Sudden Fear - Myra's Summer House
Lester's scheme progresses well - he and Myra have become newlyweds. They spend their honeymoon at Myra's summer house, a delightful waterfront home on a steep hillside with spectacular views. The owners of the house, well aware of its association with the movie, generously allowed Citysleuth to visit and take the matching photographs below.
Then ... From the house a steep path switchbacks all the way down past a small cottage to a private pier.
... and Now, the house, still there and looking much as it did 60 years ago, is at 250 Beach Road in Belvedere, just a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County (map). It faces Tiburon across Belvedere Cove.
Lester wakes up his new bride and suggests they go for a swim. This was filmed inside the house in the end room on the right at the exterior balcony level (above). For the film shoot the room was converted to a bedroom; the fireplace and exit door on the left are props. The balcony post outside the window though is real, it can be seen above.
Then ... They exit the room to make the descent to the pier, seen far below. Although the movie convincingly makes it look like this is the door leading out of the bedroom (far left, above) this room is in fact one floor below it.
... and Now, the boat dock at the end of the pier is smaller and an arbor has been added outside the house.
Then ... Lester descends one level then runs ahead ...
... and Now, the posts on the retaining wall support the arbor mentioned above.
... he jerks back after almost falling over the exposed edge ...
"Woahh! It's a precipice! ... There isn't even a guard rail!"
Then ... This is what he saw that gave him pause.
... and Now, it still would!
Then ... They continue on but play it safe by holding hands. The chimney on the right projects from a cottage lower down.
... and Now
Then ... They have passed the cottage - almost there!
... and Now , the pathway has an added brick edging and the cottage a replaced window, otherwise there's little change. From the owner, CitySleuth discovered that these retaining walls were built to last using cobblestones from old San Francisco streets.
Then ... As they run to the end of the pier we see the hills of Tiburon stretched out on the other side of Belvedere Cove. The pier was built with sections of a catwalk used in the construction of the Golden Gate bridge.
... and Now, Tiburon has seen its share of development since 1952 but still retains its charm. The white building at the water’s edge across the cove is the Corinthian Yacht Club, established in 1886.
... on location ... The actors and reportedly up to one hundred support crew spent two days filming these scenes. The owners of the house at that time were Mr. and Mrs. Jack Heidelberg. CitySleuth thanks the current owners for sharing this on-location photo showing Mrs. Heidelberg and friends on her balcony watching Joan Crawford and Jack Palance rehearsing the scene captured in the second Then photo in this post.
... and Now, the room above the exit door (the bedroom in the movie) has since been extended out, one of the few exterior changes to the house.
Joan Crawford was known for corresponding diligently with friends and fans. Here's a letter of thanks, sent after the movie was completed from her rented suite at Hampshire House on Central Park South, to Mrs. Heidelberg (note the typo in the salutation!).