Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Western Addition

The Laughing Policeman - Shootout

    The police get a call from somebody claiming to be the bus murderer.  What's more he has hostages holed up in an old house ...

Then ...  The cops converge on the house, in the heart of Japantown in the Western Addition.  This is the view west from Laguna down Bush Street towards St. Dominic's Catholic Church at Steiner, top left.

... and Now,  more trees certainly, but the main difference here is the tower of St. Dominic's, redesigned and rebuilt following serious damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.


Then ...  A heavily armed response team takes up position at the southwest corner of Laguna and Bush outside the K & F Drayage Trucking Co. building at 1899 Bush.

... and Now,  another structure has since taken its place.


Then ...  The suspect's house is at 1727 Laguna Street (map).  As Jake and Larsen observe it one of the hostages seeks escape by unwisely clambering out of a 3rd floor window ... "Don't do that, lady ..."

... and Now,  the house has long since been demolished, one of the many victims of the Western Addition's ethnic cleansing program.  The building on the right, next to it and under construction during the filming, is still there today, the Konko-Kyo Church of San Francisco.


Then ...  The unfortunate hostage slips and falls.  Across the street is another view of the Drayage Trucking building on the corner of Bush and next to it one of the twin towers of the Bush Street Temple, built in 1895.  In 2003 the temple became the Kokoro Assisted Living Center.

... and Now,  the new building on the corner was built as an extension of the Kokoro Center.


Then ...  Apparently hostage negotiation was not part of the Police Department's job description in the 1970s - a fierce firefight ensues with multiple fatalities on both sides ending only when the suspect is shot.  Across the street an ambulance pulls up to 1727 Laguna where we see that it had a store, Coast Camera & Radio, on its first floor.

... and Now,  there's a church parking lot with a gated entrance where the house used to sit.


    It turns out the suspect was a deranged vet with a prosthetic leg; he couldn't have been the bus murderer who was witnessed climbing off the bus and walking briskly away.  Another lead bites the dust.


The Conversation - Meltdown

    Back at his apartment at 700 Laguna Street (described in an earlier post) Caul turns to his saxophone to calm his churning mind.  While playing along to a Gerry Mulligan track his unlisted phone interrupts ...


    It's Stett.  By now it's clear he was part of the plot to kill the Director.  "We know that you know, Mr. Caul ...  For your own sake don't get involved any further ... we'll be listening to you."


Then ...  The bugger is now the bugged.  The very thought drives him nuts and sends him scouring his apartment for the bug.  Behind drapes, inside lamps, the phone, everywhere.

... and Now,  the window view looks west across Laguna along Birch towards distant apartments on Buchanan Street.  Viewed at street level, below, the matching top story of those apartments can be seen above a newer building (map, red marker on the apartments, blue marker at Caul's place).  The building across Laguna has since been built on the newly cleared empty lot visible above.


    Caul is rapidly losing it.  Everything in sight is ripped apart, even the floorboards.


       His meltdown leaves the apartment demolished without revealing the bug.  Perhaps it exists only in his imagination.  He seeks solace the only way he knows how and as the movie's end credits slowly pass on by to the plaintive sound of his sax it is left to us to unravel the unanswered questions.


The Conversation - "Room 773, Jack Tar Hotel"

    On the taped recording Caul hears the lovers arranging to meet in Room 773 at the Jack Tar, a hotel between Geary and Post on Van Ness Avenue (map).   Knowing that the Director has heard the tape and fearing for their safety, he decides to go there.

Then ...  He asks for room 773 at the desk, confirms that it's occupied, and books the adjacent room.  On his balcony he peers towards 773 but the frosted glass divider juts out beyond the railing, thwarting his attempt.

... recently ...  here's a matching image by American Zoetrope that fortuitously was taken in 2011 two years before the hotel was demolished.  Other than the bland wall paint on the left that "removes the colors from our sight" (Moody Blues, anyone?) the balconies remain exactly the same despite the passage of 40 years.

 ... and Now,  by the end of 2013 the heavy equipment had moved in and demolition begun.  This view from Franklin Street of the rear of the front part of the hotel reveals Room 773 (arrowed).  As of this writing the entire site is a large hole in the ground in preparation for a state-of-the-art California Pacific Medical Center hospital. 


    The Jack Tar's Grand Opening in 1960 was heralded by a public relations blitz trumpeting "... the world's most modern hotel ..." and the "... dazzling innovations ...".  (Many San Franciscans however were less than impressed with its architecture, considering it garish).  It was the City's first hotel to have air conditioning and boasted over 400 rooms each easily accessible from a guest's parked car.  This photo taken from across Van Ness Avenue the year the hotel opened also gives us a rare look, on the left, at the Cathedral of Saint Mary Of The Assumption on Van Ness and O'Farrell that, after being destroyed 2 years later by arson, was replaced by today's modern cathedral nearby on Gough.  Tommy's Joynt on the other hand, seen on the corner of Geary, opened at that spot in 1947 and is still going strong.

    By 2011 when this photo was taken the hotel, renamed since 1982 as the Cathedral Hill Hotel (after its neighborhood), was closed, awaiting its fate.

    The billion dollar CPMC Cathedral Hill hospital, rendered below, is scheduled to open in 2015, though 2016 seems more likely.


    Here's a closer look at the Cathedral of Saint Mary Of The Assumption, in 1962 right after it was gutted by an arson fire that resulted in its subsequent demolition.


    But we digress ... back to the movie ...

Then ...  Caul has drilled a hole through the bathrooms' dividing wall and is listening in to the conversation in room 773.  He hears the voices of the lovers and the Director and becomes increasingly alarmed as denials and shouts flood his earphones.

... recently ...  another American Zoetrope image captured the same spot in 2011.


    Hearing screams he rushes out to the balcony where through the frosted glass partition he witnesses the wife being attacked by her bloodstained husband.  Or does he?  Is it real or is it all a figment of his tortured mind?


The Conversation - Harry Caul's Apartment

  Caul lived in the 3-story Sylvia Apartments at 700 Laguna Street, on the corner of Grove in the Hayes Valley section of the Western Addition (map).  Here's a recent photo of the front door.

Then ...  Caul lets himself into the apartment building.  No iron security front gate back then.

... and Now,  It's been 40 years but it's still the same old lobby.


Then ...  Upstairs on the second floor corridor he has just passed apartment 206 on his left, 208 is on our left and he is heading for his apartment at the end of the corridor, # 207, just off the right of this picture.

... and Now,  the same corridor no longer has a molding strip along the upper walls and the  light fixtures and doors and casings have been replaced.  It was a little classier then.


Then ...  CitySleuth composited several interior shots to come up with this overall panorama of Caul's apartment, created by combining apartments 206 and 207 into one unit (click image to enlarge).  The 207 entrance leads from the corridor into the apartment from the far right and the two bay windows on the left wall look out directly across Laguna.  The building seen across the street at far left was being torn down as this scene was filmed, coinciding with the tail end of the Western Addition 'urban renewal' program that saw the demolition of 2500 Victorian homes.


... and Now,  street views from interior scenes led CitySleuth to conclude that the apartment was on the second level, highlighted in red.    The building was built in 1928 and was mostly vacant when Coppola filmed the movie but it survived the demolition taking place all around it.  Birch Street intersects on the left.


Then ...  The kitchen is at the corner of the building and its west view looks across Laguna along Birch towards apartments on Buchanan Street.

... and Now,  Here's the same view today taken from street level; those same apartments in the distance are still there, the matching top story can be seen above a newer building.


Click in this box to search this site ...