San Francisco Film Noir

noircoveruse1 Foggy San Francisco, along with Los Angeles and New York is one of the best locations in the world for examples of the dark and mysterious genre known as film noir (black film). The following are some of the many images of film noir with San Francisco locations.

noirsniperuse Arthur Franz, the “Sniper” runs up the rickety wooden Filbert Steps of Telegraph Hill after shooting another woman to death with his scope rifle. “This is developing into a very bad habit!!!!” This 1952 movie amazes me for its frankness of the subject matter, and its weird attempt to show understanding for this creep at the film’s ending. It’s also an extremely interesting movie; have a shot at it sometime. (Oooohhhh, Tim!) The wooden steps were replaced in the 1970’s, and the old warehouse below the steps, in the 1980’s.

Noirpier5use A cab pulls up to Pier 5 on the Embarcadero with Tom Conway, the “Falcon” inside in the 1945 thriller ‘The Falcon in San Francisco’.

Noirpier52use The Falcon putting the moves on a female suspect in front of Pier 5:

NoirExpredoStefanie Powers, nearly being run over on her way to 25th and Clement to be kidnapped by Ross Martin, in one of the last great film noir movies to be filmed in San Francisco, ‘Experiment in Terror’ from 1962.

Noirburrittuse Burritt Alley, where Sam Spade’s partner Miles Archer was “done in” by Brigid O’Shaughnessy in the Maltese Falcon, as depicted in the Humphrey Bogart film, and the actual alley. The red-brown colored building at the far left was not there when the book was written, and was the empty lot where Miles body rolled down to Stockton Street.

Noirflowerstanduse “Hi ya, Babe!”

“Get lost, creep!”

Not from a noir movie, but that girl in the Fred Lyon picture reminds me of Lauren Bacall. This flower stand was, and still is in front of the old I Magnin Store, now Louis Viutton across from Union Square.

stouchbridge1use I love it when I find an old Film Noir flicker with terrific San Francisco locations! Here, Glenn Ford approaches the Lefty O’Dould Bridge as the gates close in the 1949 crime thriller ‘Mr. Soft Touch’ He’s being chased by the “Mob” after robbing one of their casinos. That’s AT&T Park in the background now instead of the ship.

stouch2use  Ford smashes through the gate without stopping.

stouchbridge3use The drawbridge rises forcing the mobsters to give up the chase. This was another hairy stunt you couldn’t get permission for today; if that car doesn’t stop, the driver goes over the edge!

stouchbridge4use Ford makes his getaway as the drawbridge rises behind him.

stouchkearnyunionuseFord’s lost the gangsters chasing him, but now he has the police after him. In the next scene, he’s in North Beach turning onto Union Street from Kearny.

stouchalley1use He then turns right into Varennes Alley; not geographically coordinated with the previous scene, but that’s Hollywood.

stouchalley2use Ford stops halfway down Varennes Alley and drops stolen money into a garbage can, five hundred thousand dollars, right around here. Where is that garbage can? WHERE IS THAT GARBAGE CAN????

stouchalley4use Ford exits the alley at Union Street with the cops hot on his trail.

stouchalley3use  Well, at least they didn’t get it!

‘Mr. Soft Touch’


A publicity still, and a behind the scene shot showing a sound man from ‘Mr. Soft Touch’. Still looking for this location. (Thumbnail image)

Addendum: In January of 2022, I was able to find this location with the help of one of the members of the San Francisco Remembered Facebook group. Check out the link below to the post that helped me find out the answer to where this location was.

Outclassed again (For Judy)

Some San Francisco Buildings (Thumbnail image)


Some interesting San Francisco buildings. At the left: The fictional building that would soon catch fire in the 1974 blockbuster ‘The Towering Inferno’. I still don’t know how this movie won an Oscar for cinematography! The Bank of America Building on California where some of the movie was filmed is, usually, a dark brown monolithic looking thing, but if you take a picture at the right spot, and the right time of day, it makes a good comparison. Second from the left: This image from some remarkable live footage at the Ferry Building was taken on Market Street the day after the 1906 Earthquake. For reasons that I’ve never really understood, the Ferry Building does not face Market Street squarely. That’s just one of those things I’ve always known, but never thought much about until now! Second from the right: I don’t know who lives in the mansion at 2898 Broadway in Pacific Heights. Probably, somebody with a stately name like Mrs. Basington-Basington or something, but it was used as the setting of Lana Turner’s home in the 1960 crime thriller ‘Portrait in Black’. At the right: The Columbus and Kearny intersection after the 1906 Earthquake; the City goes back about its business. That’s the steel skeleton of the Columbus Tower Building, now owned by Francis Ford Coppola. To the left of it was the Montgomery Block Building, built in 1853. This haunt of just about every prominent writer to visit San Francisco from Bret Harte to Mark Twain survived the 1906 Earthquake, and was demolished in 1959. The Transamerica Pyramid now occupies the spot.