Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Elizabeth Succumbs!

Their truck backs up to the loading dock of a warehouse that they quickly realize is being used as a pod incubator.

These scenes were filmed at the Pier 70 Historic Shipyard at the eastern end of 20th Street in the Dogpatch neighborhood (map). The warehouse is Building 6, a facility originally (from 1941) used for outfitting newly floated ships. Below is an aerial view of Pier 70 showing Building 6; it’s still there, but barely.

… and Now, here it is as viewed from its north end at the closest point CitySleuth could get to on a recent visit. As you can see, it’s now in a very sorry state of repair.


Outside the warehouse Elizabeth twists her ankle and Matthew leaves her for a short while to check out a possible escape route. When he returns she has fallen asleep and before his horrified eyes she dissolves into a heap of ash. Just as quickly she rises, an alien phoenix, urging him to join the converted.


Then … Matthew, consumed with distress and anger, enters the warehouse and climbs above the canopy and electric lights that cover the incubating pods. Thinking only of revenge, he grabs a fire-axe, frantically cutting the canopy support ropes to bring it crashing down in flames.

… and Now, long a graffiti target, the warehouse is known to local street taggers as ‘Tag Cathedral’.

Here’s a closer look. Some pretty wild stuff.


‘Pod’ Elizabeth alerts the scrambling workers to Matthew with a bloodcurdling alien scream (even her dental filling has been cloned).


After exiting an upper window and dropping down from the awning he escapes along the loading dock.


Then … The workers pursue him, stumbling in their haste, as he flees the burning building.

… and Now, CitySleuth was not able to access this, the south end of the building but came across a recently taken photo showing the loading dock on the left where the first image in this post and the one two images up were filmed. Note too the same mini balcony at the top left corner in both Then and Now images and the original ‘Building 6’ name on the wall.


Play It Again, Sam - To The Airport!

Then … Allan climbs Kearny Street on his way back to his North Beach apartment (described in more detail earlier). He finds Dick waiting for him, telling him that he has become convinced that Linda is having an affair. Allan quakes in his boots, not having the nerve to fess up. But he becomes tormented on hearing Dick’s passionate declaration of his feelings for his wife.

… and Now, viewed from Fresno Street (map), this is the ultra-steep block of Kearny above Broadway.


When he calls her she has already confessed to Dick, without naming Allan. Bitterly disappointed, he leaves for the airport on a business trip.


Then … Allan has to talk to her - he takes a cab to her place, finds out that she’s left for the airport chasing Dick, then continues on, chasing Linda.

… and Now, this is viewed from outside 2614 Buchanan Street in Pacific Heights (Linda’s house, described earlier). The cross street ahead is Pacific Avenue .


Then … By now he has decided that he has to tell her to stay with Dick but during the cab ride he pictures her, in this great wide angle shot at San Francisco Airport’s Central Terminal, reacting angrily to his decision.

… and Now, Central Terminal is still there but is now named Terminal 2. In 2008 it underwent a state-of-the-art upgrade via a $383 million renovation.

This vintage image shows Central Terminal as it looked when the movie was filmed. The windows above the upper departure level are the same as those seen in the Then image above.

… vintage trivia … Citysleuth often digs up indirectly related material when researching a location. Case in point; he came across this photograph of passengers lining up at the same PSA counter seen at far left in the Then movie image above. The bell bottoms would date it to the 1970s. PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) was a popular West Coast airline perhaps best known for its flight attendants’ mini-skirted outfits in the 1960s and hot pants in the 1970s, not to mention kinky boots.

Monty Python said it best … “Nudge, nudge, know what I mean, say no more, say no more”. It didn’t take long before outraged women’s groups and a shift in passenger profile away from predominantly businessmen persuaded management to, ‘hem, tone it down.


Then … Linda’s cab arrives at Central Terminal’s departures and she dashes in hoping to reach Dick before he leaves. Note two more airline signs: Air West and National, both destined, like PSA, to be swallowed up by bigger fish.

… and Now, same terminal, different name, different look. Here’s a Google image of the Terminal 2 departures level in its current reincarnation.


She finds the gate and runs onto the tarmac (she couldn’t do that now) where Dick is about to board his plane. Allan follows her, just steps behind.


Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Capture and Escape

Then … Matthew and Elizabeth flee ahead of the pursuing pod people past a line of columned lamps. City Hall is in the background.

… and Now, this is the United Nations (U.N.) Plaza (map). The Plaza was installed along the former alignment of Fulton Street during the reconstruction of Market Street following the excavation for the Market Street Bart Subway. It opened in 1975 but the view now from the same spot shows foreground access stairs down to the Civic Center station that were installed 2 years after Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was filmed when the Muni Metro line was added to the Subway.


