Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Man Who Cheated Himself - A Meeting In The Park

  A liquor store owner has been shot in a robbery.   The ballistics results show that the bullets match those that killed Frazer, but no gun has turned up.  Cullen is understandably puzzled; after all, he tossed the gun from the Golden Gate bridge into the bay.  He arranges to meet Lois at a park.

Then ...  He makes his way up a path. Behind him a cable car rolls down the hill past a large mansion.

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... and Now,  this is Lafayette Park and the stately home is the Spreckels mansion at 2080 Washington Street (map), one of San Francisco's famous buildings and a city landmark.  Sugar magnate Adolph Spreckels built the French Baroque limestone home in 1913 for his trophy wife Alma deBretteville.  Alma was still living there when the movie was filmed; today it is the home of novelist Danielle Steele - she added the unsightly privacy hedge, below.  The cable car rolls by no longer, this line having been discontinued six years later, in September, 1956.

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Then ...  Lois is waiting for him by a park bench.  Across the street is the mansion's circular driveway.

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... from the 1950s ...  The over-the-top hedge now hides the driveway from this spot but this 1953 photo captures it.  The original Washington Street entrance was abandoned in favor of the side entrance during Alma's tenure.  Incidentally, the Spreckels mansion was featured two years later in the movie The Sniper and again five years after that in Pal Joey.

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Then ...  Cullen tells her about the latest ballistics evidence but she's more interested in asking him if he would marry her.  Knowing she's been married twice before, he's reluctant to commit (er, and didn't she just shoot her last husband?).  The view looks across Pacific Heights to Fort Mason and over the north bay to Alcatraz and Angel Island. 

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... and Now,  Ms Steele's hedge gets in the way but the view across the Bay is as pretty as ever.  The construction vehicles belong to workers wrapping up an extensive Lafayette Park renovation project.

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Days Of Wine And Roses - Epilogue

  Joe has recovered from his relapse with the help of his A.A. friend Jim - what's more, he has managed to stay off the bottle for a year, commendable but spoiled by Kirsten's lack of interest in sobering up with him.  She leaves her home, her husband and her daughter then bounces from one bum to another before suddenly turning up unannounced to see him.

Then ...  She walks up a steep street towards Joe's rented rooms in the imposing Victorian on the right.

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... in the early 1960s ...   CitySleuth searched high and low in San Francisco before finally nailing this place - it was filmed in Bunker Hill, Los Angeles!  The Victorian is no longer there but this vintage photo, taken about the time the movie was filmed, shows it as it was, the Chaspeak Apartments at 512 W. 2nd Street on the block between Olive (seen crossing behind Kirsten, above) and Grand Avenue (map).

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  In a heartrending scene Kirsten implores Joe to let her return home but he won't unless she commits to give up drinking.  Unable to bring herself to do it she turns and leaves.

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Then ...  As she walks down the street we can just make out some kind of railing spanning 2nd Street  beyond Olive.

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... in 1948 ...  the daytime view in this vintage image reveals the railing to be the balustrade above the 2nd Street tunnel.  The building at right, the one with the 'BAR' sign on it, above, was in real life the Mission Apartments at 504 W. 2nd.  (Ten years earlier this same junction was the site of the concluding scene in the movie Sudden Fear).

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... and Now,  the Bunker Hill neighborhood was razed in the 1950s to clear the way for a huge Civic Redevelopment project; consequently the same view now is unrecognizable.  The tunnel is still there but this section of 2nd Street has been rerouted around it.

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  It's a sad ending as Joe watches his wife go.  He has turned her away so that, for his sake and their daughter's, he will have a chance to remain sober.   We can only speculate as to whether they will ever see each other again.

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The Exiles - Yvonne's place

  ( A Bunker Hill movie in a San Francisco blog?  CitySleuth explains why).

  Yvonne lives at 334 Clay, a narrow street between 2nd and 4th Streets passing beneath the Angels Flight funicular at 3rd.

Then ...  She walks from 4th Street up the sloping section of Clay - just visible here as she approaches the top of the hill.


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... and Now,  the street doesn't exist any more but the dotted lines superimposed on a recent aerial photo show approximately where it and her house used to be.

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Then ...  She passes 338 Clay, turns into 334, and heads along the side of the house to her rooms at the rear.

