Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Dogpatch

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Elizabeth Succumbs!

Their truck backs up to the loading dock of a warehouse that they quickly realize is being used as a pod incubator.

These scenes were filmed at the Pier 70 Historic Shipyard at the eastern end of 20th Street in the Dogpatch neighborhood (map). The warehouse is Building 6, a facility originally (from 1941) used for outfitting newly floated ships. Below is an aerial view of Pier 70 showing Building 6; it’s still there, but barely.

… and Now, here it is as viewed from its north end at the closest point CitySleuth could get to on a recent visit. As you can see, it’s now in a very sorry state of repair.


Outside the warehouse Elizabeth twists her ankle and Matthew leaves her for a short while to check out a possible escape route. When he returns she has fallen asleep and before his horrified eyes she dissolves into a heap of ash. Just as quickly she rises, an alien phoenix, urging him to join the converted.


Then … Matthew, consumed with distress and anger, enters the warehouse and climbs above the canopied electric lamps that cover the incubating pods. Thinking only of revenge, he grabs a fire-axe, frantically cutting the canopy support ropes to bring it crashing down in flames.

… and Now, long a graffiti target, the warehouse is known to local street taggers as ‘Tag Cathedral’.

Here’s a closer look. Some pretty wild stuff, enhanced by the diffused sunlight on the broken panes.


‘Pod’ Elizabeth alerts the scrambling workers to Matthew with a bloodcurdling alien scream (click or tap to zoom in - even her dental filling has been cloned).


After exiting an upper window and dropping down from the awning he escapes along the loading dock.


Then … The workers pursue him, stumbling in their haste, as he flees the burning building.

… and Now, CitySleuth was not able to access this, the south end of the building but came across a recently taken photo showing the loading dock on the left where the first image in this post and the one two images up were filmed. Note too the same mini balcony at the top left corner both Then and Now and the surviving ‘Building 6’ name on the wall.


The Laughing Policeman - Car Chase

    Inspired no doubt by the popularity five years earlier of the car chase in Bullitt, director Stuart Rosenberg decided to include one in this movie.  As in Bullitt, the chase makes arbitrary geographical jumps around the city.  It starts out in the Financial District, cuts to SoMa then over to Potrero Hill/Dogpatch before ending up in North Beach.

    Throughout the chase, click or tap the image or thumbnail to compare Then with Now.


  The dogged duo watch from their unmarked police sedan, a late 1960s Ford Custom, as Camerero pulls out of the Battery Street exit of One Embarcadero's underground garage in the Financial District (map).  He's driving what has become a classic, a Mercedes-Benz 250 or 280 SL with the 'pagoda' concave top.


    Camerero spots them and decides to shake them off.  He speeds west down narrow Commercial street towards Sansome (map) with Larsen in hot pursuit; on the left is the Federal Reserve Bank building, now called the Bentley Reserve. This block today is pedestrian only, accessed by an overhead bridge across Battery from One Embarcadero Center.


    Larsen follows the Mercedes across Sansome as it continues west along the next block.  Way ahead, Commercial goes on to dead-end in Chinatown at Grant Avenue.


    Next, both cars make a hard left out of Battery into Clay (map)...


... they continue east along Clay past Front Street.  The Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project is in full swing; the old Produce Market has been swept away, the Alcoa Building already complete on the left and Two Embarcadero Center under construction on the right (map).   Ahead is the Ferry Building and the Clay Street on-ramp to the eyesore double-deck 480 Embarcadero Freeway (demolished in 1991 after being damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake).


     A geographical leap  to the South Of Market neighborhood catches up with the action as Camerero, heading north on 3rd Street under the Interstate 80 and 480 freeways (map), is about to make a sharp turn to his right into narrow Perry Street.  Both elevated freeways have undergone changes since then.


    They head east over a sharp crest on Perry Street alongside the freeway (map).  In the Now image a homeless group has decided this is a good place to call home.


    Larsen, cresting the hill, is about to unknowingly drive right by Camerero who has sneakily pulled in to one side...


    ... then when they emerge onto 2nd Street (mapthey make an immediate U-turn and head back to find Camerero.  In this view the 80 freeway is at far left from which the 480 freeway peels off, crossing 2nd towards the Embarcadero.  Demolished following the 1989 earthquake, this section has since been replaced by a west-bound addition to the 80 freeway.


They backtrack along Perry and spot Camerero ahead of them.  In a slick piece of stunt driving the Mercedes, crossing 3rd Street,  is almost broadsided by a spinning green sedan forced to slam on its brakes.


    The next cross-town segue takes us to Potrero Hill.  The chase continues north on Iowa under the 280 freeway, approaching 23rd Street (map).  The recent image shows seismic upgrades to the freeway supports.


    Camerero turns left into 23rd and uses the steep half-block incline under the 280 freeway to launch the Mercedes into the air.  The thriving industrial area these days is packed daily with bumper-to-bumper parked cars.


   Larsen guns it up the same slope, about to get air himself.  Note the huge storage tank on the corner of 23rd and Pennsylvania - it's gone now.

