San Francisco in Cinema: Out of the Past

Broadway at Himmelman Place between Mason and Taylor streets.
Director Jacques Tourneur's 1947 crime drama Out of the Past is widely regarded as the exemplar of film noir classics. Robert Mitchum is the gumshoe turned gas station owner from Bridgeport, California who's double- and triple-crossed more times in 97 minutes than most chumps are in a lifetime. Kirk Douglas is the antagonist, Jane Greer the femme fatale. While other film directories and noir guides note that Tourneur's San Francisco is an ersatz one, a Hollywood backlot version of the City, Mister SF's exclusive detective work has uncovered an authentic location. An insert shot shows Mitchum's character pulling up in a cab in front of 962 Broadway for a meeting with secretary Meta Carson, played by Rhonda Fleming. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 906 Broadway, is visible in the shot, as are the INS Building and the Bay Bridge. However, all of the buildings on the left of the frame in the scene are gone. A few years after Out of the Past was filmed, portions of Broadway between Powell and Mason were excavated for the Broadway Tunnel. Another location, 114 Fulton Street, would be somewhere in the middle of Civic Center, if it existed at all..

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