with the same houses on the Cole/Carmel corners.  St. Ignatius Church at the University of San Francisco campus is visible on the far horizon.


  Below is a closer look at St. Ignatius Church and the USF campus as seen from the higher vantage point of Twin Peaks, just south of Carmel Street, viewed along the same line as the Cole Street view above.


Then ...  Next we see police motorcyclists heading south along the Great Highway past Lincoln Way at the southwest corner of Golden Gate Park in the Outer Sunset district (map).  The Pacific Ocean is to the left and Cliff House (featured later in the movie, see it here) can be seen above the letters LL in writer Stirling Silliphant's name.

... and Now,  Cliff House is still there, albeit remodelled.


Then ...  We cut clear over to Potrero Hill where a police car responds on Wisconsin Street near 22nd Street (map).  Here, Wisconsin points north towards a fine panorama of the city.

... and Now,  still a fine view but it's truncated by the sidewalk trees.  CitySleuth often wonders why trees and views in San Francisco have to be mutually exclusive.


Then ...  Another police car responds from Sea Cliff on El Camino Del Mar at 32nd Avenue (map).  The vista looks over Sea Cliff to the Presidio.

... and Now,  some newer houses show up in the foreground amongst the recognizable survivors.


Then ...  Finally, the responders arrive at Pier 41 near Fisherman's Wharf, the scene of the crime (map).  The open lot to the left on the corner of Powell and Jefferson had only recently been cleared of a huge gas holder.

... and Now,  a Gap Store and the Radisson Hotel sit on the site of the old gas holder.

The House On Telegraph Hill - Garden Shed - A Close Call

  The movie takes on a menacing undertone as Victoria begins to harbor suspicions about her husband Alan's behaviour.  She comes across an old shed in her garden and, inside, is horrified to see a gaping hole in the side with a sheer drop down to the street, way below.

Then ...  In the distance are three piers and beyond them a view across the Bay.

... in 1952 ...  the movie photo above was taken from the Pioneer Park parking lot at the base of Coit Tower looking north across the Bay to Alcatraz and Angel Island.  The piers are, from right to left, Piers 35, 37 and 39.  Below is a 1952 vintage photo of the same view but taken higher up from the top of Coit Tower.

... and Now,  the view from the parking lot today is blocked by trees but here's the matching view from the top of Coit Tower (below).  Pier 35 is still there, on the right.  Next to it is a marina where Pier 37 used to be and, on the left, Pier 39 was expanded in 1978 into a mega tourist attraction.


Then ...  Suddenly Alan appears and startles his wife.  Our hearts stop as she steps back into the void but fortunately he grabs her as she falls, narrowly avoiding a premature end to the movie.  Below them is a tall industrial building with a single-storied building abutting it, filmed looking vertically down from the same spot at the edge of the parking lot used for the above location view.

... in 1949 ...  a 1949 vintage photo shows us where this building was (arrowed), on the corner of Lombard and Montgomery directly below the Coit Tower parking lot.  The low building next to it can also be seen.

... and Now,  below is the same corner today, taken from the top of Coit Tower - the industrial buildings have been replaced by a large apartment complex.  You can also see the edge of the parking lot from whence the movie backgrounds were filmed.

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