Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Dark Passage - Irene's Apartment - Real versus Movie Set

    The preceding three posts introduced us to Irene's apartment at the art deco Malloch house at 1360 Montgomery Street, #10.  We learned that the exteriors were filmed at that address but the interiors, in order to optimize sound and lighting, were shot on a studio sound stage.  In April 2016 CitySleuth was alerted by reader Cynthia that the Montgomery Street apartment was up for sale -  the open house allowed him to compare the real apartment with the movie's version.  (By the way, it was listed for $1,500,000 and sold very quickly). 

    Here's the floor plan of the real apartment, a 1 bed 1 bath single floor unit on the 3rd floor.  At the north side of the house the Filbert Steps head down the hill from street level (the last photo in this earlier post).

    And here's the floor plan, roughly to scale, of the movie set.  It is still a 1 bed 1 bath unit but there are significant differences, the most obvious being the bedroom which is now upstairs, accessed by a sinuous metal staircase.  The fireplace has been moved across the living room, as has the kitchen, and there's an added den.  The bedroom is an unusual shape; CitySleuth surmises it was done this way to create extra space on either side of the bed for the camera crew. 


Then (movie) ...  An earlier post explained how the apartment's east view across the patio from the living room was a backdrop photo, flipped left to right, of a nearby north facing view of Angel Island.

... and Now (real),  the east view looks out to Yerba Buena Island and the Bay Bridge.  Much prettier.  Why the moviemakers didn't use this view is anybody's guess.  But note how carefully they reproduced the art deco patio wall design, even down to the flowerpot holders integrated into the railing.


Then (movie) ...  Looking in from the patio on a rainy night, this shot of the living room shows off its centerpiece, the bedroom staircase.

... and Now (real),  no staircase, a compact kitchen straight ahead (note the art deco pattern on the cabinets) and a circular dining space over to the right.  The apartment entrance is on the left, past the closet down the corridor which continues on to the bedroom on the same level.


Then (movie) ...  Irene's view from her patio was once again created with a flipped photo, of old Telegraph Hill cottages on the Filbert Steps as described in more detail in this earlier post.

... and Now (real),  here's the actual patio view including a closer look at the flowerpot holders.  CitySleuth prefers the movie view which shows some of the oldest cottages on Telegraph Hill.


Then (movie) ...  The wall behind the bed is at an angle relative to the window wall.

... and Now (real),  the window wall is straight and leads to a small walk-in dressing room.


Then (movie) ...  The view looking down from the bedroom window shows the Filbert Steps linking Montgomery Street's lower and upper levels; across the street they continue up to Coit Tower.  Note the absence of mature trees at that time.

... and Now (real),  comparing with the actual view from apartment #10's bedroom window the parallax differences reveal that the movie's view was taken from a higher level in keeping with its bedroom's upstairs location.  And, it was filmed from a spot more to the right, closer to the building's north side; apparently on the rooftop at the building's northwest corner.

Then ...  Apartment #10 is at the bottom of this frame on the 3rd floor; for this brief exterior shot inserted during a scene in Irene's bedroom the moviemakers lit up the 4th floor apartment's bedroom so as to represent Irene's.

... and Now,  when CitySleuth took this matching photo on an earlier visit there was a Bogart cutout displayed in the bedroom window of apartment #10.  (CitySleuth saw it propped behind a door during the open house).  Note too the absence of ugly power lines, now underground.


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