Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Polk Gulch

The Conversation - Media Frenzy

Then ...  Having just seen the Director's wife very much alive after 'witnessing' her apparent death Caul is doubly shaken when he picks up a newspaper at a street corner kiosk and reads that the Director has died in a car crash.  By now the poor guy's head must really be spinning.

... and Now,  in the movie capture above there's a phone booth next to the newspaper kiosk ... earlier in the movie we saw Caul using this phone - it was on the Sutter Street corner at Polk (map).  There's no phone booth there now but wouldn't you know it, the newspaper kiosk is still there!


Then ...  He rushes back to the Embarcadero Center in the Financial District in time to see the wife, who has now inherited ownership of her husband's property business, about to be swarmed by the local media.

... and Now,  this is the same staircase at the west end of the lobby level of One Embarcadero Center where Caul had been turned away a little earlier.


    Caul watches from the fringe as she pushes her way through, deflecting reporters and questions - "Do you suspect any foul play in the accident?" ... "Will your stock now give you controlling interest?" ... "What's going to happen to the company?" ...

    But what really happened at the Jack Tar hotel?  We are as confused as he is.  Did her lover kill her husband then stage the car accident?  Nothing seems to add up but Caul's fecund imagination conjures up the Director laid out in Room 773.


The Conversation - Caul makes a Call

Then ...  Harry Caul, as befits a man of simple means, uses San Francisco's Muni buses to get around town.  Here, wearing his ubiquitous plastic raincoat, he gets off the 3-Jackson to make a phone call to 'The Director', the executive who hired him to snoop on his wife.

... and Now,  the modern version of the 3-Jackson still serves this stretch of Sutter Street.


Then ...  He crosses the street to a public phone booth.  There are several clues to this location - the red sign on the side of the building down the street belongs to the Hotel Carlton at 1075 Sutter; there's the Travelers tavern at 1176 Sutter, and at left alongside the phone booth is the yellow and maroon tiled Fosters Cafeteria.  This can only be the corner of Sutter and Polk. (map).

... and Now,  the Hotel Carlton is still there, the tavern too, currently the R Bar.  Fosters on the corner though has been replaced by another eatery, El Super Burrito.  The phone booth (which could have been a movie prop) is not there now.

... a vintage photo ...  this 1940s photo looking north up Polk Street from Sutter captures the Polk Street side of the Fosters restaurant.  Back then the trams ran on tracks along both Polk and Sutter.  Check out that public clock on the left - not everyone could afford a watch in those days.  Note too how well folks dressed back then when they stepped outside, especially the lady crossing, with heels, purse, fur coat and hat.

... and Now,  the same view except that today's street fashion, sadly, has become slob casual.


  In this carefully composed shot he arranges a meeting with the Director.  "Is that ... payment in full?", he asks, anxiously.


D.O.A. - Car Rental

  Bigelow picks up a rental car shortly after arriving in Los Angeles.  CitySleuth scoured L.A. for this site for too long before thinking of checking out San Francisco.  Wouldn't you know it, that's where it was filmed!

Then ...  He picks up the car on an open lot.  Take a look at the building across the street in the background ...

... and Now,  here's that building today, on Washington Street at the corner of Van Ness Avenue.  Back then it was the J E French Dodge dealership (you can see part of the Dodge sign above at top left and again in the vintage photo below).  The building's auto tradition continues - it now houses the Academy of Art University's Auto Museum.

  This would place the car rental lot on the 1900 block of Van Ness (map), confirmed by the ad below from a 1953 publication.  The lot belonged to the Stanway Motors used car dealership, proprietor Stanley Strauss, which occupied the whole west block between Washington and Jackson.

... from a vintage photo ...  on a historical note, here's the 1900 block of Van Ness in 1946 as it was before (regrettably) being demolished to make way for the used car lot.  Look at that wonderful house on the corner, the Silas Palmer mansion, across Washington from the Dodge dealership described above.


  ... and here's a closer look at the Silas Palmer mansion.  Why did it have to go?  What a waste!

... and Now,  below is a recent look at the same block, residential once more but a poor substitute for its former self.  This is progress?  At least the street lamp-posts survived.


Then ...  As Bigelow drives off the lot there are three businesses clearly visible across Van Ness, one of them being The House Of Prime Rib.

... and Now,  the same view today still has The House Of Prime Rib doing business at the same location, 1906 Van Ness.  It first opened in 1949, just one year before the movie was released.  The exterior of it and its neighbor has been painted in a faux stone finish.  On this block too the old street lamp-posts are still there.

Click in this box to search this site ...