Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Laughing Policeman (1973)

The Movie

    In the early 1970s Walter Matthau, at that time perhaps best known as a lovable grouch in a series of comedies, reversed character and reeled off three crime movies in a row including The Laughing Policeman.  The script was based on a novel by the Swedish husband and wife team Per Wahlöö  and Maj Sjöwall in which the protagonist was a humorless cop once given a phono record by a wag of a laughter-filled English 1920s music-hall comedic song called 'The Laughing Policeman'.  Hence the title.  For the movie San Francisco replaced the novel's Stockholm setting but this is a different side of San Francisco, the seedy side, a world of gritty neighborhoods, licentious clubs, pimps, prostitutes, gays and psychos.  Stuart Rosenberg produced and directed the movie; it premiered on December 20, 1973.

The Story

    Dour plain-clothes cop Jake Martin (Matthau) responds to a brutal massacre of all aboard a Muni bus and is shocked to find his partner amongst the victims.  Martin, new partner Leo Larsen (Bruce Dern) and fellow plain-clothesman James Larrimore (Louis Gossett Jr.) begin a dogged but convincingly realistic investigation that twists, turns and dead-ends before they finally get their man.

    (See the movie trailer here)

The Locations

  1. The Setup  Transbay Terminal, 425 Mission Street between First and Fremont, SoMa
  2. Carnage  Mission Street at Army (now Cesar Chavez), The Mission  ---  Portsmouth Square
  3. Jake Martin's Residence  156 Robinhood Drive, Sherwood Forest
  4. Kay Butler's Apartment  Driving on Leavenworth Street between Lombard and Green, Russian Hill  ---  2768 Green Street, Cow Hollow
  5. Hall of Justice  850 Bryant Street, SoMa
  6. Garden Of Eden Club. 529 Broadway, North Beach
  7. Snitch  Enrico's, 504 Broadway, North Beach
  8. Fun Terminal  Fun Terminal Arcade, 120 1st Street, Soma  ---Wagon Wheel Tavern, 118 1st Street, SoMa
  9. Porno Theatre  New Follies (now the Victoria) Theater, 2961 16th Street, The Mission
  10. No Communication  156 Robinhood Drive, Sherwood Forest
  11. Nurse Monica   Ward 86, San Francisco General Hospital, Potrero Avenue at 22nd Street, The Mission
  12. Shootout   1727 Laguna Street, Japantown, Western Addition
  13. Find Rodney  Hank's 500 Club, 500 Haight Street, Lower Haight --- American Veterans Club, 530 Haight  ---  Lou's and Brown's Used Furniture, 525 Haight 
  14. Pontiac Hotel  Pontiac Hotel, 138 6th Street (now 509 Minna), SoMa
  15. Lunch Break  La Palma Mexicatessen, 2884 24th Street, the Mission
  16. A Tip From The Angels  Texas at 19th Street --- 605 Texas Street, Potrero Hill
  17. Art Institute  800 Chestnut Street, Russian Hill
  18. Getting Warmer   218 Filbert Street, on the steps,  Telegraph Hill
  19. Prime Suspect  One Embarcadero Center, Sacramento Street entrance --- One Embarcadero Center, Clay Street footbridge balcony
  20. Tailing Camerero  South End Rowing Club at 500 Jefferson Street, Aquatic Park, Fisherman's Wharf --- 3038 Fillmore Street, Cow Hollow --- Level A Garage at One Embarcadero Center, 301 Clay Street, Financial District --- Golden Gateway Garage exit, Clay Street near Battery, Financial District --- 330 Ritch Street, SoMa --- 1960 Union Street, Cow Hollow
  21. Cruising   Minerva Cafe, 136 Eddy Street, Tenderloin  ---  Ramrod Bar, 1225 Folsom Street, SoMa  ---  Frolic Room, 141 Mason Street, Tenderloin  ---  Sydney G. Walton Square Park,  Jackson Street near Davis, Financial District
  22. Flushing Him Out  Promenade Level at One Embarcadero Center, Financial District --- Level A Garage at One Embarcadero Center, Financial District  ---  85 St. Elmo Way, Monterey Heights  ---  Battery Street garage exit at One Embarcadero Center, Financial District
  23. Car Chase  Financial District  ---  SoMa  ---  Potrero Hill/Dogpatch  ---  Russian Hill  ---  North Beach
  24. Bus Chase  Washington Square --- North Beach --- Embarcadero
  25. Showdown  The Embarcadero at Folsom Street, Rincon Hill

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