Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Penalty - It's Who You Know

   The angry crowd continues its pursuit of Frisco Pete through Chinatown.  Note, as he rounds this corner, the painted-out Anchor Steam beer ad on the wall; remember, the movie was filmed shortly after the Prohibition ban became effective nationwide, on January 19, 1920.


Then ...  a wider view of the same corner is seen here as the crowd appears.  The painted-out beer sign was on the wall of the Guide Saloon.

... and Now,  this is Wentworth Place in Chinatown where it tees into Jackson Street (map). The corner store has since been expanded a few feet into Jackson below the overhang - today it's the traditional Chinese medicine store Wan Hua Co. at 665 Jackson - but the two side window openings on Wentworth set in the brick wall are still clearly visible even though they have been filled in.  The building exteriors facing us on Jackson have been significantly changed.


Then ...  Pete spots the amputee Blizzard crutching across Wentworth.  Blizzard is his boss and right now the only hope he has.  Wentworth Place had a notorious reputation back then - the row of businesses down the right (west) side all housed Chinese brothels.

... and Now,  Wentworth Place today, resurfaced and with cleaned-up businesses, presents a colorful appearance.


Then ...  Outside Blizzard's house Frisco Pete recounts his misdeed and beseeches his boss to help him out.  Realizing that doing so will give him even more power over his wayward lackey, he lets him hide inside.  Pete gets a reprieve - it's not what you know but who you know, just as important back then as it is today.

... and Now,  today's entrance to Blizzard's house, 59 Wentworth Place, is behind the white wrought iron security door.  The camera position is the same Then and Now but note that the sidewalk has since been widened, moving the lampposts outwards.

    This 1913 Sanborn Insurance map shows the location of Blizzard's house. (Back then #55, today it's re-addressed as #59).  Note the F.B. designation, Sanborn's abbreviation of 'Female Boarding', a euphemism for brothel.  With 3 saloons, a restaurant and 13 brothels, Wentworth must have been a busy place at night.


Then ...  Blizzard beckons to a passing cop ...

... and Now,  the east side of Wentworth Place.  The buildings facing us on Washington and most of those on Wentworth are the same as they were a hundred years ago except that the shopfronts have all been redone.


    The criminal mastermind has the police force in his pocket and all it takes is a wink-wink to get the cop to go down and disperse the crowd.


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