Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Penalty - A Diabolical Plan

    For years Blizzard has been developing a plan of revenge against the city of San Francisco.  With unbridled glee he describes to his lieutenant-in-crime O'Hagan why he has asked him to gather together an army of thousands of disgruntled foreign laborers.


Then ...  He intends to strike at the heart of the city's institutions and wealth, represented as he speaks with this shot toward Market Street's Financial District taken from the top of the Fairmont Hotel in Nob Hill.  In this southeast view two tall structures stand out; at far left is the Hobart Building at 582 Market at Second Street and at far right the distinctive dome of Claus Spreckels' Call Building.

... and Now,  the Call Building, flagged by the arrow, still stands at 703 Market at Third Street.  But it changed drastically in 1938 when it was extensively remodeled to a Moderne style, losing its dome.  Known today as Central Tower, it was once the tallest building this side of Chicago but is now dwarfed by surrounding high-rises.  The Hobart Building too has survived but is hidden behind newer structures.

    In Then and Now views looking east down Market street, here's a closer look at the transformation of the Call Building.


Then ...  Blizzard goes on to describe how a bomb will be detonated to alert his army of anarchists, spread across the city, to spring into action.  This view too was filmed from the top of the Fairmont Hotel, this time looking to the north to Russian Hill as he visualizes in his mind's eye the explosion rising above the tree-covered slope.  Alcatraz Island lurks at far right in the distance.

... and Now,  this photo taken from a Fairmont Tower suite window shows us the same view, now eyesored with incongruous apartment buildings on Russian Hill.  Note both Then and Now the twin-towered Our Lady Of Guadalupe church right of center at 906 Broadway.  At far left, blocking the view of the cable car barn seen clearly above, is the rear of the Brocklebank Apartments, home in 1958 to Kim Novak's enigmatic Madeleine in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.


... a vintage photo ...  Here's Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church in 1924.  It was constructed on this site by and for the local Mexican residents before suffering severe damage in the 1906 fire then was rebuilt with concrete in its present form in 1912.  Over time this once-thriving Hispanic community migrated to the Mission District , especially after the 1950s Broadway tunnel project leveled many of its homes and businesses.

... and Now,  the church was closed in 1991 and for much of the time since then it has functioned as St. Mary's, a Chinese school.  Since 2011 the building has been vacant but was recently sold for $3.3M by the Archdiocese to a developer who, thanks to its City Landmark designation, is required to preserve its exterior.


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