Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Lady From Shanghai - On The Lam - Chop Suey and Shanghai Low

  During O'Hara's desperate flight from justice along its main thoroughfare, Grant Avenue, director Welles jumps back and forth in a tightly edited multi-cut sequence lasting less than two minutes.  In the next few posts CitySleuth will present the locations sequentially block by block to guide those of you who may wish to walk the route.

Then ...  He looks back from the corner of Grant and Pine (map).  One block north along Grant the pagoda-towered Sing Fat and Sing Chong Buildings face each other across California Street, also cleverly captured in the shop window.  They were built just two years after the 1906 earthquake as a statement by the Chinese community that they had no intention of bowing to pressure from politicians to leave the stricken area.

... and Now,  the recent photo reassures us that the buildings are still there, as indeed are the Chinese residents and, since the mid 1920s, Grant Avenue's ornate lampposts with their lanterns and intertwined dragons.  The City of Hong Kong store at 519 Grant is now at the same location as Lamps of China, reflected in the window above.

... in the 1920s ...  we see the same view in this early 1920s photo of local kids beach-playing in a worker's pile of sand.  Note the plainer lampposts and note too the Chop Suey restaurant sign, also seen in the movie view above, which we shall see replicated many times as O'Hara continues his flight along Grant.

... in 1935 ...  here's a vintage photo taken from the same spot 12 years before the movie was filmed there.  Reader Bruys Tournier pointed out that the classic (now, that is) car in the foreground is probably a pre 1930s Chrysler sedan.  CitySleuth checked it out - it's a 1928 Chrysler Imperial 80.

... in 1943 ...  moving on through the decades, how about this cool 1943 photo in full color?


... an Edward Hopper painting ...  In the first half of the century chop suey, roughly meaning chopped up odds and ends, was synonymous with Chinese cuisine, along with chow mein.  The  basic meal became an advertisement for the restaurant.  Even artists reflected the practice, as in this 1929 painting by Edward Hopper.


Then ...  later on during his desperate run O'Hara is shown outside the neon-signed Shanghai Low's restaurant at 532 Grant between Pine and California just a half block from the location above.

...  a vintage photo ...  the restaurant was there a quarter century earlier in the 1920s but with a plainer marquee.  Once again we see the landmark Sing Fat and Sing Chong Buildings at California Street.

... and Now,  the Lotus Garden restaurant is the current occupant of the Shanghai Low site (its sign is at top right, also visible in the Now image above).  You would never guess it but this image and the one above are 90 years apart in time.

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