Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Experiment In Terror - The Wrong Man

  Kelly leaves the club after failing to make the planned contact.  A man follows her out ...

Then ...   He urges her into his car and they drive off, closely pursued by the waiting police.  A block along Jackson, they make a left (below) into Sansome (map).

...  and Now,  this part of the Jackson Square neighborhood has changed very little as this recent photo attests.


Then ...   Viewed from Jackson, they proceed along Sansome.

...  and Now,  another mostly unchanged block, with Gold Street alley on the left.


Then ...  It soon becomes clear to her that the man is an opportunist out for a good time - he has nothing to do with Kelly's rendezvous.  Distressed, she leaps out of the car and the cops rush in to nab the wrong man.

...  and Now,  he was apprehended in front of 1045 Sansome Street at the junction with Green Street.  From the start (map, blue marker) to the finish (red marker) the car journey had covered a mere 5 blocks.

The Lady From Shanghai - On The Lam - Chop Suey and Shanghai Low

  During O'Hara's desperate flight from justice along its main thoroughfare, Grant Avenue, director Welles jumps back and forth in a tightly edited multi-cut sequence lasting less than two minutes.  In the next few posts CitySleuth will present the locations sequentially block by block to guide those of you who may wish to walk the route.

Then ...  He looks back from the corner of Grant and Pine (map).  One block north along Grant the pagoda-towered Sing Fat and Sing Chong Buildings face each other across California Street, also cleverly captured in the shop window.  They were built just two years after the 1906 earthquake as a statement by the Chinese community that they had no intention of bowing to pressure from politicians to leave the stricken area.

... and Now,  the recent photo reassures us that the buildings are still there, as indeed are the Chinese residents and, since the mid 1920s, Grant Avenue's ornate lampposts with their lanterns and intertwined dragons.  The City of Hong Kong store at 519 Grant is now at the same location as Lamps of China, reflected in the window above.

... in the 1920s ...  we see the same view in this early 1920s photo of local kids beach-playing in a worker's pile of sand.  Note the plainer lampposts and note too the Chop Suey restaurant sign, also seen in the movie view above, which we shall see replicated many times as O'Hara continues his flight along Grant.

... in 1935 ...  here's a vintage photo taken from the same spot 12 years before the movie was filmed there.  Reader Bruys Tournier pointed out that the classic (now, that is) car in the foreground is probably a pre 1930s Chrysler sedan.  CitySleuth checked it out - it's a 1928 Chrysler Imperial 80.

... in 1943 ...  moving on through the decades, how about this cool 1943 photo in full color?


... an Edward Hopper painting ...  In the first half of the century chop suey, roughly meaning chopped up odds and ends, was synonymous with Chinese cuisine, along with chow mein.  The  basic meal became an advertisement for the restaurant.  Even artists reflected the practice, as in this 1929 painting by Edward Hopper.


Then ...  later on during his desperate run O'Hara is shown outside the neon-signed Shanghai Low's restaurant at 532 Grant between Pine and California just a half block from the location above.

...  a vintage photo ...  the restaurant was there a quarter century earlier in the 1920s but with a plainer marquee.  Once again we see the landmark Sing Fat and Sing Chong Buildings at California Street.

... and Now,  the Lotus Garden restaurant is the current occupant of the Shanghai Low site (its sign is at top right, also visible in the Now image above).  You would never guess it but this image and the one above are 90 years apart in time.

Impact - Telegraph Office

  Torrence's fingerprints have been found on Williams' briefcase and items from his last known address link him to Irene Williams.  The police now consider the possibility that Torrence killed Williams.  But was she involved?  They set a trap, telling her they might be onto the killer of her husband.  Then they wait to see if she will try to contact Torrence ...

Then ...  The police watch unseen as Irene leaves her apartment building.

... and Now,  this is the courtyard at the Brocklebank Apartments at 1000 Mason Street on Nob Hill, seen earlier in the movie.  An identical shot was featured nine years later in Hitchcock's Vertigo when Scottie returned from the McKittrick Hotel.


