Then … The murder of priest Father Tomasino devastates Joe Martini (Tony Curtis), a motorcycle cop, who had grown up in an orphanage under the priest’s tutelage and guidance. He visits the orphanage in search of solace where we see a group of boys on a playground.
… and Now, this was filmed on the top of Mount St. Joseph Hill in the Bayview neighborhood (map). The view below is taken from very close to the same spot, looking south towards Bayview Hill with San Bruno Mountain in the distance at upper right. The railway line on the right side, also visible above, is the Caltrain line approaching the Bayview tunnel that burrows its way beneath the hill. The name St. Eustace was fictitious but these scenes were filmed at a real orphanage - Mount St. Joseph’s School for young girls, at 1700 Newhall Street. It’s not there now and Newhall street on the left across from the playground (above) is blocked in today’s view (below) by buildings since built in the foreground.
… and Now, this closer look at Newhall Street reveals that most of the houses seen in the Then image above still look the same - the gabled yellow house at 1857 Newhall is the second house from the left in the Then image above.
Then and Now… The location where the orphanage scene was filmed is marked by the ‘X’ on this recent satellite map (the dotted line indicates the path of the underground railway tunnel). Click or tap the image to see a matching 1956 aerial view, revealing Mount St. Joseph’s school and the playground, clearly seen below the ‘X’ .
Then … Joe seeks the advice of the Mother Superior who does little to assuage his grief.
… and Now, the same view today, capturing three neighborhoods. At left is the Caltrain railway line cutting through the Bayview. The center foreground is the Portola neighborhood and behind that, Visitacion Valley. San Bruno Mountain spans left to right in the far distance.
… a vintage photo … here’s Mount St. Joseph’s School in 1929; the building would have looked the same to the moviemakers in 1956 when the location filming took place at the left side of the school. The Catholic Sisters of Charity built this structure in brick in 1911 after the wooden orphanage on the same site burned down in 1910. The Sisters closed the orphanage in 1977; it was snatched up by a developer who tore it down to make way for the Silverview Terrace residential subdivision whose 144 homes hit the market starting in 1984.
… and Now, in this same view from the junction of Newhall Street (crossing) and Bay View Street the Silverview Terrace houses beyond the palm tree sit on what used to be the landscaped area seen above in front of the orphanage school.