Days of Wine and Roses - A Rocky Start
Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) works at a public relations agency. One of his unofficial duties is to provide escorts for his clients. The movie begins with Joe working the phone, rounding up girls for a party being held on a yacht on the bay.
Then ... A cab pulls up alongside the bay and a young woman gets out.
... and Now, this is the St Francis Yacht Club parking lot at the West Harbor in the Marina district (map). The bridge needs no introduction.
Then ... She makes her way towards a small boat berthed at the yacht club - in the background is a domed structure very familiar to San Franciscans.
Then ... Joe and the girls are waiting for her in the boat - she climbs aboard to a sharp dressing-down from Joe for not dressing up ...
"You're dressed wrong, it's supposed to be a cocktail dress ... something peek-a-boo!"
... and Now, as they head out Fort Mason is straight ahead with Marina Boulevard alongside the harbor off to the right.
Then ... Their tender pulls alongside the party yacht.
... and Now, Citysleuth never could reconcile this location to the Bay Area. He had asked Ann Brebner, the movie's location casting director, about it and she recalled that the yacht shoot was moved to Southern California because of poor weather in San Francisco. Reader Natalie commented (see below) that it looked like Newport Beach but it took a comment from Mr. Newport Beach to nail the precise spot. This is the turning basin of Newport Harbor (map). The Lido Isle is to the right and the trees at far right border the approach to the Lido bridge. The recent photo was taken from the same spot at the Lido Marina Village.
The yacht, built in 1927, was the 'Pioneer', so-named by owner George Washington Vanderbilt III. When Citysleuth read that it was berthed in Newport Beach for most of the 1950s into the early 1960s he looked for it on aerial photos from that era. Bingo! Here it was in 1953 moored at the same spot as in the Then movie image above.
Further confirmation was found in this clipping from a 1962 newspaper.
On the yacht Joe realizes that the underdressed woman isn't one of the escorts after all, she's Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick), the secretary of the client hosting the party. He tries to make amends but she plays it cool. They couldn't have gotten off to a rockier start.