The last time I rode the “Hyde Street Grip” up over Russian Hill to Downtown San Francisco I was able to get a spot to hang on to the outside of the cable car as we passed over the top of Russian Hill. This picture is looking down Lombard Street as we pass. The next block we approached is Greenwich and Hyde Streets; ‘Dark Passage’ territory. ‘Dark Passage’, of course, is the 1947 film noir set in San Francisco starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
As we rattled toward Greenwich Street, we’re approaching the spot in the film where Humphrey Bogart boarded a cable car in his escape after causing Agnes Moorehead’s accidental death.
On the west side of Hyde Street at Greenwich is the Tamalpais Apartment Building. In her top floor apartment here, Agnes Moorhead panics as Bogart tries to make her confess to killing his wife, which he went to prison for. She crashes through the window of her apartment and falls to her death. Well, there goes his alibi!
Bogart goes the roof of the building and climbs down the fire escape.
In this cutaway shot of Bogie descending the stairs, you can see a reservoir that used to be where the Alice Marble Tennis Courts are today.
Bogie jumps to the ground from a ladder below the stairs that no longer exists. You can see the fastening markers where the ladder used to be in my picture.
As sirens approach, Bogart crosses Hyde Street to catch a convenient passing cable car to make his escape. Well, they did run more often back then, and as of right now they’re not running at all. This is looking down Greenwich Street toward Telegraph Hill.
We’re getting ready to hook up with Bogie as we approach Greenwich.
And right about here is where he jumped on a cable car, but he wouldn’t have found much room on ours. Bogie climbed on just about where the first parked car we’re approaching is.
Once on board, Bogie looks back at the Tamalpais Apartment Building. He can’t worry too much about Agnes Moorehead now; he’s got a date with the Dame de la crème, Lauren Bacall. I’ll close with a link to a film clip of the Tamalpais Apartments escape scene below.
5 thoughts on “More on ‘Dark Passage’”
Again, some of the landscaping seems to be the same as it was back then. It is difficult to know for certain, but the boxwood hedge on the apartment building to the left o the tracks where the cable car is boarded seem to be the same that are there now. Also, the Norfolk Island pines, Araucaria heterophylla, down the hill on Greenwich Street are the same. They are an odd choice for an urban situation, and for San Francisco.
Wow, they do look similar, huh, Tony! Could they live that long, 73 years? Well, it’s a cinch that Bogart wasn’t paying much attention to them as he was lamming.
Actually, the various boxwoods last a very long time. There are hedges at the Winchester House that were there during the Victorian Period, and that survived for decades before the house was restored. They work well as small hedges because they grow slowly once they fill out.
I think that’s not the Francisco Reservoir, which is below and beyond 1090 Chestnut seen in the distance in the picture where Bogard climbs down the stairs. It is likely to be Alice Marble which is at the base of the Tamalpais, and which today is covered by tennis and basketball courts, but apparently wasn’t back then.
You know, you’re right, Marc! I checked out David Rumsey’s 1938 aerial photo of San Francisco, and it confirms your correction. Also, that tall apartment in the background is indeed on Chestnut Street, which puts it above where the reservoir was located. Good catch! Thank you for pointing that out.