Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Marina

The House Across The Bay - Rock Widows

    The Rock Widows, "Jennies with a Johnny on the Rock", take a ferry over to Alcatraz (mapto visit their man.  Brenda joins them for the first of what she assumes will be many visits.  She and Steve share small-talk and it's clear he misses her very much.


Then ...  After departing from the slip alongside the large building on the right the ferry sails around the southeastern tip of the island on its return trip.

... and Now,  the most striking difference in today's view is the missing and damaged staff buildings alongside the lighthouse - they were destroyed by fire during the 1969 -1971 occupation of Alcatraz by a group of tribal Indians.  The large building seen at far right above is still there, behind the trees.

... a vintage image ... This photo, taken the year after the prison closed during a brief Indian protest in 1964, gives us a clearer look at those ill-fated buildings.  The Indians were staking their historic claim to the ownership of the island.

   ... and here the buildings go up in smoke in 1970.


Then ...  The rock widows look back to the side of the island that faces San Francisco.  It's sobering to think that when this was filmed the prison was jammed with high-risk maximum security inmates.

... and Now,  the same view today, but the dreaded penitentiary is now a tourist attraction.  The water tower is not in the image above; it was built in 1940 shortly after the movie was released.


Then ...  One of the women, Mary (Gladys George), notices Brenda standing alone and walks over to talk to her.  A cigarette breaks the ice and pretty soon they become fast friends.  Behind them Russian Hill rises above Fort Mason.

... and Now,  Development on Russian Hill has changed its skyline; also downtown on the left where high-rise office buildings are pulled in close by the telephoto lens.  Nearer shore, Ghirardelli Square sits just above the Art Deco Bathhouse and the adjacent Fire Department pump house at Aquatic Park.  Fort Mason's Pier 2 and 3 are on the right and Pier 4, the Alcatraz Pier, is on the left in front of the pump house - it's marked by the red-roofed building at its end (click the image to enlarge).


The House Across The Bay - Alcatraz

    Prisoners on their way to Alcatraz embarked from a small pier at Fort Mason, adjacent to Aquatic Park (map).  (Fort Mason had its own pier numbering system independent of the city's waterfront Embarcadero piers).  The sign informs us that these boats also supplied Fort McDowell on Angel Island .


Then ...  Larwitt is driven to the pier down a narrow boardwalk alongside the Aquatic Park municipal pier.  At far right is the newly built (in 1939) bathhouse building and behind it the Ghirardelli Square clock tower.  Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill is there too, hiding behind the wooden post.

... and Now,  the Alcatraz Pier has survived but in poor condition and is now off-limits to the public.  CitySleuth captured this matching view from the municipal pier ... considering the passage of 70-plus years it's remarkably similar from here except for the TransAmerica Building on the horizon to the left of the extant clock tower.  Coit Tower is clearly seen and in both Then and Now images you can make out the white speaker tower behind the bleachers, one of a pair erected on either side of the bathhouse.

... and Now,  taken through the locked gate, here's a recent photo of the Alcatraz Pier.  Alcatraz Island is out of the picture to the right.


    In this great image Larwitt, flanked by and handcuffed to federal guards, gets his first glimpse of his future home - he won't be needing that natty attire for the next ten years.  The bathhouse and the second speaker tower are seen behind him.  (This closeup was filmed in a studio with a photo plate backdrop).


Then ...  What he sees is Alcatraz sitting there, imposing, intimidating, awaiting.

... and Now,  the federal prison was operational only from 1934 to 1963 and is but a part of the history of Alcatraz Island.  In the recent photo below, with the Alcatraz Pier in the foreground, a few changes can be seen, including the water tower built in the same year (1940) the movie was released.  The island today is a huge tourist destination hosting a million visitors annually. 


Then ...  The feds lead him down the gangway but a knowledgable observer would recognize that this isn't the same pier, in fact Fort Mason is two miles away, visible from here in the distance just right of center.

... and Now,  this was filmed at the small coastguard pier near Crissy Field in the Presidio.  A second shed alongside the smaller square one has since been added and an adjacent pier on the right is gone.

