Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Conversation - Meltdown

    Back at his apartment at 700 Laguna Street (described in an earlier post) Caul turns to his saxophone to distract his churning mind.  While playing along to a Gerry Mulligan track his unlisted phone interrupts ...


    It's Stett.  By now it's clear he was part of the plot to kill the Director.  "We know that you know, Mr. Caul ...  For your own sake don't get involved any further ... we'll be listening to you."


Then ...  The bugger is now the bugged.  The very thought drives him nuts and sends him scouring his apartment for the bug.  Behind drapes, inside lamps, the phone, everywhere.

... and Now,  the window view looks west across Laguna along Birch towards distant apartments on Buchanan Street.  Viewed at street level, below, the matching top story of those apartments can be seen above a newer building (map, red marker on the apartments, blue marker at Caul's place).  The building across Laguna has since been built on the newly cleared empty lot visible above.


    Caul is rapidly losing it.  Everything in sight is ripped apart, even the floorboards.


       His meltdown leaves the apartment demolished without revealing the bug.  Perhaps it exists only in his imagination.  He seeks solace the only way he knows how and as the movie's end credits slowly pass on by to the plaintive sound of his sax it is left to us to unravel the unanswered questions.


The Laughing Policeman - Nurse Monica

Then ...  Still following leads to the murder of Jakes partner Evans, Larsen interviews Monica (Joanna Cassidy), the roommate of one of the victims of the bus massacre, a nurse.

    Monica is a nurse, too.  Larsen flashes his badge to her at the San Francisco General Hospital ward where she works and asks if there's a place they can talk.

... and Now,  this has since 1981 been the famous Ward 86, the world's first in-patient HIV/AIDS ward; a reception desk now occupies the space where they stood.  The window view looks to the west where Sutro Tower (nearing completion when the movie was filmed but not visible in the haze above) soars over the Twin Peaks skyline below.

    Ward 86 is on the 6th floor of San Francisco General's Building 80 on Potrero Avenue at 22nd Street (map).  The arrow points to that particular window.


Then ...  She takes him across the corridor to a room that faces Potrero Hill to the east.  He wants to know if she or her roommate knew Evans.  They didn't but Monica's overt sex appeal catches him by surprise.  When she tells him her roommate " didn't go out with ... men " he can't help but wonder about her too ...

... and Now,  this room has since become an office - the window view is much the same, but that elevated water tower on top of Potrero Hill is no longer there.


Then ...  She tells him to mind his own business but her departing over-the-shoulder come-hither look speaks volumes.

... and Now,  the same corridor today.  The reception desk, shuttered for lunch, is on the left.


The House Across The Bay - Bittersweet Revenge

    Once Slant finally realizes that Brenda won't string along with him he carries out his threat and tells Larwitt that it was she who tipped off the IRS and caused his arrest.  Driven by  a fit of vengeful rage Larwitt escapes from the penitentiary and tracks her down.  Just in time, Tim Nolan intercedes and explains the real truth - Brenda has stuck by her husband all along and it was Slant's deliberately botched defense that sent him to prison.


    Now Larwitt directs his fury towards Slant, catching up with him at his hotel.  Slant's expression speaks volumes - he knows his number is up.  Sure enough, a couple of bullets seal his fate.


    Larwitt has no intention of serving out the rest of his life in prison.  He arranges to meet Brenda at Union Square then returns to the bay where the police are still out in boats searching for him following the breakout.  Purposefully, he swims towards them  - two more bullets are fired, this time sealing his fate.  Still waiting for him, Brenda hears the news from the cries of a passing street vendor.


Then ...  She decides to leave San Francisco and we see her taking off in an American Airlines Flagship Skysleeper DC-3.  But this isn't San Francisco, it's Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, one of Southern California's two busiest commercial airports at that time (Burbank being the other).

... a vintage photo ...  CitySleuth was able to identify the airport from this contemporaneous photo taken at Grand Central Air Terminal of another Skysleeper, the Flagship New York, showing the same mountain range in the background.

... and Now,  the airport, long since shut down, has become a business park. (The 1929 terminal building has survived however; it is owned by the Disney Corporation).  The runway became Grand Central Avenue, in Glendale (map) - this recent photo was taken from therelooking southwest down Grandview Avenue to the same skyline.


Then ...  Brenda glimpses Alcatraz from the air and we can only begin to imagine what conflicting thoughts must be running through her mind.

... and Now,  it's no longer a prison but the extant buildings are an imposing reminder of its grim past.


    In true Hollywood "All's Well That Ends Well' fashion who should be sitting right behind her but the determined Tim Nolan.  When she rests her hand on his the movie fades out to our collective nods of approval.  Aaaahh!


The Conversation - Media Frenzy

Then ...  Having just seen the Director's wife very much alive after 'witnessing' her apparent death Caul is doubly shaken when he picks up a newspaper at a street corner kiosk and reads that the Director has died in a car crash.  By now the poor guy's head must really be spinning.

... and Now,  in the movie capture above there's a phone booth next to the newspaper kiosk ... earlier in the movie we saw Caul using this phone - it was on the Sutter Street corner at Polk (map).  There's no phone booth there now but wouldn't you know it, the newspaper kiosk is still there!


Then ...  He rushes back to the Embarcadero Center in the Financial District in time to see the wife, who has now inherited ownership of her husband's property business, about to be swarmed by the local media.

... and Now,  this is the same staircase at the west end of the lobby level of One Embarcadero Center where Caul had been turned away a little earlier.


    Caul watches from the fringe as she pushes her way through, deflecting reporters and questions - "Do you suspect any foul play in the accident?" ... "Will your stock now give you controlling interest?" ... "What's going to happen to the company?" ...

    But what really happened at the Jack Tar hotel?  We are as confused as he is.  Did her lover kill her husband then stage the car accident?  Nothing seems to add up but Caul's fecund imagination conjures up the Director laid out in Room 773.


Click in this box to search this site ...