Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Lady From Shanghai - On The Lam - Portsmouth Square

  Taking advantage of the courtroom commotion O'Hara flees from the Hall of Justice.

Then ...  He rushes across Kearny Street and into Portsmouth Square (map), the birthplace of the city in that the American flag was first raised here in 1846, in the plaza of the Mexican town of Yerba Buena, by Capt. John Montgomery of the USS Portsmouth.  The square was named after the ship.  Note the simple elegance of the square then, conforming to the natural grade.  In 1873 the first cable car in America climbed the Clay Street hill seen in the background.

... and Now,  the rebuilt square, at the behest of the Chinatown community, is now a split-level park with multi-level parking below it.  Yes, it's a community gathering place now and it helped deal with the pressing parking problem but did it have to end up so cluttered, an urban eyesore?


Then ...  From a courthouse window Elsa sees O'Hara bolt across the square.  In the center of the square we see the 1897 monument to the memory of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who had lived for a time in San Francisco.

... in 1941 ...  here's a closer look at the monument in a vintage photo.

... and Now,  the monument, with its billowing golden sails, is still there (below), a mollification of the historically-minded opponents of the parking garage project, but it was moved over to the west side of the square.

    Those of you who are historically inclined will enjoy this terrific 1906 photo showing the monument (foreground, left of center) and the post-earthquake remains of the 'original' Hall of Justice; it was subsequently replaced in 1910 by the 'old' Hall of Justice, the one seen in this movie. 


Then ...  Elsa pursues him through the square - the monument's plinth is on the right.  Behind her is the Kearny block between Merchant and Clay, next to the Hall of Justice just out of the picture at left.

... and Now,  the same block shows little change in over 60 years.  In the foreground a familiar sight these days - tightly gathered Chinatown denizens vociferously following a hotly contested board game.

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