    On a trivia note here's the same location from the 1958 movie The Lineup by which time that second shed had been built (in fact it was already built by 1947 as seen, together with the adjacent pier, here in the movie Dark Passage.

    The red and white markers on the map below show the locations of the two piers relative to each other.


    ... but as the boat pulls away we are back at the Fort Mason Alcatraz Pier.


Then ...  The next shot looks back towards the bathhouse and speaker tower.

... and Now,  1939 coincided with the tail end of the Art Deco period and its Streamline Moderne influence on the speaker tower and bathhouse are clearly evident.


    CitySleuth couldn't resist including this cute vintage photo taken the year the bathhouse was built.  Intended primarily to broadcast sports events, the speakers went silent decades ago.


    Brenda has witnessed the prisoner transfer - the poignant sight of her husband's slowly receding boat heralds a significant life-changer for them both.


Days Of Wine And Roses - Kirsten's First Sip

Then ...  First she plays hard to get then Kirsten surprises Joe by suggesting he ask her out to dinner.  They meet at the Place Pigalle restaurant.

... a vintage photo ...  the restaurant, evoking Montmartre's Place Pigalle neighborhood, was opened in 1953 by proprietors Maurice Stergios and Hans Behringer at 3721 Buchanan Street in the Marina district (map), replacing the former Del Mar Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge.  By the time the movie was filmed here nine years later it had become very popular.  Here's another look at the interior in an undated postcard photo image.

  For restaurant history buffs, the earlier Del Mar at the same location was more traditional, a plush multi-boothed place.

... and Now,  by 1980 the Place Pigalle had closed down and the building it was in, across Buchanan from the Marina Safeway, was replaced by this one in 1983.  By the way, if any reader out there knows of a photo of the exterior of the restaurant in its heyday please let CitySleuth know.


  Joe can't fathom Kirsten's aversion to booze.  She does admit to one vice though - chocolate.   So he orders a Brandy Alexander (knowing it contains crème de cacao) and persuades her to try it ...  Oh no,  she loves it!  It was the first sip of many on the long slippery spiral ahead ...


... on location ...  Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon share a smoke break with director Blake Edwards during the location shoot at the Place Pigalle on New Years day, 1962.  CitySleuth would love to know how they spent New Year's Eve.


Pal Joey - A Happy Ending

    Unlike the stage show which leaves Joey stranded on his own, the movie has a happy ending ... it is a Hollywood musical after all.

    Linda pleads with Vera to reopen the club but she won't relent until Vera offers to leave.  That achieved, Vera tells Joey not only that she's changed her mind but that she wants to marry him.  But Joey refuses and for the first time Vera realizes that his feelings for Linda are genuine.

Then ...  Joey returns to the empty club for one last sentimental look then leaves, with a passing farewell to the T-Bird.  "So long little bird, don't pick up any nails".

... and Now,  the same bird's eye view, shot from the apartment building next door, gives us another perspective of that incongruous privacy hedge.


    Across the street in Vera's car, she and Linda watch him leave.  By now Vera has reconciled herself to her loss and motions Linda to go for it.


Then ...  and go for it she does ...  in front of the mansion he tells her to "beat it" but a passionate street-side kiss melts his butter and off they go, together.  But wait a minute, what's wrong with this location shot?

... and Now,  here's the real location below, viewed along Washington past the Spreckels Mansion from the Octavia Street corner.  If the wall wasn't hidden you would quickly realize that it doesn't match the wall above - because it was a studio creation with a painted cityscape in the background.

... from 1956 ...  this is obvious by comparing the wall in the movie above with the real wall seen in this vintage photo of the mansion as it was shortly before the time of the filming.  Note the absence of trees and the presence of cable car tracks - this photo was taken just before they were torn up for good.


Then ...  The schmaltzy 'Into The Sunset' shot is a view of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from between the St. Francis and the Golden Gate Yacht Clubs in the Marina district (map) with lurid sky no doubt courtesy of the art department.

... and Now,  from the same spot today.


Click in this box to search this site ...