Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

I Remember Mama - Quid Pro Quo At The Fairmont

    Katrin has been sending stories to a long list of publishers.  Thoroughly devastated after the tenth rejection, she declares it would be a waste of time going to college because she will never be a writer.  But when Mama reads that the famous author Florence Dana Morehead is in town staying at Nob Hill's Fairmont Hotel (map), and that she is also passionate about gastronomy, she has an idea ...


 Then ...  We next see her, clutching some of Katrin's stories under her arm, in the hotel lobby.  This shot was reflected in a mirror; CitySleuth has reversed the image in order to compare it with the Fairmont's lobby now.

... and Now,  those beautiful marble Corinthian columns have been standing there for over one hundred years.  But in the movie, above, there are less columns in the back corner than there should be.  Also, the column flanking the far side of the  staircase on the left, below, is missing, above.  Clearly the lobby scenes were filmed on a studio set, not on location.  One wonders if the hotel denied the moviemakers permission to film in the lobby (unlike 20 years later when the opening scene of Petulia was filmed here). 


 Then ...  she waylays Mrs. Morehead near the revolving door of the lobby's main entrance.  The author is not interested in reading Katrina's stories but when Mama tells her she has a secret recipe for Lutefisk and Koetbullar - Norwegian Meatballs in Cream Sauce - her curiosity is piqued.

... and Now,  the real Fairmont's main entrance.


 Then ...  they sit down in front of the registration desk and Mama offers to write down the recipe while Mrs. Morehead reads Katrin's stories, an offer the gourmand cannot refuse.

... and Now,  the set designers did an excellent job simulating this part of the real lobby but there's a tell-tale difference - the ingrained patterns of the marble columns, the one thing that would never change over the years, don't even come close to matching, more confirmation that the scene was filmed on a set.


    Back home Mama finds Katrin in her attic room dejectedly tearing up all of her stories.  She tells her about her visit, how Mrs Morehead found the stories too formulaic but nevertheless recognized a gift and suggested Katrin write about something or somebody she knows really well then to send it to her agent.  Mama suggests she write about Papa.


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