Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Union Square

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Bureaucratic Runaround

Matthew wanders through downtown streets making a series of calls to city and federal officials. He quickly finds that they seem anxious to keep a lid on his reports of slimy half-formed beings.

Then … He first meets a staff member from the Mayor’s office in Union Square. He is urged to not say a word to anyone.

and Now, this is the northeast corner of the square at Post and Stockton (map). The steps have been expanded and one of the city’s Hearts, part of a citywide arts project, is on display there. In both images the St. Francis Hotel on Powell Street can be seen across the square.

 

Then … Next he tries calling the Police Department but is immediately cut off. The high-rise offices in the background are Two Embarcadero Center on the right and the Alcoa Building on the left. Harrington’s Irish pub is on the same block as the phone booth. In these street scenes the camera swirls in constant motion, reflecting his confusion.

and Now, this is Front Street looking north towards and across Sacramento Street in the Financial District (map). The Alcoa Building is known today as One Maritime Plaza. Harrington’s, there since 1935, continues to slake the neighborhood’s thirst.

 

Then … The Mayor’s office calls back and asks him to use his discretion, because “… this whole thing might be abating”.

and Now, this is the junction of Powell, Eddy and Market at the cable car turntable (map). The corner building straight ahead at One Powell was built in 1921 , originally housing A.P. Giannini’s Bank of Italy, later known as Bank of America. Today it’s a flagship AT&T store with redeveloped luxury condominiums above.

 

Then … The Federal Preparedness Agency are equally unhelpful, telling him to keep an open mind. “Don’t mention to anyone about duplicate bodies, for God’s sake”.

and Now, this is a half block up Powell Street from Market. Burger King and the Mac Pro Store (partially blocked by the advertising kiosk and the cable car awaiting its turn to head down to the turntable) have replaced the Cable Car Steak Restaurant at 45 Powell.

 

Then … His head is spinning as he walks the streets replaying in his mind the unified opposition from those very agencies and officials who should have been jolted into an immediate investigative response. Perhaps Elizabeth is right, this smells of a conspiracy. On the left a Woolworth’s store occupied the ground floor and basement of the Flood Building.

and Now, viewed from Ellis, with Market Street crossing in the distance, this looks along the same block of Powell Street as the previous two Then images above, but in the opposite direction. Woolworth’s moved out in 1997; its site now houses The Gap.

 

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - What's With Geoffrey?

 Then ...  At 720 Steiner Street, the home she shares with Geoffrey, Elizabeth is getting worried about an inexplicable change in his demeanor and behavior.  She wakes one morning and follows him down the staircase as he leaves the house.

... and Now,  the railings and walls have since been painted over and there's no longer artwork covering the window.

 

   As she watches through the front window he dumps something, she knows not what, into the back of a garbage truck (just like the truck seen earlier outside the dry cleaners where the owner complained to Matthew that his wife "... not my wife").  What is going on?

 

 Then ...  Later she follows him again; he leads her across a footbridge where the telephoto lens pulls the background, including a stainless steel sculpture, towards us.

... and Now,  this is the footbridge over Washington Street looking south across Maritime Plaza (map) towards One Embarcadero Center.  The sculpture, still there, is by Swiss sculptor Willi Gutmann.  A closer view of the same sculpture was seen in the 1974 movie The Conversation.

 

 Then ...  She watches, puzzled, as he meets a group of people she has never seen before.

... and Now,  this is the escalator of the One Maritime Plaza office highrise which connects the plaza level to the street level lobby; it was called the Alcoa building when the movie was filmed (map).  Forty years on, the lobby, including the bench against the back wall and the lights arrayed around the walls, looks much the same.

 

    Elizabeth wanders through town with an eerie feeling that everyone around her has changed in some way.

 

 Then ...  She passes  a cable car on Powell Street pulling in to the turntable at Market (map).  On the surface things look normal, but she is convinced there's a conspiracy going on.

... and Now,  a cable car awaits its turn to rumble down to the turntable.  Sephora, an upmarket beauty products store, has replaced the International restaurant and the building next to it now housing Burger King has a shiny new exterior.  The old California Cafe sign painted on the side of the building at top center has survived remarkably well over the years.

 

Fog Over Frisco - To The Bridge!

Then ...  Val, responding to Arlene's telegrammed cry for help, speeds south down 4th Street on her way to Butchertown Bridge.   Behind her, facing us, is the Roos Bros. department store on Market Street (map).

... and Now,  The store today houses the Union Square branch of Forever 21.

