Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Reno

Born To Kill - The Northern Club

Then ...  Helen returns to her rented room at a Reno boarding house on a well-to-do street lined with mature trees and lets her landlady know she will be returning to San Francisco the next morning.

... and Now,  CitySleuth is still searching for this location and would be delighted if in the meantime a reader might recognize where it is and let him know.


Then ...  But first, one last fling at the Northern Club casino where we get a glimpse of its glitzy neon awning and marquee.

... a vintage photo ...  There is a Northern Club in Reno but reader HH has pointed out that the exterior above was filmed at the Northern Club at 15 E. Fremont Street in Las Vegas; the Northern closed in 1942 so 5 years later the moviemakers used stock footage for this shot.  Here's a vintage photo of the club c.1940.

... another vintage photo ...  and here's another photo from the same viewpoint as in the movie.  It was taken in 1942, the year the club closed as the Northern.  The Las Vegas club and the newly opened Pioneer are further down the block.

... and Now, when the Northern closed, the Turf club took its place.  In turn that became  the Monte Carlo club then the Coin Castle and in 1999 the LaBayou which is still there under the lofty metal canopy that today covers a four block stretch - the 'Fremont Street Experience' (map).


  Helen is drawn to a lively craps table and joins in, betting against the shooter, Sam Wild (Lawrence Tierney).  An animal attraction is immediately apparent, a fateful meeting destined to doom them both.


  Up walks a neighbor, Laury Palmer (Isabel Jewell) - she lives next door to Helen's boarding house - with a boyfriend, Danny (Tony Barrett).  She confides to Helen that she is also dating Sam but has brought Danny along to needle him and keep him honest.  As we shall find out, bad idea.


Born To Kill - Divorce Reno Style

     Helen Brent from San Francisco has just spent six weeks in Reno to meet the Nevada state residency requirement for a divorce.

Then ...  The movie opens with a shot of Reno's iconic arch spanning Virginia Street at Commercial Row (map).

... and Now,  the arch has undergone changes over the decades.  Here it is today, the third version since it was originally installed in 1926.


Then ...  The camera looks south down Virginia Street with casinos, cafes and bars lining the street on both sides.  The Riverside Hotel faces us from the other side of the Truckee River where Virginia Street chicanes around to the left.  That's the shadow of the arch in the near foreground.

... in the 1950s ...  a picture postcard view taken a few years later shows the same scene in glorious color.  Additional casinos have appeared by this time, undoubtedly the heyday of the Reno strip.   The Riverside then was the hotel of choice by the well-heeled for their six week divorce residency.

... and Now,  Harolds Club and the Nevada Club on the left are gone now, victims of the competitive success of rival Harrah's and other newer, flashier casinos.  The Riverside Hotel building is still there although the hotel closed in 1987, eventually replaced by retail stores and artists' lofts.


Then ...  Helen and her attorney emerge from the courthouse.

... and Now,  this is the Washoe County Courthouse on Virginia Street a few blocks south of the Reno Arch (map), still there and still in use.  It was built in 1911 with a neo-classical design that incorporated the original 1872 courthouse within it.


  Helen (Claire Trevor) thanks the attorney for securing her divorce and bids him goodbye.  Her smart outfit is the first of many that she wears with style throughout the movie.  A classy dame to be sure but as we shall see, this being the dark world of noir, she too has a dark side.


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