This recent image shows the U.N. Plaza as pristine as you will ever see it. The plaza was designed by the renowned San Francisco environmental architect Lawrence Halprin. (In a location trivia note, Halprin’s office appeared in a scene in the movie Bullit). The Bart/Muni Metro stairs are bounded by the railing on the left


Then … They come across their street busker friend and his boxer dog (they were seen earlier in the movie) sleeping next to a pod. Knowing what’s about to happen Matthew kicks the pod in disgust.

… and Now, the view is from Polk Street near the Grove Street junction (map) looking west past City Hall to Van Ness.

Later in the movie we see that a kick in the pod has consequences: the busker’s body-snatching gene transfer didn’t quite go as planned…


Then … They finally run across Grove Street and reach their destination - their workplace at the Department Of Public Health at 101 Grove, described in more detail earlier.

… and Now, the entrance still looks the same.


Then … from an upstairs window they watch an army of pod people lining up to distribute pods across the Bay Area; they fear that their days are numbered.

… and Now, in front of the Grove Street entrance of City Hall.


Without warning, the pod versions of their former friends show up and capture them, administering a sedative drug to send them asleep alongside two pods.


Then … But they manage to escape from the building and leave the pod people behind by jumping into a moving truck.

… and Now, on the left is the east side of the Department Of Public Health; ahead, Polk Street crosses Grove as it recedes to the north. The old First Aid sign partially visible in the movie shot at top left above is still affixed to the wall.


Play It Again, Sam - Fearful

Over coffee Allan cannot stop thinking about his affair. He rationalizes that Dick is sophisticated enough to accept that his wife might fall in love with his best friend…

Other than the smiley face poster, (does it read ‘Chuckburger’?) there aren’t enough clues here to figure out where this cafe was.


Then … But then, alarmed, he worries that Dick might be driven to suicide once he finds out, imagining him marching to his demise into the swirling surf at Ocean Beach at the westernmost edge of the city (map)

… and Now, the tide is out in this recent view looking south from near the Cliff House. (That’s one of Golden Gate Park’s windmills on the left).


Then … But wait, it could be worse … perhaps it will be Allan’s life at risk - the sight of an Italian movie poster prompts him to imagine an enraged Dick on a vendetta.

… a vintage photo, he was passing the Palace Theater, opposite Washington Square park at the junction of Columbus and Powell in North Beach (map). This is an image of how it looked when the movie was filmed at which time it was also showing Chinese movies and was known as the Pagoda Palace.

After being closed for years the theater was demolished in 2013 when it was deemed the ideal spot to extract the two boring machines that had dug the twin Central Subway tunnels extending the T-Third Street line from near the Giant’s ballpark 1.7 miles north into Chinatown. (Read more about that here). The photo below captures a piece of one of them being hoisted from the retrieval shaft in 2014 at the old theater site. (Watch a time-lapse video of both machines being removed here).

… and Now, a new retail/condominium structure has been built on the site retaining the blade sign as a reminder of its historic past.


Then … Allan pictures himself as a bakery worker being attacked by fellow worker Dick, first amusingly with bread dough then, more seriously, with a knife. Behind him there’s a turn-of-the -century Italian baking oven, a clue as to the location.

CitySleuth is often asked how he finds a location. His search for this one is but one example, involving many dead ends but at each one finding a further lead to pursue.

In the 1970s the North Beach neighborhood was home to a host of bakeries, a good place to start looking. CitySleuth visited them all: the Liguria Bakery at 1700 Stockton is still there but their oven doesn’t match this one; Danilo’s at 516 Green, now Baonecci’s, also still has its oven but again, different; the Italian-Swiss Bakery, most recently Sylvia’s Pastry, at 1501 Grant was gutted just weeks ago and its oven removed but an unearthed vintage photo showed it also to be different. CitySleuth spoke to the owner of the Victoria Pastry Co. that back then was at Stockton and Vallejo but he ruled it out as the place. The store at 1351 Grant that once housed Figoni Hardware still has ovens downstairs, unused for decades, but they don’t match either. Finally, a hot lead: at the venerable Gino and Carlo bar the owner pointed CitySleuth across the street to where Cuneo Bakery used to be.

… and Now, the Cuneo Bakery site was at 523 Green Street; it’s now a Copy Center and sadly its old ovens are no longer there. CitySleuth was referred to Mark Sodini, owner of Sodini’s Restaurant across the street who used to work at the bakery. He confirmed that the movie scene was filmed at Cuneo; what’s more, he was upstairs in the building while the scene was being shot downstairs. Cuneo Bakery relocated years ago to South San Francisco where it continues as a wholesale business. The current co-owner Wendy Mallegni is the daughter of the family who owned and operated the North Beach site and she too confirmed that the scene was filmed here at 523 Green.

With the movie oven gone a matching photo isn’t possible but the extant example across the street in the basement of Baonecci’s at 516 Green is very similar, possiby the same manufacturer, and is offered here as consolation. Compare it to the ‘Then’ image above.

17 - fearful 7 (danilos, now baoneccis.jpg

Click in this box to search this site ...