Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Thieves' Highway (1949)

The Movie

      For those of you San Franciscans who have ever wondered what the area around the Embarcadero Center used to look like before it was built, this is the movie for you.  Shot in just 30 days, Thieves' Highway was released in October 1949.  It was based on the novel Thieves Market by A. I. Bezzerides who also wrote the screenplay.  The storyline moves from a rural apple orchard to San Francisco's seedy (pun intended) Produce Market.  This well-acted and entertaining film noir by director Jules Dassin examines greed and sacrifice within the working class of the trucking and produce industries, all of whom are out to make a buck.

The Story

   Nick Garcos (Richard Conte) returns home to Fresno from the war to find that his father, a Central Valley farmer, has been crippled in an accident arranged by Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb), a swindling produce merchant.  The enraged Nick teams up with trucker Ed Kinney (Millard Mitchell) and they each drive a truckload of apples to San Francisco's Produce Market to exact revenge.  Figlia, up to his usual tricks, pays a shady lady, Rica (Italian actress Valentina Cortese), to lure Nick away while he sells off his load of apples.  But sparks fly when Nick and the hard-bitten but soft-centered Rica fall for each other and turn the tables on Figlia.  All ends well for Nick and Rica but his partner Ed meets a harsher fate.

    (Watch an excerpt - but disregard the caption, it wasn't the Pacific Coast Highway)

The Locations

  1. Opening Vista   View across Petaluma from La Cresta Drive
  2. Homecoming   (Still searching for this location ...)
  3. Produce Market   Washington Street at Davis Street - Map and Aerial View
  4. Mike Figlia Fruit & Produce Co.   364 Davis Street at Washington
  5. Washington and Davis   Half Moon Fruit & Produce Co., southeast corner---  John DeMartini Co., southwest corner---  Levy & Zentner Co., northwest corner---  John DeMartini Co., northeast corner
  6. Crate Labels   Not a location, but interesting nevertheless
  7. Oregon Restaurant   524 Front Street, corner of Oregon Street
  8. Colchester Hotel   259 Embarcadero
  9. Shorty's Bar   Embarcadero between King Street and Berry Street (since replaced with South Beach Park)
  10. State Belt Railroad   Embarcadero at Jackson---  Embarcadero under Bay Bridge---  Embarcadero near China Basin
  11. Nick Gets Mugged, Rica Gets Robbed   Colchester Hotel, 259 Embarcadero---  Ceylon Street, near Front Street between Washington and Clay
  12. Ferry Building   One Ferry Building, San Francisco
  13. Ed's Fateful Journey   Calistoga Grade Road, Calistoga, Napa County
  14. Bob's Roadside Cafe   (Still searching for this location ...)

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