Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Mission

The Penalty - A Diabolical Plan, continued

Then ...  Blizzard continues describing his revenge plan against the City of San Francisco.  In his mind's eye, his army of malcontents, wearing straw hats for identification, spring into action, intent on sowing chaos in the streets.

... and Now,  this is the northwest corner of Grant and Clay in Chinatown, currently occupied by the jewelry store Jen Ju and Co., at 801 Grant (map).  The cable car that once traversed Clay Street no longer does.

    This same corner was seen years later in The Lady From Shanghai (1947) when Orson Welles' character darts across Clay Street while on the lam from the police (described here in this blog).  Note that the cable car line was still operational then.


Then ...  More anarchists charge around a corner near the Ferry Building; the view looks down Commercial Street from Drumm Street (map).  Note the pedestrian footbridge in front of the Ferry Building.  The roof cornice partially glimpsed on the far left side of the photo belonged to the Harbor Police Station.

... in the 1950s ...  this photo taken almost 40 years later shows more of the Harbor Police Station at left.  Straight ahead the newly built Embarcadero Freeway isolates the Ferry Building.

... and Now,  from the same spot today it's unrecognizable since the entire surrounding area was torn down in the 1960s for the Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project which modernized and transformed it into an extension of the Financial District.  The Four Embarcadero Center office complex was built astride this particular location.

... in 1925 ...  here's a vintage photo showing the footbridge at the Ferry building that spanned the Embarcadero until the 1940s.  Note too that an auto tunnel used to carry traffic beneath the busy plaza where the Market Street trams made a U-turn.  The arrow points to the location on Drumm Street where the above scene was filmed.


Then ...  Back in Chinatown the mayhem gets serious when a policeman is gunned down.

... and Now,  this view looks down Sacramento Street from Grant - the corner store today is the Floating Sushi Boat restaurant at 700 Grant.


    The rampage expands, setting buildings ablaze.


Then ...  The disruptive tactics are a diversion, intended to draw out and tie up emergency police and fire responders -  Blizzard imagines the fire department's Engine 10 company charging from the firehouse at 3050 17th Street in the Mission (map)...

... and Now,  the site today is a parking lot. 

 ... a vintage photo ...   The Engine 10 and Truck 7 firehouse, built in 1895, is pictured here in this 1952 photo.


    By way of a trivia observation, just across 17th Street from the Engine 10 firehouse was the very distinctive Mission Police Station, photographed here in 1924.  In the next post we will see the police responding to Blizzard's criminal army but filmed elsewhere.  For some reason the moviemakers passed on the opportunity to use this police station even though their cameras were already right there filming the firehouse.

... and Now,  this was home for the Mission Police Station from 1903 to 1950 at which time it relocated to a new site on Valencia Street.  It remains so marked but is now privately owned; its most recent sale was in 2002 for $2.2M.  It still exudes character and suggests only hints of what went on over the decades behind those walls.


    (Blizzard's nefarious plot continues in the next post - CitySleuth).


The Laughing Policeman - Lunch Break

  Then ...  Time for a break - Larsen pulls up outside a corner deli.

... and Now,  The Mexican deli, La Palma at 2884 24th Street on the corner of Florida in the Mission (map), is still going strong.  The view, now leafy and shady, looks east along 24th from Florida Street.


  Then ...  They head for the rear of the deli towards a side door on Florida Street.

... and Now,  the palm tree logo has been supplanted by a colorful mural, a common sight throughout the Mission (but there's now a real palm tree outside the deli, see above).


    The Mission is perhaps the most culturally rich neighborhood in San Francisco.  It is primarily a mix of Latin-American communities (but currently threatened by dot-com gentrification) whose culture asserts itself in riotous color via hundreds of street murals, such as the architectural tattoo on El Edificio de Mujeres (the Women's Building) at 3543 18th Street (map), honoring women artists and activists from around the globe.

    Then there are the alleys celebrating community and arts, with an occasional social commentary thrown in, Clarion Alley being one example (map)...

    ... Balmy Street, aka Balmy Alley, being another (map).


