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 switchback path winds 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 on the exterior balcony (above). The room (below) was made into a bedroom with a fireplace and an exit door added on the left for extra effect. The balcony post outside the window can be clearly seen if you click on the photo above.
Then ... They exit the room and begin the descent to the pier far below. Although the movie convincingly makes it look like this is the door leading out of the bedroom (far left, above) it 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, otherwise it's the same.
Then ... Lester runs ahead ...
... and Now, the posts on the retaining wall support the arbor mentioned above.
... he pulls back, almost falling over the unprotected edge ...
"Whoah! 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 repainted cottage a replaced window, otherwise there's little change. These retaining walls were built to last with 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 the 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 opposite 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.
... and Now, the room above the exit door, the bedroom in the movie, has 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 she sent to Mrs. Heidelberg after the movie was completed (click on it to enlarge and note the misspelled name!)