Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Los Angeles

Fog Over Frisco - Find The Killer!

    With Val missing, the search for Arlene's killer becomes even more urgent.  When a will from Arlene is found all are astonished to learn that she had all along been secretly married, to an Arthur Burchard.  Her father remembers the name and that he came from Los Angeles.  The manhunt turns to Burchard.


Then ...  Burchard it seemed owned a small yacht and the search now concentrates on scouring the waterways for it.  For these shots, locations in Los Angeles and in San Francisco were used.  This one shows a Douglas Dolphin flying boat leaving its embarkation dock within the Los Angeles Harbor's Slip No. 5.

... in 1938 ...  here's a vintage photo of that same flying boat at the dock; it was right next to the Wilmington Catalina Terminal (map).  Instead of taking a ferry boat from the terminal, the well-heeled could fly to Catalina Island for the $5 fare advertised below.  (That's a different building seen above across the slip).

... and Now,  the terminal building is gone and this corner of today's Slip No. 5 has become very industrialized.


Then ...  the flying boat continues searching off the coast.

... and Now,  the coastline is that of San Pedro with the Palos Verdes Hills in the background.  The fly-by above was probably filmed from the Los Angeles Harbor lighthouse perched at the end of a long breakwater (map); this recent photo of it shows the same coastline.


Then ...   Tony too joins the search for Burchard's boat in the Los Angeles Harbor.  The harbor's distinctive clock tower can be seen across the Turning Basin towards the right beyond the ship's smokestack. 

... c 1920 ...  this early photo captured the 1917 cruise terminal and clock tower in its glory days.  They were demolished in the late 1940s.

... and Now,  the cruise terminal and clock tower were rebuilt in expanded form in 1963; here it is today (map).


  This 1956 photo of the Los Angeles Harbor highlights the locations seen during the search for the killer.


Then ...   The search continues but this time stock footage was used of two ferryboats in San Francisco Bay - the first is close to the Ferry Building.

  ... and Now,  this is the Southern Pacific Railroads' ferryboat 'Berkeley' which operated between the Oakland Pier and the Ferry Building from 1898 to 1958.  After a spell as a tourist mall moored in Sausalito (where it was briefly seen in the 1972 movie 'Play It Again Sam'), it ended up in the San Diego Maritime Museum, still there between two other historic vessels.


Then ...   Another ferryboat is seen off Hyde Street Pier where Russian Hill in the background climbs halfway to the stars.

... in 1935  ...  one year before Fog Over Frisco was released this same ferryboat was photographed passing by the partially constructed Bay Bridge.  It's the Southern Pacific Golden Gate Ferries 'Lake Tahoe'.  Later the boat was moved to Puget Sound and renamed the 'Illahee' where it operated until retirement in 2007.  It is currently awaiting the scrap merchant.


    Tony succeeds in finding Burchard's boat and rescues Val.  What he learns blows the lid off the case.  It turns out that Burchard and Arlene's 'secret lover' Mayard are one and the same person; he it was who killed Arlene in an argument over letters she had written that implicated him in the stolen bond scheme.

   Tony returns and tips off the police ... they finally get their man.


Fog Over Frisco - Butchertown Bridge

Then ... Val continues on her desperate dash to the Butchertown Bridge.  The company sign in the background gives us a clue as to this location, supposedly in San Francisco but, as it turns out, filmed in Los Angeles ...

    Here's an old ad for the California Corrugated Culvert Co.  Of its two addresses, the shot above is the Los Angeles location east of Chinatown, looking towards Leroy Street from the railway tracks alongside the Los Angeles River (map).

... and Now,  in 1942 the  William Mead Homes public housing project was built on the 15 acres alongside Leroy Street , still there today.


    The cops are next seen pursuing Val at a location yet to be found ... possibly the industrial area south of Market in San Francisco (that could be the Marin Headlands way in the distance).


Then ...  Val arrives at the bridge where a man is waiting for her.  A train track on the right parallels the roadway over the bridge.

... and Now,  believe it or not, this is the same view today.  But where is it and why does it look so different?  Read on ...

    Here's the bridge in a 1930 photograph.  Built in 1924 as the Badger Avenue Bridge, it linked San Pedro across the Cerritos Channel with Terminal Island (map).  When a Ford assembly plant was built in 1930 on the island (seen below in the background), the bridge became known as the Henry Ford Bridge.  The bridge design is known as a Bascule bridge - this one is unusual in that it is a combination of two back-to-back Bascules, each with three massive counterweights.  The movie image above was shot from the far lefton the south (Terminal Island) side.

Then ...  When Tony's cab reaches the bridge as a train reverses by we get a closer look at the bridge's triple counterweights.

... and Now,  an aerial view of the bridge today (with Terminal Island on the right) shows many changes.  The original road/rail bridge has been replaced by two bridges:  the Commodore Schuyler Heim road bridge since 1948 and a vertical lift railway bridge that replaced the Bascule bridge in 1996 (the nearest one).  (The Now image above was taken from the spot arrowed at right).


    So the bridge scene was filmed in Southern California even though San Francisco has a Bascule bridge of its own, the Lefty O'Doul Bridge crossing Mission Creek (McCovey Cove) at 3rd Street in China Basin (map).  It's next to the SF Giants' ballpark and just blocks north of the old Butchertown neighborhood.  Unlike the Henry Ford Bridge this one is a single bridge and has only two counterweights, but it's still in use today.  Built in 1933 it was there when the movie was filmed so why the moviemakers didn't film here is anyone's guess.


