The Third Street stairway is an example of the many unusual Bunker Hill backdrops that noir directors put to use.  The stairway paralleled the Angel’s Flight funicular above Third Street to the top at Olive Street.  These stairs also led to the entrance of the Sunshine Apartments about half way up and to the Hillcrest Hotel which was near the top.


In 1955 director Robert Aldrich used the same stairs for a scene in Kiss Me Deadly.  Altman, though uses composite shots.  In this film sequence Ralph Meeker is seen starting up the stairs from Clay Street, but this is a different stairway located on the other side of the building.  Meeker is then seen on the Third Street stairs where he climbs to the balcony of the the Hillcrest Hotel .

In the film sequence below John Doucette climbs the stairs and enters the Sunshine where Dan Dureya’s gang is planning their heist in 1948’s Criss Cross.  The top balcony as seen in the last frame overhangs the stairs with a view of the city below.


Van Heflen descends the Third Street stairs in an effort to elude the stalking Robert Ryan in 1949’s  Act of Violence.  The scene was shot at night  by director Fred Zinnemann.

Altman seemed to be enamored with Bunker Hill staircases.  In the top left scene Meeker enters the Hilllcrest Hotel after his climb of the Third Street stairs.  He later has a fight and knocks a thug down the Second Street stairs.  At the top right  Meeker is looking for the room of Gaby Rodgers. In the lower right Rodgers descends another long staircase.  Both scenes were filmed inside the Jalisco Hotel on Sixth Street.

Looking down from Olive St.
The Sunshine Apartments are on Clay
Street about halfway up the stairs
The Hillcrest Hotel at the top of the
stairs fronts onto Olive Street.

A woman can be seen walking down the Third Street stairs

adjacent to the Sunshine apartments.

Above:  William Conrad - with coat flapping, runs up the stairs in Cry Of The Hunted, 1953


Below:  William Holden and Alexis Smith walk down the stairs The Turning Point, 1952

End of the stairs


At right: Demolition begins on the Hillcrest Hotel in September of 1961.


At left:  Members of the Redevelopment Commis- sion pose for photos inside what is left of the Hillcrest.

The Third Street Stairs


American Film Noir
American Film Noir