Friday, February 3, 2012

The World of Suzie Wong - William Holden (1960) - Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong

Once again, not the first time and certainly not the last, Aberdeen is the focal point for a scene from a foreign-produced film set in Hong Kong. This was the second time a film here had involved William Holden (he made a trip to the Tai Pak restaurant with Jennifer Jones during Love is a Many-Splendored Thing in 1955).

This time Holden, playing Lomax, accompanies the Kwan (Suzie) to the Tai Pak floating restaurant. It looks a little different to the version of the Tai Pak that is currently still installed in Aberdeen and that's because this one seems to be the original. This is the version that was moved over to Castle Peak Bay sometime after this film was made (circa 1960) before falling victim to the transformation of Castle Peak into Tuen Mun New Town which saw much of the bay reclaimed for housing.


Notice the other restaurants that were around at the time: Sea palace and the Yue Lee Tai - the latter one lesser known, perhaps because it wasn't quite so aesthetically flamboyant. Neither are around anymore although if you read my other blog you will know some remnants linger on. I've heard unconfirmed reports that the Sea Palace was sold and towed to the Philippines or Australia (but probably neither).  The Tai Pak (at least a later version) remains and was integrated into Jumbo Kingdom some time ago.

Anyway, this isn't the only point of interest that we have from this trip because there is also a brief glimpse of another historic place around Aberdeen that still exists - the old Police Station on the hill.


It's the long building on the hillside just to the left of Nancy Kwan's head. These days it's used as a youth centre ("The Warehouse") and of course it is now completely obscured by high-rises along the waterfront.

Another thing to note about the above screen grab is the small hillock sticking out of Holden's right shoulder. This of course is the small headland that housed, and still houses, The Aberdeen Holy Spirit Seminary - a place worthy of it's own blog post at some point down the road. The hill on the right of the shot is actually Brick Hill and is better known these days for having the Ocean Park cable car running up the side of it.

3 comments:

  1. The first time I visited Aberdeen was on October 10th of 1998. When I first saw the Jumbo restaurant off screen, I felt very anxious & nervous. I couldn't believe I was there where so many movies were shot. I remember an old lady offered me a harbour cruise in her husband's old boat...at the time I was on that board my blood pressure was very high...the excitement was so big that I really felt dizzy & anxious.

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    1. hehe, Jesus you actually remember the day you went!? I wish my memory was that good. The Jumbo wasn't opened until about 16 years after this film was made. It was due to open in 1971 but a fire broke out and it sat as a burnt out shell in Aberdeen for several years (in fact, look carefully in Enter the Dragon and you will see the burnt out shell in the background:
      http://hongkongandmacaufilmstuff.blogspot.com/2011/05/enter-dragon-bruce-lee-1973_08.html )

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  2. hehhee..I have good memory to tell what I did 15 years ago but I am not able to tell you what I have for dinner last Friday, for example!!!...
    Thanks for the link!!! I never realised about the Jumbo remains in ETD despite I have seen the movies more than a dozen times!!!

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