Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

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 and Now,  below is the same corner today, taken from the top of Coit Tower - the industrial buildings have been replaced by a large apartment complex.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.

D.O.A. - Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

  Paula, concerned for Bigelow, heads to Los Angeles to meet him for what will turn out to be their final farewell.

Then ...  She waits for him outside his hotel, the Allison, with a distinctive art deco entrance.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... and Now,  this was filmed at the entrance to the A. G. Bartlett building at 215 7th Street a half block east of Broadway (map).  The building is still there but the bland entrance today lacks the class of the one above.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... from a vintage photo ...  this circa 1940s photo looks east on 7th towards Spring Street and shows the A. G. Bartlett entrance as it was.  It clearly is the one used for the movie - note the brass and glass doors and the art deco moderne flashes to the side of the doorway.  Note too the darker stone facing on each side of the entrance.  They all match, as does the street number, 215.  For the movie, the 'Allison Hotel' sign was simply mounted over the 'A G Bartlett Bldg' sign.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... and Now,  here's the A. G. Bartlett building today.  It was built in 1911 and received its art deco embellishments in a 1937 renovation.  Most of the building changes since then have been confined to the street level frontage.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell


Then ...  Bigelow pulls up in his car and Paula steps forward to meet him.  But this scene was filmed not outside the A. G. Bartlett building but across the street outside the Lankershim Hotel (map).  The view looks west along 7th Street where it crosses Broadway, with Bullocks over to the right and Hamilton's Jewelers opposite it in the Loews State Theater building (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  in today's view the building that used to house Bullocks is still there, as is the State Theater, now operated as a church.  The Lankershim Hotel, just off the photo to the left, is no longer there, having been replaced in the 1980s by another building.

Then ...  They stand next to the pillar on the corner and, in a heart-wrenching conversation, they ardently profess their love for each other.  Then he leaves, never to see her again.


D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... and Now,  the same corner today - new building, no pillar.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... from the 1950s  ...  this vintage photo of the 7th and Broadway junction on a rainy day includes the same corner, with the pillar on the left below the Cola sign.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... from 1907  ...  the vintage photo below shows the Lankershim when it first opened.  It was a grand hotel with 250 rooms and 160 baths, a good ratio in those days.  It closed down after damage from the 1971 Sylmar San Fernando earthquake was deemed too expensive to repair.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

... and Now,  the hotel was replaced with this retail/parking structure.  7th Street is on the left and Broadway on the right.

D.O.A. -  Allison Hotel - Final Farewell

Vertigo - Scottie's House

  After rescuing Madeleine from the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay Scottie takes her to his Russian Hill home.  The home's exterior scenes were filmed at 900 Lombard Street on the corner of Jones  (map), one steep block below the famous 'crooked street'.  The interior scenes were filmed on a studio sound stage.

Then ...  From inside the house, Hitchcock chose a window view of Coit Tower -  "... because it's a phallic symbol", he said in a later interview.

... and Now,  from outside 900 Lombard we see the same view today plus an unsightly apartment building blocking the distant twin spires of Sts. Peter and Paul church on Washington Square.


  Madeleine recovers after a restful sleep (naked, no less!) and as they talk it becomes clear that Scottie is hopelessly besotted.


Then ...  Later, she returns to the home to drop off a thank you note for so valiantly saving her life.

    After the movie was filmed this special location retained its original character for over half a century until 2012 when the current owner decided enough Vertigophiles had knocked on his door (the photo below is from 2011) ...

... and Now,  so he built a wall across the front entrance and plastered over the red brick chimney.  Unique to eunuch ... grand to bland.  While CitySleuth respects owners' rights, he will silently weep each time he passes by.


Then ...  Scottie wasn't in but he shows up while she's there and they chat on the front porch (this closeup was filmed on a set).

... as of 2011,  here's a peek at the front door (it was painted red for the filming) before it was  walled off.  The railing, almost hidden behind the shrubs, is different from the one in the movie.

... in 2011,  another look at 900 Lombard before its makeover.  This view looks west up the hill towards the crooked street at the top of the block.

The Lineup - Dancer's Demise

  The desperate Dancer uses Cindy as a human shield to hold off the police ...


Then ...  He pushes her away and tries to jump the gap across the barriers to the adjacent roadway but is felled by a police bullet and drops to the street far below.  Insp. Quine and Lt.Guthrie witness his demise as justice is harshly served.

... and Now,  the same view (below) is mostly blocked by new buildings such as the Infinity condominiums on the right.


Then ...  As the police wrap up, director Siegel's panning camera ends the movie with a fine sweeping vista (below) from the I-480 freeway.  At far right Folsom Street runs east towards the Bay with the Bay Bridge beyond.  The Ferry Building is at dead center and to its left the skyline is punctuated by the Southern Pacific Building, the conjoined PG&E and Matson Buildings, Angel Island, Coit Tower and at far left, the majestic Shell Building.

... and Now,  it's not possible to duplicate the exact view now that the freeway is no longer there but below is the best CitySleuth could do - taken from above First Street on the Bay Bridge's westbound Fremont Street exit ramp, just a half-block away from the movie's location (map).  The multiplicity of new buildings obstruct the distant views but you can still see the Shell Building, at 100 Bush Street across Market at the top of First Street (at far left, marked with the arrow), and the Bay Bridge at far right.

... and Now,  the recent photo below taken from the newly constructed 60 story One Rincon Hill residential tower vividly illustrates the proliferation of highrise buildings in the Financial District since the movie was made.  The I-480 freeway used to run along the dotted line at bottom alongside Folsom Street and the lower arrow points to where the final scene was filmed (CitySleuth's 'Now' photo above was taken from the elevated ramp just above this arrow).  Two of the landmarks pointed out in the movie's panorama can be seen in this view - the upper arrow points to the Shell Building and Coit Tower is in the upper right quadrant.

The Lineup -  Dancer's Demise

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