Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Yau Kung Tong, Yuen Long

Here's another place that has cropped up before. Last time we saw it on this blog it was the building where young Bruce Lee learns his kung fu. In Shadow of China it is just a meeting place for John Lone's character and his mainland Chinese contact (played by Kenneth Tsang). The last view on Streetview (see the Dragon link above) shows that the external wall had been demolished.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cracker: White Ghost - Robbie Coltrane (1996) - 31 Barker Road, The Peak

As mentioned previously, #31 Barker Road was used a few years after it was last seen on Shadow of China. For those who remember watching Cracker: White Ghost there is the scene when Fitz and crew head to speak to a rather forthright gweilo businessman played by David Bradley. Bradley will be familiar to anyone who has seen him as Mr Filch in the Harry Potter films and is currently most well-known for his role as Abraham Setrakian in The Strain.

The building behind Robbie Coltrane (another Harry Potter connection there) in the lower photo is Barker Villa at #41 Barker Road.

The driveway is fairly recognisable but it looks like the house underwent some ill-advised cladding work since Shadow of China was filmed there, or perhaps the stucco was removed to reveal the brick underneath? Whichever it was I don't think it enhanced the look. You can compare the two shots below to see how the place changed in the space of a few years.

Shadow of China
Cracker: White Ghost

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - 31 Barker Road, The Peak

The second property used for Henry's house is #31 Barker Road. This one was a real stumper for me because it has since been completely redeveloped. In the end I had to go back to the source and ask for help from Neil himself (the location manager on the film).

The house stood on a raised terrace like many other properties that are situated on the slopes of Victoria Peak and had a rather impressive sweeping driveway that curves to the front of the house from Barker Road. The driveway looked familiar to me because it was also used on another of Neil's productions a few years later (post to follow).

The site has since been completely redeveloped and it looks as though four separate houses now occupy the same site. The driveway is still there but the wall along its edge has been replaced by something a bit more modern.

For those interested in a different view of the house,you can see it in the centre left of this photo on FLICKR.

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - 11 Pollock's Path, The Peak

The production used two separate properties to portray Henry's house. The other one will follow in a later post but first we see this shot of Henry by his pool and its rather impressive view over the harbour. he's so high I initially thought this might have been filmed at the top of a high rise until a bit of triangulation with the various angles on the surrounding buildings revealed it to be the pool found at 11 Pollock's Path. The pool is still there and can be seen as part of what is marked on the maps as House B1.

A quick google search reveals that this is currently on the market (for sale or rent). If you want to buy it it is going to set you back the tidy sum of HK$268M (US$33.5M) or if you don't want a long term commitment you can rent the place for HK$200K per month. You can check out the details on the Landscope Christies website here. The swimming pool can be seen at the end of the gallery pictures. It doesn't look as though it has changed since filming.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui

One of the incidents Neil recalls in his earlier comments was that Typhoon Brenda blew in from the Philippines and completely destroyed an office set that had been constructed on top of Ocean Terminal - at the extreme far end of the car park. The set was Henry Wong's (John Lone) office and here are the screen grabs.

If you read the wiki entry on the typhoon you'll see it was the same one held responsible for the strong winds that downed a helicopter - killing 5 people - on the set of Chuck Norris' Delta Force 2 that was shooting in the Philippines at the time.

L'Inconnue de Hong Kong - Dalida (1963) - Chungking Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui

Another good spot from Thomas who was able to read the Chinese writing on the front of the building (樂聲牌陳列室) and determine that it was the "National Appliances" showroom. He was able to confirm from the current company website that they opened up a new showroom in Chungking Mansions in 1962 and it certainly does look as though this particular screen shot from the film was taken right at the main entrance. Chungking Mansions had opened in 1961 (back then it was a rather upmarket residential development - a far cry from its current reputation as cheap hostel complex), the National Appliance showroom opened in 1962 and then this film was shot in 1963.

You can look at the modern day Streetview for a comparison.

Anyway, once more a great find by Thomas so many thanks to him.

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Former Marine Police HQ, Tsim Sha Tsui

After leaving his stuff at the nightclub, Akira returns to his hotel. It turns out that the exterior of the former Marine Police HQ (now Hullet House) stood in for the hotel complete with fake neon sign stuck on the front.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Percival Street, Causeway Bay

One of the night scenes involving the party tram gives us a nice view up Percival Street from its junction with Hennessy Road. It's a bit difficult to see the tram lines in the screen grabs (I can only see the one that turns east along Hennessy in these) but a quick comparison with a daytime screen grab taken around the same time (courtesy of Yellowthread Street) allows us to match up many of the overhead shops signs.

Note that this was before the pedestrian bridge (crossing Hennessy Road) was built on what would be the left hand side of these screen grabs. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Flagstaff House, Hong Kong Park

We've seen this place a couple of times on this blog now, first was as the residence of Emmanuelle and her husband in Emmanuelle 2, then not so long ago Vivian Wu was doing a photo shoot here for The Pillow Book. Well, it turns out that The Pillow Book wasn't the first time Vivian had made a film here because she turns up with Akira to witness her old refugee buddy throwing a large garden party in the groundsof the rather splendid old house.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

L'Inconnue de Hong Kong - Dalida (1963) - Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon City

Another great find thanks to Thomas. I was curious to find out where the following corner shophouse was located. It is briefly glimpsed in the film as the two women are catching a taxi ride from the airport back to their intended place of work. It's a brief glimpse that lasts only a couple of seconds. here is a couple of screen grabs.

