Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Thieves' Highway - Mike Figlia Fruit & Produce Co.

  After driving through the night with his truckload of apples, a very tired Nick arrives at the market and seeks out Mike Figlia at his corner business, at the southeast corner of the Washington and Davis intersection, the center of activities of San Francisco's Produce Market  (location 1 on this map).

Then ...  Mike Figlia's was at 364 Davis Street, but the signage was created for the movie.

Thieves' Highway - Mike Figlia Fruit & Produce Co.

... in the 1950s ...  the vintage photograph below shows us the name of the real business at this location, the Half Moon Fruit and Produce Company.

Thieves' Highway - Mike Figlia Fruit & Produce Co.

... and Now,  could this be the same location?  Yes it is, looking south down Davis from Washington.  The entire block, of which this building was a part, is now a park.

Thieves' Highway - Mike Figlia Fruit & Produce Co.

 

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Dark Passage - The Steps

  After Parry's plastic surgery he returned to stay at his friend George's house only to find him murdered.  Desperate and with no other option he goes to Irene's Telegraph Hill apartment,  taking a route that leads up the steep lower Filbert Steps that climb from Sansome to Montgomery (map).

Then ...  He gets heckled by a couple of louts as he climbs the steps.

Dark Passage - The Steps

... and Now,  the wooden steps on this section have since been upgraded to concrete and metal.

Dark Passage - The Steps

 

Then ...  He continues the climb and is seen below passing two old cottages, 228 (on the right) and 230 Filbert.  No. 228 dates back to 1882 and is one of the surviving architectural gems of early Telegraph Hill; it was glimpsed in an earlier scene from Irene's patio.

Dark Passage - The Steps

... and Now

Dark Passage - The Steps

... on the set ...  Below on the left is an archival photo of 228 Filbert showing its ground floor level and balcony.  On the right is a photo taken outside the cottage while filming.

Dark Passage - The Steps

 

Then ...  Parry then stumbles up the final flight to Montgomery Street and Irene's apartment, just on the right.

Dark Passage - The Steps

... and Now,  this flight of steps is still exactly as it was ...  OK, so there's a handrail and a little more moss now.

Dark Passage - The Steps

The Lineup - Seaman's Club

  Dancer and cohorts go to the Seaman's Club to retrieve Larry Warner's Tang Dynasty horse and its concealed stash.

Then ...  The club was in reality the Embarcadero YMCA near Howard Street, established in 1908 as the Army Navy YMCA (map).

The Lineup - Seaman's Club
... and Now,  the buildings to the right of the Y, below, have all been replaced but the grand old Y is still there today, although it now shares the  building with the Kimpton Harbor House Hotel.

The Lineup - Seaman's Club

 

  Julian enters the club lobby with Dancer and they head for the steam room where they have been told they will find Warner.

Then ...  They walk past check-in on the left and a soda fountain.

The Lineup - Seaman's Club
... and Now,  this room has become the lobby of the Harbor House Hotel.  The curved ceiling and arched doorways have been retained but the soda fountain is gone, as is the check-in desk - the hotel check-in is through the archway on the right, accessed from Steuart Street.

The Lineup - Seaman's Club

  In an amusingly campy scene (were it not for the violence to come) Dancer strips to a towel and meets Warner in the steam room.  Warner foolishly tells Dancer where the Tang Dynasty horse is then mentions he discovered the contraband and suggests his silence can be bought.  Then, incredulous, he keels over after being chillingly dispatched with a single bullet.  One down, two to go.

The Lineup - Seaman's Club

Thieves' Highway - Produce Market

  After a long overnight drive a very tired Nick arrives at San Francisco's Produce Market.  Centered at the junction of Washington and Davis, the market was located within the compact area bounded on the north by Jackson Street, on the south by Clay , on the west by Battery  and on the east by the Embarcadero.  Originally part of the Barbary Coast, it used to be a raucus mix of prostitution, bars, dance halls and thievery until it was cleaned up in 1911. By the early 1920s it had morphed into the Produce Market.  In 1963 the market was moved to Islais Creek to make way for the vast Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project which modernized and transformed the whole area into an extension of the Financial District.

Below is a map of the Produce Market as it was in 1949 when the movie was filmed.  Locations of real businesses seen in the movie are listed.

Thieves' Highway - Produce Market

1 -  Half Moon Fruit & Produce Co. (Mike Figlia's)           2 -  John DeMartini Co.

3 -  Levy & Zentner Co.                                                    4 -  John DeMartini Co.

5 -  Scatena Galli Fruit Co.                                               6 -  Oregon Restaurant

7 -  Colchester Hotel                                                         8 -  Wellman Peck & Co.

 

And here, below, is an aerial view of the market marked with arrows pointing to locations used in the movie.

... from 1931 ...  this archival photo was taken in 1931 but it shows the market area as it still looked in 1949 when the movie was filmed.

Thieves' Highway - Produce Market
... and Now,  this recent photo shows the highly successful urban transformation of the area since the mid 1960s.  The four Embarcadero Center office buildings are lined up along Clay Street and that's the Hyatt Regency Hotel opposite the Ferry Building with its rooftop Regency Club Lounge, formerly the Equinox revolving restaurant but now a stationary lounge-with-a-view for well-heeled hotel guests.

Thieves' Highway - Produce Market

Thieves' Highway - Homecoming

  Nick Garcos (Richard Conte) returns home from war service - he is dropped off in front of his parents' house on a rural street.

Then ...

Thieves' Highway - Homecoming
... and Now

   CitySleuth needs your help, dear reader.  His expertise outside San Francisco falls short in deducing this location.  Do any of you out there know where this was filmed?

 

    Nick is horrified to find that his father, a farmer, is now an invalid, victim of an accident perpetrated by Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb), an unscrupulous produce dealer in San Francisco.  He immediately vows revenge.  Below, he meets Ed Kinney (Millard Mitchell) who had bought his father's truck and they decide to invest in two truckloads of Golden Delicious apples and drive them to the San Francisco Produce Market to confront Figlia.

Then ...

Thieves' Highway - Homecoming

... and Now

   Can anyone tell CitySleuth where this was filmed?  Possible clues  - This, and the location above, might have been in Petaluma, site of the opening scene, or in Calistoga where, as we will see later, another scene was filmed.  Then again, it could have been somewhere else.  The only clues are the houses across the street in these two images.  Most likely in a small rural town these houses are still there.

 

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