Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Vertigo - Argosy Book Shop

  Scottie and Midge visit Pop Leibel (Konstantin Shayne), owner of the Argosy Book Store to find out if he knew who Carlotta Valdes was.  He recalled that the McKittrick Hotel was built by a rich married man for a young girl, Carlotta.  They had a child who he took in but he turned Carlotta out.  She slowly lost her mind and finally took her life ... "by her own hand".

Then ...  The book shop was created and filmed in the Paramount Pictures studios using a projected street scene for the window view.  The shop location is inferred from this view which included passing cable cars.  The stores across the street are on the east side of the 200 block of Powell Street.  Macintosh, at 222 Powell, was a men's clothing store.

... from 1955 ...  below, a vintage photo showing that same block, including the Macintosh store, as it was not long before Vertigo was filmed.

... and Now,  the window view today.  The Union Square Gallery Market is now where Macintosh used to be.

... from 1959 ...   the bookstore's window view was filmed from the entrance of the Manx Hotel at 225 Powell Street, which makes it the virtual location of the book shop (map).  This vintage photo shows the Manx as it was when Vertigo was filmed.

... and Now,  here's the same block today.  Cable cars still run past the hotel, now the Villa Florence.


  According to the excellent Hitchcock locations book 'Footsteps In The Fog', the interiors of the Argosy Book Shop were modeled after the Argonaut Book Shop, still in business, which has specialized in Western historical books and maps since 1941.  The shop was at 336 Kearny Street when Vertigo was filmed then in 1969 it moved to 786 Sutter.  The photos below taken in the original Kearny Street Argonaut certainly show similar features to Hitchcock's Argosy, namely the mezzanine at the rear of the store, its staircase and the arch over the doorway.


  But regarding the Argosy's exterior, it's different from the Argonaut, which had a central doorway (above).

Then ...  This shot of Scottie and Midge after they leave the shop shows a large picture window with carved wooden posts on either side and an entrance door to the right.  CitySleuth has found a location that may have inspired this exterior look ...

... in 2003 ...  the Tillman Place Book Shop in Tillman Place across from Podesta Baldocchi's flower shop (another Vertigo location just a few blocks from the Manx hotel) was another well-known City book store, in business for over 50 years before closing down in 2003.  The photo below taken just after the closing has the same storefront design as the Argosy with carved window posts and an entrance on the right.  Hitchcock was known for being a stickler for location details and often used real places as a guide.  The Tillman Place storefront disappeared when it and the store next to it were turned into the Zaza restaurant in 2004.

Click in this box to search this site ...