Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Vertigo - Gavin Elster's Office

    An old acquaintance, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), asks Scottie to stop by his office at a shipbuilding company.  Director Alfred Hitchcock takes this opportunity to include his customary cameo, walking by just before Scottie walks in.  This brief scene was filmed at the entrance to the paint department at Paramount Studios.


Then ...  Elster has an unusual favor to ask - his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) has been disappearing for hours at a time and returning with no memory of where she has been.  Elster wants Scottie to follow her to find out where she goes.

 ... and Now,   Elster's office was created and filmed in the studio but his window view above, rear-projected during the scene, was reportedly filmed at Bethlehem Shipyards at Pier 70 on the east side of Potrero Hill (map).  The shipyard site was bought by the city in 1982 and while mostly unoccupied is home to a dry dock facility and artist studios.  Some of the old cranes, rusting and graffitied, can still be seen in this recent photo taken from Illinois Street at 19th.


    Elster is convinced his wife has been possessed by the spirit of someone dead; not surprisingly Scottie is skeptical but Elster is persuasive and he reluctantly agrees to get involved.

    Trivia time ...  the print on the wall above is a lithograph by the English artist George H. Burgess titled San Francisco in 1849.  Its viewpoint is from the foot of Montgomery Street looking north towards Telegraph Hill.

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