The Exiles - Voiceover Views

  ( A Bunker Hill movie in a San Francisco blog?  CitySleuth explains why).

  How does a filmmaker keep the viewer entertained during a voiceover?  Director Kent MacKenzie used several voiceovers in this movie and his solution was to fill in the time with downtown street scenes filmed at night using the street lamps, retail shop window lights and neon signs as highlights.  They were all located within a few short blocks.

Then ...  In this shot we can see the tower of City Hall in the upper right corner.

... and Now,  the view looks north along Main Street with 3rd Street crossing in the foreground (map).  City Hall is still there but the corner building at left has had the upper two stories removed.  What is unusual is that its retail stores were left in place - the previous location showed surviving threshold tiles in one of the stores in this block.


Then ...  Here's a bustling street corner.

... and Now,  this is at the same junction as the prior scene, Main at 3rd.  The store on the left, on the northwest corner, is now the Persian restaurant Shish Kebob but back then was called Optimo (you can see it in the first 'Then' image above).  El Progreso across the street was at 260 S. Main Street but this half of that block is now a parking structure.


Then ...  This was filmed from below the Angels Flight funicular as one of its cars approached the lower terminus at Hill and 3rd (map).  As we look east from here along 3rd Street the F P Fay Building sign is seen at right across 3rd and that hotel facing us a few blocks down is the St. George at 115 E. 3rd Street.  Hard to see from here but below the word 'HOTEL' is a stylized 'One Dollar' sign, its daily room rate.

... and Now,  the funicular has been moved a half block south along Hill Street and the old F P Fay corner building on the right has been replaced by a parking structure.  The St George hotel, distantly small in this non-telescopic photo, is still there, now providing low income housing.

... in 1952 ...  the St George survived a fire a few years before The Exiles was filmed, captured in the photo below which clearly shows the stylized 'One Dollar' neon signs (the one on the left is the one visible in the 'Then' image above).  Incidentally the Enderle hardware store, on the left below, and a recent photo of the St. George can be seen here in an earlier post.


Then ...  More drinking joints but this shot includes an architecturally interesting building on the left.  This is the south side of the 300 block of 3rd Street (map).  From left to right were Radio-Electronics at 316 S Main, a liquor store and Saddle Rock Cafe at 320, the posh entrance to the F P Fay Building at 326, and Buggy Wheel Cafe at 328 (most bars in those days seemed to prefer the pseudonym 'cafe'.  Who were they kidding?).

... and Now,  the stylish building with the arches, an extension of the Metropolitan Water Board Building, is still there but those on the right including the F P Fay building have been replaced by a parking structure.


The Exiles - Grand Central Market

  ( A Bunker Hill movie in a San Francisco blog?  CitySleuth explains why).

  By far the most popular market in Bunker Hill was the Grand Central Market, originally opened in the Homer Laughlin building in 1917 and still there to this day serving the local community.  The market stretches the length of a block between entrances on Broadway and Hill Street (map).  In this scene we will meet Yvonne, a young woman who has moved to Los Angeles from her Apache Indian reservation in San Carlos, Arizona.

Then ...  These bustling shoppers are outside the entrance at 317 S. Broadway.  The partially visible 'Broadway' sign in the background is on the corner of 4th Street.

... and Now,  downtown merchants no doubt wish for those 1950s shopping crowds but the market is still going strong, as are those same street lamps.


Then ...  The inside is packed with merchants and shoppers who find their way using the bright neon signs displaying wares and stall numbers. 

... and Now,   the market conducts business at a more leisurely pace and neon signs still add color but the biggest difference half a century later is the shoppers themselves, mostly latino, reflecting the evolution of the neighborhood.


  The camera closes in on Yvonne (Yvonne Williams), the first of the movie's three featured characters (all were residents of the neighborhood, none  of them actors).  As she wanders around the market she shares her thoughts in voiceover with an accent distinctive of the reservation from which she came.  She is pregnant and just like any immigrant mother-to-be her main dream is for her child to have a better life than hers.


Then ...  She leaves the market via its the other entrance, on the 300 block of Hill Street.  The view looks towards the shops on the west side of the street and in the upper left corner note the Union Auto parking lot advertising 25 cent parking.

Then ...  the following movie shot looks over that same parking lot to the east side of Hill Street (the 25 cent sign can be seen but the poster next to it has changed).  Grand Central Market is at far left, the entrance, above, that Yvonne exited is just out of the picture.  Note the other market, how could it compete?

... and Now,   the downhill terminus of the relocated Angel's Flight funicular sits on that parking lot today.  Grand Central Market is seen across Hill Street at far left.  (See where Angel's Flight used to be, here).

... in the 1940s ...  this vintage photo was taken over a decade earlier than the movie but it shows us how the market would still have looked when the movie was filmed.


... in the 1960s ...  two years after the movie's release the entrance was spiffed up with this gleaming new tile facade.  Note too the different street lamps book-ending the market.

... and Now,   here's a recent photo of the Hill Street entrance.  The two buildings beyond have been replaced by a multi-story parking structure on the corner of 3rd Street and the houses at right are now a small plaza.


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