An alternative journey through SAN FRANCISCO seen from the perspective of DIRTY HARRY filming locations

Mayor’s Office

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, California 94102, USA

SCENE SYNOPSIS:

Following the shooting of the girl in the pool and the discovery of Scorpio’s ransom note on the roof of 555 California, Callahan is called in to explain to the Mayor what is being done about the “madman on the loose”. So Harry gives it to the Mayor with the “help” of Lt. Bressler.

Throughout the scene we get a strong introduction to Callahan’s disdain for authority and his preparedness to adopt robust policing methods to get a job done. This is the scene of course where Callahan utters the legendary “butcher’s knife and a hard-on” quote (see below).

Callahan is again called in towards the end of the film, this time to hear that Scorpio has hijacked a school bus with seven kids. Frustrated by the Mayor’s lack of direct action, Callahan tells him to “go get another delivery boy”. Callahan has already decided Scorpio must be take out with or without the City’s approval.

Scene-shot (01:24:32): The splendid San Francisco City Hall as seen in the film when Callahan arrives to hear about the bus hijacking.

STATE OF PLAY TODAY:

Located in the heart of the Civic Center district, City Hall is architecturally stunning and one of San Francisco’s most striking buildings. It’s definitely worth a visit in its own right.

Most of what appears in the film looks exactly the same today – the steps leading up to the main entrance, the main entrance itself, the flagpole on the Mayor’s balcony where Lt. Bressler stood, the Rotunda and Grand Staircase, and most importantly, the large oak doors leading into the Mayor’s office which Callahan is seen opening as he heads in for an urgent meeting.

The Mayor’s office can be found on the second floor of the Rotunda on the opposite side to the Grand Staircase.

A number of films have had scenes shot inside City Hall, but Dirty Harry is apparently the only production ever to be allowed to film inside the Mayor’s chambers. In 1971, Mayor at the time, Joseph Laurence Alioto, granted director Don Siegel use of the chambers during a three-day memorial weekend. I asked permission for a quick look inside but was flatly refused.

 

 

Scene-shot (00:06:39): Inside the Mayor's chambers. Mayor: "All right, let's have it." Callahan: "Have what?" Mayor: "Your report, what have you been doing?" Callahan: "Oh, for the past three quarters of an hour I've been sitting on my ass in your outer office waiting on you."

Scene-shot (00:09:10): Mayor: "I don't want any more trouble like you had last year in the Fillmore District. Understand? That's my policy." Callahan: "Yeah, well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard; that's my policy." Mayor: "Intent? How did you establish that?" Callahan: "When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn't out collecting for the Red Cross."

Scene-shot (01:24:47): With the cameras positioned on the Mayor's balcony where Lt. Bressler is standing, we see Callahan leaving his car and looking up. Hes about to approach the steps of the City Hall's main entrance.

Scene-shot (01:24:48): As Callahan pulls up outside the City Hall for an urgent meeting with the Mayor towards the end of the film, Lt. Bressler is seen on the Mayor's office balcony by the flagpole urgently beckoning him into the building. Note the position of the flagpole and the gold railings are the same today.

Scene-shot (01:25:05): Callahan striding through the City Hall Rotunda towards the Grand Staircase. The Mayor's Office is located oi the second floor opposite the staircase (in this shot Callahan is actually walking underneath it).

Scene-shot (01:25:08): As Callahan passes through the Rotunda the camera positioned at ground level gets good shots of the elaborate ceiling and interior of the dome - the fifth largest in the world.

Scene-shot (01:25:25): Callahan passing through the heavy oak doors leading into the Mayor's Office. The very same doors are still in use today.

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