Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Portrait In Black - Rivera's Apartment

Then ...  The cab carrying Irene to her lover Dr. Rivera crests a steep hill from where the view stretches across the distant Marina district towards Angel Island in San Francisco's north bay.

... and Now,  this is the junction of Divisadero and Broadway in Pacific Heights (map), only two blocks east of Irene's home.  From here Divisadero drops down into Cow Hollow and the Marina Green West Harbor can just be seen at the water's edge.


Then ...  The cab sweeps around and stops, facing east, at the same junction.  Irene gets out and walks the few steps to Rivera's apartment, in the corner house just off to the right at 2560 Divisadero.  This is an inferred virtual location because the home's exterior is not shown in the movie and the interiors were filmed on a sound stage.

... and Now,  the same view today, along Broadway towards the Russian Hill skyline, has hardly changed. 


Then ...  The apartment's interior scenes were filmed in a studio so the only way of placing the location is to infer it from the window view, briefly seen during their meeting.

Then ...  But where is this?  Not much to go on but Citysleuth noticed that it was not unlike a similar view seen from Irene Cabot's home later in the movie.  So he overlaid the Rivera view, bordered in yellow, next to the Cabot view.  It's one and the same, looking north towards the Palace of Fine Arts.  The set designer must have used the same photo behind the window for both interiors.

... and Now,  CitySleuth couldn't access 2560 Divisadero but here's the similar view taken from 2701 Broadway, the house across the street from it.  The alignment of the Palace with the distant hills indicates that the movie view was taken from a little further west.


  Below is 2560 Divisadero, on the corner of Broadway, which as already noted, was never shown in the movie.  Because Irene was dropped off outside this home, and because it's the only house on its block which could have a similar north view of the Palace (because Broadway slopes steeply away), CitySleuth hereby candidates it the virtual location of Rivera's apartment.


  Reader Howard S, host of the Walking-In-SF blog, reminded CitySleuth that Buster Keaton's 1924 silent movie The Navigator included a scene filmed at this same corner.  In the capture below, looking north along Divisadereo across Broadway, Buster is chauffered by way of a U-turn from his mansion on the right to the home of the lady who lives across the street.  There doesn't appear to be a house at the corner next to his mansion at that time.

... and Now,  the same view today.  The two houses at left are still there and the house at right, Rivera's house, was built on the corner in 1938.  Compare the road surface in these two images - the lucky few who had wheels back then enjoyed a smooth ride, not possible in San Francisco these days,


  Irene is mortified when he confirms that he has indeed made arrangements to leave the country, because he's afraid of what he'll do if he stays.  He picks up a hypodermic needle and tells her he had thought of injecting Cabot with an air bubble - an undetectible way to free her from a husband who would never agree to a divorce.  But she tells him "Don't even think it".

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