Then ...  She walks south on Mason Street past the Fairmont Hotel and jumps in a cab at California Street (map).  The Fairmont was the place to go in those days - the cluster of signs advertise the hotel's Papagayo Room, Cirque Room and Nob Hill Theater, all long since closed down.

... and Now,  in a recent photo the California Street cable car line is being maintained and the view to the bay has been mostly filled in by highrises in the Financial District.  The Fairmont is no longer a nightlife hub but still reigns as Nob Hill's grand dame.


Then ...  Irene enters a  telegraph office and starts to write a telegram to Torrence, using his alias of Jack Burns, then tears it up when she notices a plain-clothes cop entering behind her.  She hastily leaves and the cop retrieves the message pad.

... and Now,  this was filmed in the Chinatown Western Union telegraph office at 669 Grant Avenue on the corner of Sacramento (map).  Here's the matching window view (marred somewhat by today's urban scourge, graffiti) which looks east down the mostly unchanged Sacramento Street block.


  And this is the entry from the 1949 street directory confirming the location.

Impact -  Telegraph Office

... a vintage photo ...  this 1942 photo taken at the same junction not only shows the same block east down Sacramento but also, in the upper right corner, part of the sign outside the telegraph office.  Note too the Clay-Sacramento cable car line that was, sadly, to be discontinued later that same year - foresight or short sight?


... from another movie ...  here's an excellent view of the telegraph office from a scene in the 1948 movie Walk A Crooked Mile.  The same 'Western Union' sign on the window can be seen in reverse from inside the office in the Then image above.

... and Now,  the China Bazaar at 667 Grant Avenue now occupies the telegraph office site.


Then ...  At the Hall of Justice Lieutenant Quincy (Charles Coburn), the policeman in charge of the case, analyses the imprint from the message pad but can only make out part of the name.  The familiar window view is of Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill.

... and Now,  the old Hall of Justice was at 750 Kearny Street on Portsmouth Square until it was demolished in 1967 and replaced by the Hilton Financial District hotel (map).  In the recent view taken from the Hilton (below), Kearny Street on the left and Montgomery Street on the right climb in parallel up Telegraph Hill.

Portrait In Black - Cabot Shipping Line

  The movie opens with a waterfront view of the Cabot Shipping Line pier.

Then ...  This is a view down the side of Pier 22 located between Folsom and Harrison streets, close to the spot where the Bay Bridge (seen behind the pier) crosses the Embarcadero.

... and Now,  this pier and other adjacent ones were removed as part of the waterfront renovation following the 1989 earthquake.  The same view today shows a gap were it used to be (map).  The Waterbar restaurant on the left sits right in front of where the pier entrance was and on the right is SFFD's Firehouse No. 35.  The fireboat Guardian, in red and white livery, is berthed next to it, at what is now called Pier 22 1/2 - the bridge tower behind it is the one seen in the movie view above.

... a vintage photo ...  we see Pier 22 in this 1941 photo.  The firehouse is next to it on the right, then called Firehouse No. 9, one of only two surviving structures from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, moved to this location in 1915.  (The other survivor is the Palace of Fine Arts).


Then ...  We next see the Cabot Line headquarters (or at least a model or a painting of it).

... a vintage photo ...  the building is no longer there but this 1920s photo shows it as it was, the flat-iron Crocker Building at One Post Street at Market Street in the Financial District map).

... and Now,  the Crocker Building sat on this spot from 1890 until it was replaced in 1969 (for shame!) by the sleek but featureless Aetna Building, below.


  The invalided magnate Matthew Cabot (Lloyd Nolan) runs his shipping empire from his bedside.  Cabot's wife Sheila (Lana Turner) looks on as he receives his daily injection from his doctor David Rivera (Anthony Quinn) but it soon becomes clear from Cabot's dismissive tone that the marriage is not going well.

Click in this box to search this site ...