San Francisco in Cinema: Sudden Fear

2800 Scott Street
Joan Crawford lives in blissful ignorance with new love Jack Palance at 2800 Scott Street in the 1952 nail biting noir thriller Sudden Fear. Joan is a playwright and heiress who meets actor Palance on a train from New York to San Francisco. Everything seems to be going Joan's way until she discovers Jack is trying to bump her off. High strung Joan decides to outsmart him, if she doesn't freak out first. Directed by David Miller. Crawford was observed by Jack Kerouac, who was strolling on Russian Hill one night and came upon Crawford and a film crew shooting scenes at the Tamalpais Building, 1201 Greenwich at Hyde. (Kerouac was living in the attic study of Neal and Carolyn Cassady's place at 29 Russell Street, an alley off Hyde, a few blocks from the Sudden Fear location.) In "Visions of Cody," Kerouac writes of "Joan Rawshanks in the Fog." Through Kerouac's lens, the actress is contemptible. She can "muster up a falsehood for money" before a thousand eyes. The writer also lays open his own role as willing spectator. Kerouac observes, "I had never imagined [a camera crew] going through these great Alexandrian strategies just for the sake of photographing Joan Rawshanks fumbling with her keys at a goggyfoddy door while all traffic halts in real world life only half a block away and everything waits on a whistle blown by a hysterical fool in uniform who suddenly decided the importance of what's going on by some convulsive phenomena in the lower regions of his twitching hips, all manifesting itself in a sudden freezing grimace of idiotic wonder just exactly like the look of the favorite ninny in every B-movie you and I and Cody ever saw..."

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