Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Sniper - Stickball

  This next scene, supposedly in San Francisco, was filmed in Los Angeles (why?).  This location was on a hill - Court Hill in the Bunker Hill neighborhood - destined to be leveled in the 1950s and 1960s for a huge civic redevelopment project.

Then ...  Miller is seen walking on Court Street.  To get there he has just climbed the steep Court Flight Steps, from Broadway between 1st and Temple streets.  Behind him is the old Hall Of Records (torn down in 1979) across Broadway.

... c. 1940 ...  this vintage photo shows a wider view looking down the same stretch of Court Street revealing more of the Hall Of Justice with City Hall behind it. The structure at the end of the street is the parking area at the upper terminus of the Court Flight railway, still operational in 1940 but torn down by the time the movie was filmed.

... and Now,  Court Street has been eradicated and the hill carted away to make way for this parking lot.  City Hall is in the background but the old Hall of Records was torn down in 1979.

in 1954 ...  and here, just two years after the movie was filmed, are the Court Flight steps leading up the hill past the Hotel Broadway to Court Street.  From 1905 until 1943 the Court Flight funicular railway operated on this hill.


Then ...  Miller turns onto Hill Street (atop the Hill Street Tunnel) and watches some kids playing stickball (map).  He clumsily returns the ball, interfering with the game, and is rebuked for his efforts.   Always the loser, he slinks off crestfallen.

From 'Woman On The Run' ...    Interestingly, this exact location was used in the movie Woman On The Run (below).  The furthest house, 150 North Hill Street, is the same one seen above and the house at far right is the Harmonia apartment building at 138 North Hill Street.

  Fortunately for us a vintage aerial photo exists which captured this location as it was when it was still there...

... in 1924 ...  the  arrow marks where the stickball game took place, on the Hill Street  block above the Hill Street Tunnel (the tunnel's double bore is just  left of center at the bottom of the photo).  To the right of the arrow are the two houses seen in the screen capture above.  The old Hall of Records  building is at center right and the Hotel Broadway is dead center, stepping up the slope to Court Street where the Court Flight funicular used to  run. Court Street crosses Hill Street just behind the arrow.

  So why was this scene filmed in L.A. and not San Francisco?  CitySleuth surmises that during editing the director decided to add more illustrative footage of Miller as social misfit.  It would be convenient to do it close to home.


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