    The site of the storage tank is now occupied by an anti-hunger organization, the San Francisco Marin Food Bank.


    The hefty Ford gets even more air than the Mercedes did.  Behind them 23rd Street recedes east through the Dogpatch neighborhood to San Francisco Bay.


    Now the chase jumps clear over to Russian Hill to where tourists regularly gather every day to take in the east view to Coit Tower from Lombard and Hyde at the top of the famous crooked street (map).


    Not surprisingly they're not joining the procession down the eight switchbacks; instead this is a convenient vantage point from which the camera can zoom in to the two cars, arrowed, crossing Columbus Avenue (map).  In the recent  Now image a Powell-Mason cable car clangs by on Columbus.


    The car chase ends when Camerero abandons his Mercedes in the middle of Union Street  in North Beach and takes off on foot across Columbus with Jake in hot pursuit (map).  This view looks west along Union rising up to Russian Hill.


    He spots Camerero boarding a Muni bus and runs across Washington Square Park in time to jump on at its next stop in front of Sts. Peter and Paul church (map).  As he takes a seat with a clear view of Camerero  the second phase of the pursuit - the bus chase - is about to begin.


The Lineup - Passenger Terminal

  The three crooks drive to meet a contact awaiting arrival of a ship carrying passengers from overseas.  On the way they drive down Illinois Street.

Then ...   This is Illinois Street looking south from 18th (map).  The crane is in the Bethlehem Pacific Shipyard in the  Dogpatch neighborhood east of Potrero Hill.  Trivia note - Alfred Hitchcock used the same shipyard to represent one of the Vertigo locations.

... and Now,  the Dogpatch is rapidly gentrifying but this stretch of Illinois, other than the missing gasholder, is yet to change.  One set of rail tracks are gone but amazingly, though rusting and graffitied, that darn crane is still there a half century on!


Then ...  The drug ring contact, Staples (Robert Bailey), is waiting for them at the terminal.

... from 1962 ...  This vintage photograph shows where he was.  The arrow marks where Staples was waiting, at the far end of the Mission Rock Terminal, aka Pier 50, in Mission Bay near to China Basin and today's San Francisco Giants ballpark (map).

... and Now  a berthed vessel blocks part of the view but CitySleuth was able to duplicate most of it from the corner of the pier.



Then ...  As our mischief-makers drive onto the pier (below), the camera pan gives us a sweeping view of the terminal at the end of Pier 50.

... from 1955 ...  Another aerial photo of Pier 50.  This photo and the panorama from the movie, above, both look west down the length of the pier.  The arrow marks where the scene was filmed.

... and Now,   no longer a passenger terminal, the pier is still actively used for commerce.



Then ...  The camera continues panning, a continuation of the panorama above, until the car stops at the end of the pier.

... and Now  the island on the right is Yerba Buena Island.  Just beyond it, at far right, is the partially constructed single tower of the new suspension bridge scheduled to replace the old section of the Bay Bridge left vulnerable after the 1989 earthquake.



   Staples' job is to describe to Dancer the passengers who are carrying the contraband and where they are staying.  Dancer's job is to go get the stuff.


  The first is a Mr. Sanders ... "They live at 9020 Jackson".  (An interesting dyslexic misquote by Staples, even repeated by Dancer, because as we shall see, they live at 2090 Jackson).  The heroin has been hidden in the handles of a set of flatware he bought in Bangkok.


  Next, Dorothy Bradshaw and her daughter Cindy.  In their case the hiding place is Cindy's doll from Tokyo.  They are staying at the Mark Hopkins Hotel.


  And finally, Larry Warner, a crewmember who is staying at the Seaman's Club.  His package has been secreted inside a Tang Dynasty horse from Hong Kong.

Vertigo - Gavin Elster's Office

    An old acquaintance, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), asks Scottie to stop by his office at a shipbuilding company.  Director Alfred Hitchcock takes this opportunity to include his customary cameo, walking by just before Scottie walks in.  This brief scene was filmed at the entrance to the paint department at Paramount Studios.


Then ...  Elster has an unusual favor to ask - his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) has been disappearing for hours at a time and returning with no memory of where she has been.  Elster wants Scottie to follow her to find out where she goes.

 ... and Now,   Elster's office was created and filmed in the studio but his window view above, rear-projected during the scene, was reportedly filmed at Bethlehem Shipyards at Pier 70 on the east side of Potrero Hill (map).  The shipyard site was bought by the city in 1982 and while mostly unoccupied is home to a dry dock facility and artist studios.  Some of the old cranes, rusting and graffitied, can still be seen in this recent photo taken from Illinois Street at 19th.


    Elster is convinced his wife has been possessed by the spirit of someone dead; not surprisingly Scottie is skeptical but Elster is persuasive and he reluctantly agrees to get involved.

    Trivia time ...  the print on the wall above is a lithograph by the English artist George H. Burgess titled San Francisco in 1849.  Its viewpoint is from the foot of Montgomery Street looking north towards Telegraph Hill.

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