Of particular interest for me was this rather elegant corner building with its open balconies. Anyway, it turns out there was enough information on screen to make a positive identification - largely courtesy of the building just to the left of the lamp post in the first picture.

Thomas was able to identify the place as a branch of the Liu Chong Hing Bank (廖創興銀行). It's not easy to see but the English name is also evident on the building as is the words "Kowloon City Branch". With this in mind Thomas asked a friend who lived there if he knew anything. Luckily his friend's mother-in-law remember the shop next to the bank. Thomas highlighted it below on another screencap.

The shop was called 煥更陳 and was along Prince Edward Road West near the junction with Nam Kok Road in Kowloon City. What a great find, but what is perhaps even more astonishing is that the building containing the aforementioned shop is still around. And what's more, it still has the same square patterned window frames! Here is the Streetview,

Sadly the corner building with the "Amoy" sign on it has now gone - but part of it was still in-situ until only just recently as you can see in the Streetview picture. Although the corner section of the block was demolished some time ago (around 1966) the section immediately next to it remained. Chow Tai Fook were the last company in there and you can see their shop in the Streetview picture above. Below is a closeup showing how the newer corner section (left side) was separated from the older bit on the right.

At the top of the right hand section you can see that the art deco/ziggurat style roof decoration (you can see it in the black and white screencaps) was left up there - albeit chopped in half when they demolished the corner section to the left. Sadly, as confirmed by Thomas who visited the site the other day, the whole block has now been demolished and is being replaced by a high rise.

So anyway, a very big thank you to Thomas who has, once again, gone above and beyond the call of duty to track this one down. 

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Fanling Babies Home, Fanling

I have my good friend and fellow film locations buff, Andi, to thank for the following location. Without his earlier post on the place (where he shows it to have been used in countless old HK movies) I wouldn't have recognised it. So many thanks to Andi for his dedication to sniffing out these obscure old sites. As you can see from Andi's own post, the place has long since been demolished (1992) and turned into an industrial warehouse called "World Trade Square".

In Shadow of China it is where Vivian Wu (last seen on this blog for The Pillow Book) earns her crust as a caberet singer.

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Shaw Movietown, Clearwater Bay

Whilst we are getting rid of some old Bruce Lee and I locations, here is one that everyone should recognise: it's the old Movietown studios. The film was, after all, a Shaw production so it makes sense they would have used their studios for filming. The view in the top and bottom pictures is looking roughly NW towards Buffalo Hill (which can be seen in the distance). I'm not sure if these buildings are still standing as it is hard to tell from GoogleEarth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Shadow of China - John Lone (1989) - Kowloon Walled City, Kowloon City

Akira has obviously lost his way because in the very next shot (after walking past what looks like the southern part of Kai Tak) he can be seen walking down the western edge of the "walled city" back in the direction of the airport. This area has now become Carpenter Road Park with the Kowloon Walled City Park occupying the old space of those famous ramshackle tenements.

You may recognise this area as the same one where Madonna was with Sean Penn a few years earlier.

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Club Shangri-La, Hankow Road

A long standing mystery has just been solved courtesy of a picture from the always excellent image feed of FLICKR user HT Wong. Whilst tracking down locations for the (admittedly, abysmal) film, Bruce Lee and I, one of them caused a bit of confusion. The location was somewhere called "Club Shangri-La" and the club logo (and Chinese name) was the same as the Shangri-La Hotel chain run by the Kuok family.

The problem was that although the hotel chain had already been established in Singapore in the early 70's, it had yet to open anywhere in Hong Kong. This ruled out the location being part of the proper hotel chain itself but gave no clues as to what the place was. Anyway, after a long wait for more information to appear, it turns out that there was indeed a Club Shangri-La and its sign can be seen in HT Wong's picture of Hankow Road in Tsim Sha Tsui right here.

This is the part of Hankow Road that is to the north of Peking Road. Peking Road is the bit at the bottom of the frame. Pretty much all of the visible buildings in that picture have been redeveloped, but it looks as though the club was located in the basement of the precursor to the Hong Kong Pacific Centre.

I think some of gweilo8888's observations from his research are worth preserving because it's quite possible one of the companies he mentioned in his original comments were behind the club. Here's what he had to say:
...Clearly from the identical font, if there *was* a bar / club / lounge of some kind before the hotel, it would have to be run by a related company. Although the hotel didn't exist as far back as the 1970s, related companies not surprisingly did. (They'd have had to exist in some form before design and construction of the hotel property started, of course.)
The earliest record I could find in the companies registry was for Shangri-La Hotel (Hong Kong) Limited aka 香格里拉酒店[香港]有限公司 (15-Aug-1972). The company itself still exists, but as of 04-Jun-1996 it had become Auto Plaza Limited. That's probably our best candidate. 
Our second-best choice would be Shangri-La Trading Limited aka 香格里拉貿易有限公司 (19-Apr-1974). They never changed name, so I can't definitively connect them to the hotel group -- it could just be a coincidentally-similar name -- and they've long since ceased business.
Anyway, here are the screen grabs.

That's Ho Pak-kwong as the doorman

It's also possible that the company responsible for this club was using the hotel name in a blatant case of trademark infringement. If so, then once the hotel was made aware I am sure the club changed name or closed down. If anyone remembers it, please feel free to chime in.