Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Play It Again, Sam - Nymphomaniac

    After Allan strikes out with Sharon, Linda tries again, recommending Jennifer but warning him that she's a nymphomaniac.  He is undeterred.

   He approaches a cab, waiting while it disgorges a group of grass-smoking hippies ...

 

Then ...  but quickly regrets getting in, having to immediately leap out to escape the acrid fumes.

... and Now,  this was filmed on Buchanan Street in Pacific Heights looking south towards Jackson (map).  The bricked building at left is 2518 Buchanan.

 

    He finally meets Jennifer and after spending all evening hearing that all she's interested in is sex, sex and more sex, he makes his move, only to be rebuffed with a shriek.

 

Then ...  He descends the outside steps totally confused, wondering how he could have misread her.

... and Now,  this house is at 2065 Vallejo Street, in Cow Hollow (map), just a couple of blocks from the cab episode location above.  Clearly the occupants here have no need of a fitness club membership.

 

Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers - Chinese Laundry

Then ...  When Matthew spills coffee on his shirt he takes it to his favorite Chinese laundry.  We see him here passing the Four Seas restaurant in Chinatown.

... and Now,  the same entrance today, at 731 Grant Avenue (map), has retained the wall decoration but the doors have been replaced.

... and Now,  the Four Seas took over the restaurant from the original Hang Far Low in the early 1960s, serving the neighborhood for decades until it closed in 2014.  It recently reopened as Mr. Jiu's who moved the entrance to the rear of the building at 28 Waverly Place.  The recent photo below shows the prominent Four Seas sign is still there on Grant, above the front entrance.

 

Then ...  He continues down Grant, here crossing Sacramento Street.

... and Now,  the same junction today.

 

Then ...  But as he enters the laundry it is clear from the Victorian houses reflected in the side window that this place is not in Chinatown.

... and Now,  in fact, it's miles away in the Haight district, at 1515 Waller Street (map).  It was called Russ Cleaners back then and it's still Russ Cleaners today.  But at least it's Chinese owned.

 

Then ...  The owner, thinking Matthew is a doctor, beckons him over to tell him he's very concerned - his wife "she different", "not my wife".

... and Now,  on a recent visit, based on the many racks filling the space, CitySleuth concludes the locals launder their shirts more often than they used to.

 

Then ...  When he leaves, a wider view of the laundry reveals more details that enabled CitySleuth to find this place.  Not for the first time the audience is left puzzling over what is being disposed of in the garbage truck.

... and Now,  the same view of 1515 WallerStreet today.

 

  Russ Cleaners took over from the Waller-Clayton Street Cleaning and Dyeing works in the 1950s and has been in business continuously under this name since then. 

 

Play It Again, Sam - Hong Fat Noodle Company

    Despite Allan's bizzare behaviour back at his apartment, Sharon comes along as his date, accompanied here by Linda as they arrive at the Hong Fat Noodle Company restaurant.  (But you can just make out the edges of a temporarily applied plastic sheet on the window, suggesting that a fictitious name was affixed just for this scene).

 

Then ...  CitySleuth could not find any record of a restaurant of this name in San Francisco.  But as they enter, there are a few clues that helped him find this location.  The girls climb two steps to the door, at bottom right there's a handrail and across the street is what could be a brightly lit nightclub.

... and Now,  here's the same view from the restaurant today - note the similar, if not the same, handrail.

Then ...  Inside, Allan continues making a fool of himself by demonstrating the right way to eat rice - by stuffing his face as fast as possible.  Sharon has seen enough ... she ups and leaves.  This shot yields another clue to the restaurant location - the sign across the road in the top right corner that reads 'Pepper'.

... and Now,  there's now a takeout counter where their table was.  So, enough already, where is this location?  Read on ...

 

    A search for 'Pepper' in the 1972 San Francisco street directory brought up the Peppermint Tree night club at 660 Broadway in North Beach at the edge of Chinatown.  And across the street from it?  The Yank Sing restaurant at 671 Broadway.  This was where the restaurant scene was filmed (map).

    As confirmation, a subsequent web search for Yank Sing yielded a 2005 online article about its history that mentioned that the restaurant was featured in  Play It Again, Sam.

 

 The location now ...  In 1974 Yank Sing moved to another location in town where it is still in business.  But its old location - the movie location - at 671 Broadway, now the VIP Coffee and Cakes Shop, looks just as it did, including those two steps and the handrail.

 

   As it turns out, there was a restaurant called Hong Fat Noodle Company at 63 Mott Street in New York City's Chinatown (map), in business when Play It Again Sam was filmed but long since closed.  It was a very popular dining spot with the local Chinese community and those fortunate others who knew about it (CitySleuth suspects Woody Allen was one of them and that he borrowed its name for the movie).  Here's a recent photo of that location - the restaurant was upstairs via those stairs.

 

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - Matthew's Office

Then...  Elizabeth and Matthew are both employed by the city's health department.  On her way to work she passes a street busker (Joe Bellan, banjo recorded by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead) and his faithful boxer companion.

... and Now,  this is Polk Street near the Grove Street corner in the Civic Center (map).  The view looks west past City Hall at far right and towards the War Memorial Opera House across Van Ness.  Davies Symphony Hall, there since 1980, is across Grove opposite the Opera House.

 

Then...  She enters her workplace at 101 Grove Street (map).

... and Now,  except for the ADA wheelchair sign and a handrail replacement the entrance looks exactly the same.

 

Then ...  She joins Matthew and a colleague in the lab; he is absorbed in scrutinizing a baked potato for contamination.

... and Now,  the rooms that comprise the lab area, on the top (4th) floor,  have been rearranged and refitted significantly since the moviemakers were here.  This is the most likely one used for this scene.

 

Then ...  They leave the lab, then and now called the Microbiology Laboratory, and head past room 412 towards his office.

... and Now,    today's safety-conscious era dictates an abundance of warning signs.

 

Then ...  Window views enabled CitySleuth to home in on Matthew's office.

... and Now,  the same office today has been divided into cubicles.  This is room 410 on the top floor of the building - the view looks across Grove Street to the south side of City hall.

    The office window is indicated here, overlooking Grove Street.

 

Then ...  Several of the Grove Street offices have a similar view.  How did CitySleuth decide that this was room 410?  Another movie view looking from the office down to the street corner at Polk and Grove was the clincher...

... and Now,  from room 410 today note the position of the lamppost relative to a statue pedestal beyond it.  Only this room's view has that matching alignment.

 

Then ...  In this shot the dome of City Hall dominates...

... and Now,  just as it does today.

 

   This is strange ... from outside Matthew's office we see a man peering intently through the glass at them.

 

Then ...  And as Elizabeth walks back to the lab, two more people are staring at her.  What is going on?

... and Now,  in this view of the top floor corridor we expect the marbled walls to be unchanged but we also note from the patterns that the floor tiles are the same ones as 40 years ago, in excellent condition.  Now that's impressive.

 

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