Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: Chinatown

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - 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 Waller Street today.


  Russ Cleaners took over from 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.


The Penalty - The Penalty Is Paid

    Blizzard has another diabolical plan - he now turns his attention to Ferris, the doctor who had needlessly amputated his legs.  He begins by kidnapping Ferris's assistant and taking him to the fully equipped operating room that he had set up in his cellar for this very moment.


Then ...  He then calls Ferris telling him his daughter Barbara is at his house, injured.  He wastes no time rushing over.

and Now...  this is 59 Wentworth Place in Chinatown, described in more detail in an earlier post.  Note that the sidewalk has since been widened and the lampposts shifted outwards.


    Rose is mortified when she overhears Blizzard demanding that Ferris remove the legs from his assistant and graft them onto him otherwise harm will befall the doctor's daughter.  Despite her love for Blizzard, she is shocked into action, rushing off to get help from her Secret Service colleagues...


    ... but they arrive to find that, instead, Ferris had finally treated the original injury, a contusion on the brain that had all along been the cause of Blizzard's bizzare and criminal behavior.  Rose is overjoyed to see that he is now not only mentally cured but determined to right his wrongs.


    Unfortunately, a happy ending is about to be thwarted by Blizzard's cronies who, hearing of his transformation to righteousness, are fearful he will shop them...

    Blizzard's new life - he and Rose are now married, is short-lived when Frisco Pete shows up and dispatches him with a single shot.  

        His dying words ...


The Penalty - A Diabolical Plan, continued

Then ...  Blizzard continues describing his revenge plan against the City of San Francisco.  In his mind's eye, his army of malcontents, wearing straw hats for identification, spring into action, intent on sowing chaos in the streets.

... and Now,  this is the northwest corner of Grant and Clay in Chinatown, currently occupied by the jewelry store Jen Ju and Co., at 801 Grant (map).  The cable car that once traversed Clay Street no longer does.

    This same corner was seen years later in The Lady From Shanghai (1947) when Orson Welles' character darts across Clay Street while on the lam from the police (described here in this blog).  Note that the cable car line was still operational then.


Then ...  More anarchists charge around a corner near the Ferry Building; the view looks down Commercial Street from Drumm Street (map).  Note the pedestrian footbridge in front of the Ferry Building.  The roof cornice partially glimpsed on the far left side of the photo belonged to the Harbor Police Station.

... in the 1950s ...  this photo taken almost 40 years later shows more of the Harbor Police Station at left.  Straight ahead the newly built Embarcadero Freeway isolates the Ferry Building.

... and Now,  from the same spot today it's unrecognizable since the entire surrounding area was torn down in the 1960s for the Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project which modernized and transformed it into an extension of the Financial District.  The Four Embarcadero Center office complex was built astride this particular location.

... in 1925 ...  here's a vintage photo showing the footbridge at the Ferry building that spanned the Embarcadero until the 1940s.  Note too that an auto tunnel used to carry traffic beneath the busy plaza where the Market Street trams made a U-turn.  The arrow points to the location on Drumm Street where the above scene was filmed.


Then ...  Back in Chinatown the mayhem gets serious when a policeman is gunned down.

... and Now,  this view looks down Sacramento Street from Grant - the corner store today is the Floating Sushi Boat restaurant at 700 Grant.


    The rampage expands, setting buildings ablaze.


Then ...  The disruptive tactics are a diversion, intended to draw out and tie up emergency police and fire responders -  Blizzard imagines the fire department's Engine 10 company charging from the firehouse at 3050 17th Street in the Mission (map)...

... and Now,  the site today is a parking lot. 

 ... a vintage photo ...   The Engine 10 and Truck 7 firehouse, built in 1895, is pictured here in this 1952 photo.


    By way of a trivia observation, just across 17th Street from the Engine 10 firehouse was the very distinctive Mission Police Station, photographed here in 1924.  In the next post we will see the police responding to Blizzard's criminal army but filmed elsewhere.  For some reason the moviemakers passed on the opportunity to use this police station even though their cameras were already right there filming the firehouse.

... and Now,  this was home for the Mission Police Station from 1903 to 1950 at which time it relocated to a new site on Valencia Street.  It remains so marked but is now privately owned; its most recent sale was in 2002 for $2.2M.  It still exudes character and suggests only hints of what went on over the decades behind those walls.


    (Blizzard's nefarious plot continues in the next post - CitySleuth).


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