Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Man Buildings in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

There is a part of the film when our young couple take a trip on a boat - assuming it's a ferry but the route it takes is perhaps not the most efficient way across the harbour because it ends up at the waterfront in Yau Ma Tei (I guess it could have been the old vehicular ferry). Well, it doesn't matter but one shot does show some buildings that can still be found.

The buildings at the back of this shot are fairly iconic ones along Man Cheong St - a street that, as you can see, was once right at the water's edge. The west Kowloon reclamation has put a stop to that and they are now marooned 300 metres inland.

These buildings, all called Man...something and numbering 8 in total, were built in stages throughout the 60's - the oldest ones were actually built circa 1964 and the last completed circa 1970. So they were fairly new when this film was made.

Judging from the angle of this shot the boat must have been somewhere off the eastern side of Tsim Sha Tsui - probably the area where the iconic Arch now stands (on solid ground!). The nearest is the Man King Building followed by Man Fai, Man Yiu and finally Man Cheong Buildings. These four are the ones that used to face the water and another four older ones on the right of these facing Ferry St.

Here is a more recent picture courtesy of hmachan on Panoramio.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Deepwater Bay, Hong Kong Island

More Deepwater Bay and speaking of Brick Hill, as we just were, once the gang have settled their car collission differences they all go for a picnic. In this case the location isn't too far away from where they parked their cars because once again we can see Brick Hill in the background.



Of course this whole area has been redeveloped significantly, not only with Ocean Park occupying most of the area on and around the bottom of Brick Hill but also with private houses being built as well as the Hong Kong Country Club. The immediate coast area doesn't seem to have been affected and there are still some rocky places near to where this would have been filmed. To get there these days you would need to find an convenient exit point along the Mills & Chung Path (i.e. one that doesn't involve too great a drop) and walk back along the shoreline.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Deepwater Bay, Hong Kong Island

At the beginning of the film, after the boys follow the girls from the Castle Peak Hotel, they have a bit of a race along what looks like Castle Peak Road before coming to a stop in...Deepwater Bay - yes, all the way over on the south of HK Island without even using the vehicular ferry to cross the harbour. Ah! the wonders of film reality.

Of course they have just collided their cars and all jump out to see the damage and have a bit of a set to. First we see them driving into a roadside parking area. Actually believe it or not this parking area is still around and there are still trees growing out of the middle of it (can't confirm they are the same ones though).



You see the very steep hill in the background above? Well this is also known as Brick Hill and these days has the Ocean Park cable car going up the side of it.



In the background of the above shot we can see the golf course for the Hong Kong Golf Club - a venerable HK Institution that although only having 9 holes, gets an extra 'hole each day when Li Ka Shing goes and plays his morning round.


In the background of our last screen grab we can see Middle Island, the home of the south island venue of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. To round it all off here is a modern day grab courtesy of Streetview.

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Lung Cheung Road, Kowloon

Speaking of the checkerboard as we just were, here is another scene from the film where it is featured. This scene is the end of the section when he goes to meet his mother and they drive through various parts of Kowloon before pulling in to stop at a sandy quarried hilltop. I initially thought this location was where Shek Kip Mei reservoir currently sits (below the Chak On Estate) however, after consulting an aerial photo from 1972(ish) I can confirm that this sandy little area was a little more to the east - a little bit nearer to the area now occupied by the Lung Cheung Lookout.

The giveaway in this instance is this shot of the cars approach along Lung Cheung Road. The shaved hillside in the background in still around and forms the edge of the road immediately north of the aforementioned lookout.

The car almost immediately turns off the road onto the sandy area and this is where the rendezvous between Chin Pei and his onscreen mother takes place.




Again, another clear view across north Kowloon to the checkerboard (above) and another nice clear and impossible-to-replicate-today shot showing how lush it also used to be (below). That whole green area in the background is now occupied by the northern part of Yau Yat Chuen, City University and the Festival Walk shopping mall.

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Ho Man Tin Hill, Kowloon

Back in the 1970's, Kowloon was still fairly hilly and rocky. It still is hilly in parts but it's hard to see so far when you have tall buildings obscuring the view. There is a scene in Sunset when our two protagonists run up a nearby hill and have a bit of a set to.


Look carefully in the background in the above screen-grab and you will see a still-familiar sight in the form of the Kowloon Tsai Park Checkboard. Can you see it?




That's Lion Rock immediately behind it which means this scene was filmed on top of Ho Man Tin Hill. The hill still exists and has a reservoir on the peak. It's also one of the best 'free' views over Kowloon. I'll go soon and get some photos (on a day when it's clear that is). Make a note of that checkerboard because it crops up in the background in another scene.