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 Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, 502 Jefferson Street, Aquatic Park --- 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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