Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

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.

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