     The Roos Bros. store opened October 31, 1908 to great fanfare, an important contribution to the city's downtown post-earthquake recovery.  It's pictured here after a 1937 remodel; Stockton Street intersects at far left.

 

Then ...  Now it's the turn of the police to join the chase - a police captain's car pulls out of Harbor Police Station from the left side and heads  south on Drumm Street, about to pass the masonry arched Engine 12 firehouse at far right on the southwest corner of Drumm and Commercial Street.

... and Now,   Three Embarcadero Center replaced this block of Commercial Street in the 1970s and a pedestrian bridge was added above Drumm.   Ann Taylor and a Naturalizer Store currently overlap the location of the old firehouse site (map).

    This 1953 photo of a 1929 hose tender taken outside the Engine 12 firehouse shows the masonry arches seen in the movie.  The window visible through the open door looked out onto Commercial.

 

Then ...  The police station, kitty-korner across Drumm from the firehouse, spits out a cadre of cops on bikes.

... a vintage photo ...  a wider view of Harbor Police Station, on the northeast corner of Drumm and Commercial, is seen in this photo.

... and Now,   the Embarcadero Four Center sits astride where this Commercial Street block used to be.  For a look at the block before it was demolished go here.

 

Then ...  Tony's cab isn't far behind Val as it heads across Market about to turn into 4th Street.  Note the vertical sign at far left for the California Theatre, San Francisco's first real movie palace, which opened in 1917.

... and Now,   the building on the right corner dates from 1908 and has survived but the theatre building across 4th at 799 Market was demolished in 1961, subsequently replaced by the retail/office building still there today.

    .... here's a 1944 vintage photo that, 10 years later, reproduces the Then image above.  By then the movie house had been renamed the State Theatre, continuing under this name until it closed down in 1961.  Note Roos Bros. store opposite.

    And for those theatre history buffs amongst us here's a c. 1917 photo taken shortly after the original California Theatre opened.

 

Then ...  When the cops make a turn into a wide thoroughfare a barely legible United Cigars store sign on the corner at left provided the clue to this location.

... a vintage photo ...   CitySleuth came across this 1921 photo taken from the same spot; it looks east along Mission Street past 4th (map).  The United Cigars store was at 99 4th Street.

... and Now,   the soul of SoMa is rapidly crumbling under the encroachment of impersonal modern buildings.

 

    Here's a challenge, dear readers - the location of this next shot of Tony's cab has so far stumped CitySleuth.  Does anybody out there recognize it?  (The sloping hill at the end of the street may be the best clue)...

    ... a closer view of the hillside is seen as the cab nears the end of the road.  Note the path or road winding up the lowest part of the hill.  But where is this?

 

The Penalty - A Diabolical Plan, Revealed

    Blizzard continues to outline his plot to his chief lieutenant, O'Hagan; in it, another policeman is cut down by the anarchists.  (This location has studio back lot written all over it).

 

Then ...  The police respond in force from the old Hall Of Justice at 750 Kearny Street at Washington.

... and Now,  the Hall Of Justice moved to new quarters at 850 Bryant Street in the 1960s after which the old structure was razed in 1967 to make way for a hotel, the Hilton San Francisco Financial District (map).  In the same view today an overhead pedestrian bridge links the hotel to Portsmouth Square Plaza across Kearny.

    Here's the Old Hall Of Justice viewed from Portsmouth Square in the 1958 movie The LineUp 38 years after it appeared in The Penalty.  

 

Then ...  The horde turns its attention to banks, in this case the Union Trust Banking Hall on Market at Grant, and Blizzard's intentions begin to become clear - his plan is to rob the City clean while police and fire responders are distracted.

... and Now,  it's still a bank - now a branch of Wells Fargo (map).

 

Then ...  Blizzard directs his men carrying bags of loot down the steps of the Old San Francisco Mint.

... and Now,  the 1874 structure still stands in SoMa at 5th Street and Mission (map), but it no longer mints coins...

    ... the task of minting coins was transferred in 1937 from the old to the new Mint at Hermann and Buchanan at the eastern tip of the Duboce Triangle (map), pictured here from the Market Street Safeway parking lot.

 

Then ...  Interestingly, while imagining the action on the steps of the old Mint Blizzard sees himself with amputated legs restored.

... and Now,  those same steps today.

 

   The audacious plan startles O'Hagan ...  "By God! You've gone mad!".  Blizzard angrily sends him away.

 

Click in this box to search this site ...