Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Lady From Shanghai - O'Hara's Trial

  O'Hara is tried for the double murder of Sydney Broome and George Grisby in San Francisco's Hall Of Justice.  He is defended by Elsa's husband Bannister who is famous for never having lost a case in his entire career.

Then ...  The movie's interior courtroom scene shows the distinctive arched windows of the Hall Of Justice.

... from a vintage photo ...  This undated photo of a Hall of Justice courtroom matches the movie scene almost exactly so it would appear that the scene was indeed filmed in the Hall of Justice.

... in 1958 ...  A good view of the exterior of the Hall Of Justice building isn't seen in this movie but, 11 years later in the 1958 movie The Lineup, it is seen looking as it did to Orson Welles and his crew.  It was at 750 Kearny Street, on the corner of Washington, facing Portsmouth Square (map).

... and Now,  the original building with its distinctive fan shaped window arches was razed in 1967 and replaced by a high-rise hotel, the Hilton San Francisco Financial District (below).  The city's law enforcement headquarters had moved to 850 Bryant Street (map) in the early 1960s, where it still is.


  Elsa visits O'Hara in his jail cell - he expresses concern over Bannister's intentions, not trusting him for fear he was aware of their amorous meetings.  Check out that fine view to the Bay Bridge from his cell window (just as if ...)


Then ...  This same window view is seen a number of times during the courthouse action, the example below is from the courtroom.  But this is a backdrop using a photo taken from the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill looking down Sacramento Streeet, and in the bottom left corner we can see (arrowed) ... the Hall Of Justice itself!

... and Now,  decades of Financial District development has dramatically altered today's view from the Fairmont.  The arrow points to the hotel on the site of the old Hall Of Justice.


  The trial does not go well for the defendant and as they await the jury's decision Bannister admits to O'Hara that "this is one case I've enjoyed losing" and pointedly, satisfyingly, tells the recipient of his wife's ardor "I know you're going to the gas chamber".

Then ...  But O'Hara suddenly grabs Bannister's medication pills and swallows them, creating a chaotic courtroom reaction during which he manages to make his escape.  Below, he runs from the courthouse (that's it on the left) into Kearny Street and heads towards Portsmouth Square opposite.

... and Now,   The view looks south down Kearny with Portsmouth Square off to the right.  Note that the restaurant straight ahead on the corner of Merchant advertised 'Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner' then (above) and still does now, six decades on.  That's a lot of meals.

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