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Tuesday December 18th 2018

Murder In The First | 1995

Murder in the First location: Bradbury Building, South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles
Murder in the First location: The ‘San Francisco’ law office: Bradbury Building, South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles

Buddy-weepie with idealistic, young, Armani-dressed lawyer James Stamphill (Christian Slater) representing no-hoper Henri Young (Kevin Bacon) and exposing the brutal regime of Alcatraz in the Thirties, while the soundtrack shamelessly rips off Vaughan Williams.

Murder In The First location: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California
Murder In The First location: the one-time escape-proof prison: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California | Photograph: iStockphoto / Nickolay Stanev

The real Alcatraz Island is used for much of the movie, though the dungeon in which Young is incarcerated for three years of solitary darkness was meticulously recreated in the studio. See more of Alcatraz in Michael Bay’s The Rock and, of course, Don Siegel's Escape From Alcatraz, with Clint Eastwood.

The courthouse building is San Francisco City Hall, on Polk Street between McAllister and Grove Streets, familiar from another Eastwood movie, Dirty Harry. Once again the courtroom itself is a studio set.

Stamphill catches the cable car on Hyde Street, where there's a truly great view of San Francisco Bay with Alcatraz Island smack in the centre.

The elegant law office building out of which Stamphill works, though, is in downtown Los Angeles. It's the extraordinary Victorian Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway at Third Street, made famous by its appearance in Blade Runner. It can also be seen in 1949 Douglas Sirk drama Shockproof; Frank Tashlin’s Richard Harris-Doris Day comedy thriller Caprice (as ‘Paris’); Mike NicholsWolf , with Jack Nicholson turning into a werewolf, (as ‘New York’) and, finally, as Los Angeles in both (500) Days Of Summer (it’s the office building where Tom finally attends a job interview) and The Artist (the staircase where George and Peppy encounter each other).