  Then ...  they discuss the case while snacking in the deli's food prep area.  The Florida Street side door is on the right and the view past the tortilla preparers looks through the deli shop across the street to the red sign of the Variety Five and Dime at 2899 24th.

... and Now,  there have been layout and equipment changes but this bustling space continues to generate the quotidian tortillas and other freshly prepared foods that make the Mexicatessen so popular.  And, the palm tree logo lives on, adorning employees' T-shirts.


  Then ...  Jake, usually as laconic as they come, surprises Larsen with an outburst, lamenting an unsolved case of his involving a murdered woman, Teresa Camerero.  He wonders if his regrets over the case had led his former partner to try solving it only to end up himself murdered.  Evidently Jake feels some responsibility.

... and Now,  that rear staircase is still there.


The Laughing Policeman - Nurse Monica

Then ...  Still following leads to the murder of Jakes partner Evans, Larsen interviews Monica (Joanna Cassidy), the roommate of one of the victims of the bus massacre, a nurse.

    Monica is a nurse, too.  Larsen flashes his badge to her at the San Francisco General Hospital ward where she works and asks if there's a place they can talk.

... and Now,  this has since 1981 been the famous Ward 86, the world's first in-patient HIV/AIDS ward; a reception desk now occupies the space where they stood.  The window view looks to the west where Sutro Tower (nearing completion when the movie was filmed but not visible in the haze above) soars over the Twin Peaks skyline.

    Ward 86 is on the 6th floor of San Francisco General's Building 80 on Potrero Avenue at 22nd Street (map).  The arrow points to that particular window.


Then ...  She takes him across the corridor to a room that faces Potrero Hill to the east.  He wants to know if she or her roommate knew Evans.  They didn't but Monica's overt sex appeal catches him by surprise.  When she tells him her roommate " didn't go out with ... men " he can't help but wonder about her too ...

... and Now,  this room has since become an office - the window view is much the same, but that elevated water tower on top of Potrero Hill is no longer there.


Then ...  She tells him to mind his own business but her departing over-the-shoulder come-hither look speaks volumes.

... and Now,  the same corridor today.  The reception desk, shuttered for lunch, is on the left.


The Laughing Policeman - Porno Theatre

  Jake visits a porno theater to question the manager about his brother, an ex-San Quentin inmate, one of the bus victims.  A long shot, but Jake was hoping the connection might shed light on the massacre.

    The theatre scenes were filmed at the New Follies Theatre at 2961 16th Street in San Francisco's Mission District (map), seen here in 1968 as it must have looked when the movie was made.  (Note an earlier name, the Victoria, on the side wall).

... and Now,  The theatre is still in operation, below, but in 1979 it reverted to its earlier name, the Victoria Theatre.  The theatre first opened in 1908 as Brown's Opera House featuring G-rated vaudeville but when The Laughing Policeman was filmed it was offering R-rated burlesque entertainment.  Its longevity makes it the oldest operating theatre in the city.


Then ...  By way of introduction Jake flashes his SFPD badge to the sassy lady in the ticket booth.

... and Now,  from the same booth today, a daytime view across 16th Street.


Then ...  He heads up the stairs in the lobby but is taken aback to see his teenage son entering the theatre.

... and Now,  other than the snack counter and new paint the lobby has hardly changed.


Then ...  We have come to realize that Jake never cracks a smile but he's understandably less than amused to witness his son and a smattering of others enjoying an eyeful.

... and Now,  the seats have been replaced but there's still a firehose on the side wall.


Then ...  Backstage, the theatre manager gives Jake lip for being questioned about his murdered brother but more importantly is unable to provide useful information.  Yet another dead-end lead.

... and Now,  this is the basement dressing room area where today a concrete pillar has been added against the wall on the right to add seismic stability.


Then ...  On the way out the last thing he wants to do is listen to a Hare Krishna pitch.  The tiled ticket booth adds color, style and the street number, 2961, to the exterior.  This view looks west along 16th from Capp Street.

... and Now,  it's always good to see time stand still in these Then and Now comparisons.  OK, so the last digit of the street number is missing.

    A chicken and egg question ...  which came first, the floor tiles or the ticket booth?


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