Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Burbank

Play It Again, Sam - Casablanca Finale

Allan rushes onto the tarmac, catching up with Linda right before she catches up with Dick. But where is this? The preceding airport scenes were filmed at San Francisco International but these final scenes may have been at Hollywood/Burbank Airport (later known as Bob Hope Airport), for reasons explained later in this post.


From here on, the airport scene mostly mirrored the final airport scene in Casablanca; the comparisons are shown here side-by-side. Allan is intent on telling her to forget him and go with Dick. But she beats him to it, having come to the same conclusion.

Notice how Bogart is looking down to Bergman in Casablanca, above. That’s because he wore shoe lifters to compensate for his modest height (below). Apparently Woody Allen had no such pretensions.


Dick joins them, surprised to realize that she is coming with him (remember, Linda had already told him that she loves Allan). They spin around at the sound of the aircraft engines springing to life.


The Casablanca airport scenes were filmed at Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley alongside a Lockheed 12-A Electra aircraft whereas in Play It Again, Sam, filmed (as mentioned, most likely) at Hollywood/Burbank Airport, the moviemakers used a vintage Douglas DC-3. (Trivia fact - the winged seahorse logo on the Casablanca airplane was adopted by Air France in 1933 from its predecessor Air Orient and as such was historically accurate for that movie’s French colonial setting).


As Dick and Linda leave together the parallel with Casablanca is complete. Just like his idol, Allan has done the honorable thing having come to terms with the real love of his lover.


And again, like his idol, the movie closes with him slowly walking off into the mist …

The filming of this final shot in Play It Again, Sam has since been described in an interesting anecdote by one of the movie’s assistant directors. It was a reshoot to accommodate a late script change and it was filmed at the Hollywood/Burbank Airport. He doesn’t mention where the action leading up to it took place, possibly the same location but not yet confirmed.

The movies’ final line …

Casablanca - “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.

This movie - “Here’s looking at you, kid”.


The Sniper - Hangups

  After the shock of seeing Miller aim his rifle at an unsuspecting woman the audience is introduced to the possible causes of his hangups in this next scene, filmed entirely on the Columbia Ranch, the original back lot for Columbia Pictures, in Burbank (map).

  Below, a layout of the Columbia Ranch as it was shows the locations of the ensuing action.  The ranch is today owned by Warner Brothers and is now known as the Warner Ranch.


Then ...  Miller walks past a cinema and overhears a passing girl tell her friend she has ditched her boyfriend.  We get the impression he's been on the receiving end of that situation himself.

... on the back lot ...  Here's where this clip was filmed (on Brownstone Street, location 1 on the map above).  The cinema, with the same 'Shorts - News' sign on the marquee, is over to the right.  Note the huge lights on the top of the street facade.


He walks down the street and witnesses a mother smacking her disobedient child (a public scene not uncommon in the 1950s).  Clearly, it brings back unhappy memories.


Then ...  He comes to a park full of canoodling couples, a sight he seems to abhor.  Next to him is a fountain - at location 2 on the map above.  Note the building behind him (marked by a yellow dot on the map).

... on the back lot ...  below is a back lot photo of that same building, known as the Park Boulevard Apartments.  The park is off to the left of the picture.

... on the back lot ...  here's an overview of the park, including the fountain, taken in 1964.  On a trivia note, this same fountain was featured during the opening credits each week of the Friends TV series.


Then ...  Miller continues on, feeling down on his luck.  This is location 3 on the map above, again on Brownstone Street but at the other end, near Skid Row.

... on the back lot ...  the capture below, from a 1949 Batman and Robin TV episode filmed on the lot, shows a closer look at the buildings seen above behind Miller.  (CitySleuth is indebted to an excellent Columbia Ranch website for these images).


    Later we get to see just how troubled Miller really is when, in a moment of self-inflicted punishment, he holds his hand against an electric range burner.  His subsequent visit to a doctor will turn out to be pivotal to the denouement of the story.

The Lady From Shanghai - Two Murders

  O'Hara has signed the 'confession' for Grisby's fake murder believing that he can't be convicted because Grisby will have disappeared from view.  No body, no conviction.  They are ready to stage the murder but the event is bookmarked by two real murders.

  Bannister's assistant Broome has overheard some of the plotting - concluding that Grisby is about to kill his boss -  but when he threatens blackmail Grisby without hesitation pulls a gun and fires.


Then ...  O'Hara, unaware of Broome's shooting, returns with Grisby to the Walhalla bar (at 201 Bridgeway in Sausalito, described previously here) and fires off a few shots to catch people's attention while Grisby slips away.

... and Now,  the building is still there but has been widened and extended out closer to the boardwalk.


Then ...  while O'Hara is attracting a startled crowd Grisby jumps unseen into a motor boat and heads past the anchored Circe towards the glittering San Francisco shore.  Reader Wallace Berry has pointed out that this boat wasn't the Zaca (used for the Acapulco scenes), but a stand-in, the White Cloud.

... and Now,  the same skyline, though far more developed, is as beautiful as ever - the Bay Bridge, as strings of pearls, only enhances the scene.  A few skeletal remains are all that is left of the pier.


Then ...  Grisby completes the crossing and arrives at a marina.

... and Now,  this is the West Harbor in the San Francisco Marina district, in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club (map).  Fort Mason is In the background at left and Russian Hill at right.  (Incidentally, the 1951 movie The House On Telegraph Hill featured the same pier - see it here).


Then ...  O'Hara phones Elsa only to reach the mortally wounded Broome whose gasping last words tell him Grisby is on his way to kill his law partner (Bannister), planning on pinning the murder on O'Hara.  O'Hara frantically drives over the Golden Gate Bridge to Bannister's office in San Francisco.

... and Now,  CitySleuth snapped this matching shot at the south end of the bridge from a location off limits to pedestrians (only cyclists can use this side) for which he was rebuked by the authorities.  If you look carefully you can see the recent addition of a safety railing, elegantly done on each side, between the pedestrians/bikers and road traffic.


Then ...  The camera pivots, following the car, and we see the Round House on the right, opened as a restaurant for passing motorists in 1938, one year after the bridge was inaugurated.  In the distance just left of center is the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts and Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill is discernible at far left.

... and Now,  the Round House is still there, now a gift shop for the ubiquitous visitors.


Then ...  O'Hara arrives at Bannister's office and finds the police are out front responding to yet another murder.  But, surprise, it's Grisby who has been shot!  The police find the confession on O'Hara and promptly arrest him.

   Wouldn't you know it, this scene was filmed on the Columbia Ranch, the original back lot for Columbia Pictures, in Burbank (map).  Below is an image from a 1949 Batman and Robin TV episode filmed at the ranch showing the same building, known as the Kirby Building.  It was subsequently destroyed in a devastating 1974 fire but the ranch is still operational, now called the Warner Ranch.


  Just to dot the i's, below is the Columbia Ranch layout as it was when the movie was filmed, with the Kirby Building corner shown arrowed.  The two views above look across New York Street with Brownstone Street teeing in on the right.  (CitySleuth is indebted to the excellent Columbia Ranch website for these images).

Click in this box to search this site ...