Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Lady From Shanghai - On The Lam - Mandarin Theatre 1

Then ...  O'Hara sees the Mandarin Theatre, one of Chinatown's favorite opera and movie houses at 1021 Grant Avenue (map), and slips inside to hide from his pursuers.  The theatre, next to the pharmacy at far right, was built in 1925. (Yep, that's yet another Chop Suey sign next door ...)

... and Now,  looking south down Grant from the same viewpoint, the theatre, with its horned awning, hasn't changed from the outside.  The pharmacy that was next to it at near right is now the popular Golden Gate Bakery, where people regularly line up for their delicious egg custard tarts.

... a vintage photo ...  this photo, taken two years before the movie was released, gives us a better view of the theatre as it was in the 1940s.

... and Now,  the building today is a shopping arcade, the Sun Sing Center.  The theater had been renamed the Sun Sing Theater in 1949 and the name has carried over to the arcade.

... from a vintage postcard ...  the theatre was renowned enough to merit its own tourist postcard, below.


Then ...  Inside, a traditional Chinese opera is in full swing.  CitySleuth thinks these scenes were filmed on a studio sound stage using projected performance footage from the theatre, a technique (studio + location) much favored by director Orson Welles.

... and Now,  ghosts from days past can at least shop in the arcade that now occupies the interior.  The only surviving element of the stage is its proscenium arch.


Then ...  a view from the stage captures the enrapt audience on two levels and the house orchestra off to the side.

... and Now,  the gallery today is a lonely place used solely for storage.

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