Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

D.O.A. - A Mad Dash Through Town

  Bigelow has just received a confirming diagnosis of a fatal poisoning giving him only a few days to live.  He becomes totally unhinged (who wouldn't?) and rushes out of the Southern Pacific Hospital at 1400 Fell Street on a frenzied dash through town.


  Then ...  The hospital is in the Nopa neighborhood but in the next frame (below) he is rushing along busy Market Street two miles away - some run!  Just ahead of him is Taylors at 925 Market and J C Penney is next it.  These scenes were filmed without a permit using a hidden camera to ensure a genuine reaction from the surprised pedestrians.

... and Now, Mid-Market does not have the hustle and bustle as it did back in the 1950s.  It was far livelier back then.


... in 1956 ... here's a vintage photo of a view down this stretch of Market Street showing J C Penney and Taylors at the far right.  The big E of the Emporium is visible in the next block and the Ferry Building can just be made out at the far end of Market Street.


  Then ...    He continues along Market having just passed the Emporium on his right on the 800 block.  Gensler-Lee Diamonds at 818 Market, Moss clothing store and Bartels coats are seen on the left.  The Gensler-Lee and Moss stores also show up through Lancey's Diner's window in the movie 'Woman On The Run'.  Past Bartel's Coats, across Stockton Street, is the Roos Bros. department store (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  the bus stop island is still there but those stores have long since moved out.   The Roos Bros. site was until recently home to the Virgin store.


  Then ...    The mad dash continues below as Bigelow, now at the waterfont, races across the Embarcadero towards Market Street.  The Bay Bridge is behind him and the top of the YMCA near Howard can be seen above the passing bus.

... and Now,  the Y is still there today, hidden by the palm trees.  What these 'Then' and 'Now' shots don't show is the eyesore two-level freeway that ran along this section of the Embarcadero from the late 50s until the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake forced its demolition.


  The frantic dash ends as Bigelow, exhausted, stops at a newsstand on the corner of Market and the Embarcadero.  In a cruel irony the magazine rack proclaims 'Life!' at the very moment when he is facing imminent death.


  On a trivia note, reader Tom Shieber points out that the Life Magazine on the newsstand above was the September 12, 1949 issue.  It features a cover story about how Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito defied the Kremlin.  That was a pretty ballsy thing to do in those days.


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