Expedition 22: Dirty Harry

January 3, 2024. This expedition was the first of my planned local movie locations series. San Francisco, in particular, is chock full of shooting locations. For my inaugural exploration I chose Dirty Harry. I wanted to combine this with a good e-bike ride so I started with the iconic Mt. Davidson location. The bike did a great job getting to the top but I walked it down most of the way because the path was muddy and slippery.

I tried to recreate the scene where the villain says “…Now turn, face the cross, come on, put your nose right up against the cement…” but I had to put the camera so far away to get the entire cross in that you can see me still in motion at the bottom of the frame. The scene takes place at night so Harry missed this amazing view from the clearing near the cross.

Next I took the overpass over Portola Drive to the Forest Hill MUNI Station (formerly, Laguna Honda Station), which is the oldest station, dating from 1918. It’s still nicely unmodernized inside. It used to have a newsstand and snack bar, which appear in the movie. The station agent told me the phone booth is still there but it’s not the one from the movie.

I biked north to Kezar Stadium. The original stadium was replaced when it was damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Two years after the movie was shot, Led Zeppelin played there. Now it’s used for high school and college sports. Weekdays, locals run on the track.

Nearby on Stanyan Street is the former Park Emergency Hospital. Built in 1902, it’s a designated landmark and houses Recreation and Parks District offices. I found this photo of the neon sign; it looks familiar to me. I wonder when it got taken down.

My last stop was City Hall. This is the balcony where Dirty Harry’s boss is standing when he arrives. As expected, City Hall looks pretty much the same as it did in 1971, inside and out. I didn’t try to get to the mayor’s office. 🙂

I could do quite a few more expeditions to see all the local Dirty Harry locations! Regrettably, the “Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?” scene, purportedly shot at California and Battery, was actually shot on a Hollywood sound stage. Too bad!

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