Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Cab ride

Then … The pod mob continues to chase Matthew and Elizabeth, here passing Beppino’s, a Ristorante and Bar inside the PSA San Francisco Hotel at 1231 Market near 8th Street (map).

… and Now, the hotel is now the Hotel Whitcomb. Beppino’s is long gone; its entrance too, having been closed off with a convincing match to the exterior facade.

 

Then … We next see them walking on Broadway at Columbus in the North Beach red light district having apparently shaken off their pursuers. The brick arches behind them belong to the Condor Club (map), notorious since the 1960s for being the first club in the nation to feature topless (and later, bottomless) entertainment by their star stripper Carol Doda.

… and Now, the brightly back-lit posters above belonged to the adjacent topless club, Big Al’s. It segued over the years into an adult bookstore then a grocery store and finally a smoke shop before closing down. It has been shuttered for years.

CitySleuth would be remiss not to let us sneak a peek at why Ms. Doda was smirkily dubbed “the new Twin Peaks of San Francisco”. Forty four injections of silicone reportedly boosted her reputation.

 

Then … A short way along the block they get into a cab parked outside the Hungry I club (for some reason its sign was sanitized by masking the word ‘NUDE’).

… and Now, the Hungry I was, and still is, on the corner of Romolo Place, a steep alley that heralds the slopes of Telegraph Hill. (But don’t confuse it with the historic 1950s beat/folk era Hungry I club which was located nearby in the basement of the International Hotel two blocks away at 599 Jackson Street).

 

As the cab pulls away take a look at who’s driving, in a cameo role. It’s Don Siegel who was the director of the original 1956 version of this movie. Siegel directed many other movies including the 1971 San Francisco classic Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood.

 

Then … On their way through a tunnel the cabbie is unusually curious about where they are going. He wants to know why and the simultaneous appearance of a pair of motorcycle cops makes them fear that they are in the hands of pod people.

… and Now, this is the Robert C. Levy, aka Broadway, Tunnel (map), an underground link between Larkin and Powell Streets in the Russian Hill neighborhood. Built in 1952, it has aged well over the years. CitySleuth has driven through this tunnel dozens of times but only occasionally has he seen a pedestrian on the noisy six-block-long walkway on the right.

 

When the cab stops at a police roadblock they slip out and run off. The overpass in the background has an ‘early freeway’ look and may have been upgraded or demolished today - CitySleuth is still on the lookout for it.

 

Play It Again, Sam - Elated

Then … Allan relives his tryst as he strolls the streets with a smile on his face: “I was dynamite last night … I gave her my best moves”.

… and Now, filmed at the junction of Vallejo and Buchanan Streets in Cow Hollow (map), the view looks north along Buchanan across the Marina and the bay towards Angel Island and Tiburon. The tall masts provide night-time illumination for the George Moscone Softball Fields.

 

Then … Next, a couple of sight gags; first a tiny tyke yaps at him as he walks by, startling him into jumping backwards. Perhaps the perceptive pup somehow knew he’d been a naughty boy.

… and Now, this is a block and a half south of the previous shot, in front of 2614 Buchanan between Broadway and Pacific (map), which just happens to be Linda’s house.

 

Then … And finally nobody notices as Allan nonchalantly slaps an unsuspecting man reading a newspaper, knocking him over the edge of a low wall. The camera’s telescopic lens expands and draws in the distant Bay Bridge.

… and Now, this is the Vallejo Street cul-de-sac above Montgomery Street in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood (map). Despite being 5 blocks from the waterfront there’s an unobstructed view of the Bay Bridge from here … well, absent the trees, that is. (Much as CitySleuth would have liked an unobstructed matching view of the wall it’s nigh on impossible to capture because of residents’ omnipresent parked cars).

16 - elated 3 now.png
 

Then … In an antique store Allan shops for a music box, presumably a gift for Linda. He bumps into his ex, Nancy, and when she asks about girlfriends he denies he has one. Guilt is starting to set in. As she leaves the store note the business across the street; its sign is mostly obscured by the door but it ends in ‘GUE’. This is the big clue as to the location.

Union Street in Cow Hollow used to be the go-to place for antique stores and the 1971/1972 city directories list a men’s clothing store at 1858 Union called Union Rogue (which matches the U…….GUE above). And, there was an antique store directly opposite at 1861 Union called Urban Antiques. So this must have been where the scene was filmed. Reader Ron Morehen comments below on how he was recruited to walk back and forth outside the shop while the shooting took place inside. He confirms the shop was on Union Street but recalls the name as Seawall Antiques. The 1973 directory lists both Urban Antiques and Seawall Newthings Gifts at 1861 Union, but this was published at least a year after the filming took place. Urban or Seawall, either way the antique store was at 1861 Union Street in Cow Hollow (map).

… and Now, this is a photo of the most recent business at 1861 Union, called Eurasian Interiors. But when CitySleuth stopped by for a matching photo he found it stripped bare in the midst of a remodel. The Union Rogue men’s store that was across the street is now Ambiance, a women’s boutique.

 

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - On The Waterfront

Then … The chase continues along the waterfront towards Pier 33 with the vengeful pod people in hot pursuit of Matthew and his friends.

… and Now, The pier, on the Embarcadero near Bay Street (map), is now widely known as the ferry terminal point for daily Alcatraz Island visitors. What used to be a large doorway at far right, above, is now the Alcatraz Landing Cafe, below.

 

Then … They head into the cavernous pier, running towards us in this dramatic backlit shot.

… and Now, here’s the interior of Pier 33 on a quiet Sunday morning as CitySleuth found it when he recently stopped by.

 

Then … They exit a side door but their flight is arrested by a metal fence.

… and Now, This is is at the far end of the east side of the pier (map). As it turns out their chance of escape would have been stymied anyway by the waters of the bay. There’s now an additional fence erected in front of the original one.

 

Jack offers to divert the fast-approaching pod people. In the blinding glare of a helicopter searchlight aimed from above he kisses wife Nancy goodbye.

Then … He runs off, shouting loudly. But she chases after him.

… and Now, the landing runs alongside Pier 33 (it still has an old railway track, no longer in use) in this view looking back to the Embarcadero. One of the Alcatraz ferries is seen on the left.

 

Then … The ruse works; the angry aliens chase after them, leaving Matthew and Elizabeth safe, for now.

… and Now, dimly seen above but clearly visible in the daylight below are, from left to right on the skyline, The Transamerica Pyramid, the former Bank of America Center (now named 555 California Street) and Coit Tower, rising from the top of the Filbert Steps.

 

Play It Again, Sam - Linda's House

It’s the morning after the night before; they are lovers now. Allan drops Linda off at her home.

Several scenes at different times during the movie were filmed outside this house, a turn-of-the-century Victorian located at the north end of Pacific Heights at 2614 Buchanan Street between Broadway and Pacific (map). The recent photo below shows the building today … it houses four living units - Linda’s was the one with the red front door. But the three-car garage has been added since the movie was released.

 

Then … At the front door, it was painted white then, they seal their new-found intimacy with a tender kiss.

… and Now, from the street the garage blocks the view of the steps but the repainted door is clearly the same one - compare the matching details of its inset window lites and the door carvings.

 

Then … later in the movie this panorama of Linda leaving her home reveals that there used to be a low wall in front of the house.

… and Now, garages have replaced that wall and low jutting brick walls (which used to symmetrically match) flank the property’s entrance, now with a security gate. The adjacent property has upgraded garage doors and it too has added a security gate.

 

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