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... a vintage photo ...  here's a late 1950s or early 1960s photo of 334 (on the left) and 338 Clay Street.

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... in 1966 ...  just a few years later the house had been demolished, its location shown by the arrow.  On the left down on Hill Street is the Grand Central Market where Yvonne did her grocery shopping.

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... and Now,  the same view today, with Grand Central Market still there on the left.  The view now also includes the Angels Flight funicular, it having been relocated a half block from its original location at 3rd Street.  Low-tech grass mowers keep the hillside tidy.

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  Inside are her husband Homer,  (Homer Nish, on the left), and a buddy.  They and others who regularly drop in, all former reservation Indians, are unemployed and Yvonne laments in voiceover about how they spend all day hanging about doing nothing other than listening to rock music on the radio and reading comic books.

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The Man Who Cheated Himself - Just Married

 Andy takes a short break from work to marry his fiancĂ© Janet (Lisa Howard) but delays their honeymoon so he can concentrate on making sure his first murder case is a successful one.

Then ...  After the ceremony they take a day off.  Driving through town, they pay no heed to the stop signal ahead.  Check out that fine-looking church on the left ...


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...and Now,  they are driving south down Gough Street, approaching Eddy (map).  But today the church, St. Paulus' German Evangelican Lutheran, is gone, having burned to the ground in 1995.  Note too that this stretch of Gough is now one-way.

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Then ...  Unfortunately for the blissfully unaware newlyweds a cop witnesses the careless driving and pulls them over.  This view, looking back up Gough to Eddy, captures on the left an imposing Victorian, the Henry J Fortmann mansion at 1007 Gough, destined to be famously featured eight years later in the movie Vertigo.

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...and Now,  hard to see for the trees from this angle but the mansion too is no longer there.  It was slated to be one of the first buildings demolished in the 1950s/60s Fillmore Redevelopment project but suffered a major fire before then.  As you can see, the block across Gough on the right was spared.

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... from Vertigo, 1958 ...  The Fortmann mansion became the McKittrick Hotel in Vertigo from whence Kim Novak's entranced character Madeleine mysteriously disappeared.

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...and Now,  this corner lot became a school sports field.

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Then ...  The cop starts to write a ticket then recognizes Andy as a fellow member of the police force and lets him off.  This dramatic perspective of St. Paulus church must have made a lasting impression on Hollywood director Alfred Hitchcock as we shall shortly see ...

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...and Now,  since the 1995 fire the church site has remained an empty lot, currently being used as a community garden.

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  The Alfred Hitchcock connection?  Well, here's Jimmy Stewart's character Scottie years later in Vertigo in a copy-cat perspective with St. Paulus church.

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  And sadly, the demise of the church on November 5, 1995. 

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  Following their reprieve Andy and Janet make a right turn and head west along Turk Street to spend a day at Seal Rock before he gets back on the case.   St. Paulus church on Gough is across Jefferson Square Park in the distance behind them.

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Days of Wine and Roses - Relapse

  During Joe's hospitalization he is visited by Jim (Jack Klugman) a representative from Alcoholics Anonymous.  Jim takes him under his wing, persuading him to attend an A.A. meeting to face the group and admit his addiction, the essential first step to recovery.

  They cross the road on their way to the meeting.  This looks like a back lot location to CitySleuth, most likely filmed at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

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  Joe's efforts to talk Kirsten into joining him in the A.A. program fall on deaf ears.  She is in total denial ... "I am not an alcoholic and I refuse to say I am ... I will just use my willpower and not drink and that's the end of it".  Instead she disappears until Joe tracks her down at a motel two days later.  He joins her, bringing bottles of booze.

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  The next scene, as recalled by director Blake Edwards on his DVD commentary, was filmed on a back lot, presumably at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.  Outside the motel cabin there's a small lake with a liquor store alongside ... Joe makes an unsteady beeline for it after downing what he'd brought.

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  But the store is closed.  Desperate, he breaks in and snatches a bottle only to be caught by the owner who cruelly demeans the helpless drunk sprawled before him by upending the bottle over his face.  It can't get much worse than this ...

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  Actually, it can.  For the second time he ends up in restraints in a detox cell. 

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