Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - Castle Peak Bay, Tuen Mun

The I Spy team really did manage to make it to almost all corners of our humble abode, so it's of no surprise to find out that they also made it all the way out to what is now Tuen Mun new town, but in 1965 was still the unreclaimed Castle Peak Bay. This one had me scratching my head for a while because I just couldn't place it. However, despite the blurry glimpse of the mountain (see picture 4 below) there was enough detail for me to think it may be Castle Peak (Chinese name: 青山 Tsing Shan).
Actually, it looks as though this scene was used in two separate episodes: No Exchange on Damaged Merchandise and Carry Me Back to Old Tsing Tao (the latter, if you remember also used nearby Dragon Garden as a location).


I've been informed by a helpful person on Facebook called Vincent that this road is the stretch of Castle Peak Road that currently sits next to Chi Lok Garden. Of course, it is completely changed and unrecognisable now (you can't even see the lower hills in the distance due to development) to the point that it's exact location is impossible to pinpoint and putting a Streetview picture up for comparison will show you nothing but buildings.

However, I do believe that the bit of land we see sticking into the water behind the car in the first picture is the (now landlocked) hill that contains the Sam Shing Temple.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - The Seven Little Fortunes

One of the I Spy episodes seems to have gained a cult following due to it featuring early on-screen appearances by some of those who went on to become the HK film industry heavyweights (an apt description for at least one of them as we shall soon see).

The episode is No Exchange on Damaged Merchandise and features scenes from a festival that as far as I can tell was one of the Annual Tin Hau festival performances put on in Pat Heung (i.e. 8 villages) area near to Yuen Long. There on display is a small troupe of children performing some acrobatics for the camera. here are the grabs.


Now the hard job of identifying them all. They were known as the 7 Little Fortunes (七小福 - Chat Siu Fuk) and all had stage names of course with the surname Yuen (元) Yuen Long was Sammo Hung, Yuen Lou was Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao was...er...Yuen Biao, Yuen Kwai was Corey Yuen. Yuen Wah also, like Yuen Biao, kept his original stage name. There was also Yuen Tak and Yuen Mo and several more as the group expanded, I suspect. I don't really know enough to identify the latter two but here is my attempt at identifying them in the above pictures. Taking the last picture above we can see Sammo Hung on the left, followed by Jackie Chan. I think it is Yuen Wah with the panda-striped face (in the other pictures). Of course the small one with the yellow costume on is Yuen Biao. I can't work out if Corey Yuen is the one being thrown by Sammo or the one standing next to JC?

Corrections welcome, of course.

By the way, just to remind people how long ago this was filmed, Jackie Chan was probably about 11 years old when this was filmed. He turned 63 in 2017!

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - Nathan Road southern end, Kowloon

Moving back to I Spy for this one and a nice sequence from the episode entitled Chrysanthemum. What we have is a view of the side door to the hotel which opens onto Nathan Road (for those who don't know, the main door of the hotel faces south towards Salisbury Rd and the harbour).


Now, there is still a side entrance at this point of the hotel but much has changed since 1965. The doorway now leads into the so-called Peninsula Arcade - basically a shopping mall containing the usual high end shops. In 1965 though, when these episodes were filmed this door entered into the hotel proper. As you can see from the brass plate in the current Streetview below, this is also now the entrance to Gaddi's, which is now situated up the stairs (it used to be on the ground floor). You should also be able to see that along with being turned into a mall, the exterior of the ground floor has also been extensively remodeled so that the shops have external window displays.


A second after the man in the hat follows Culp and Cosby, the camera pans across Nathan Road to the opposite side and we get a quick glimpse of another hotel that has since departed: The Ambassador.


The Ambassador was quite striking courtesy of a large mural on the Nathan Road-facing wall. Gwulo.com has a good closeup here: http://gwulo.com/node/14902. Although I'm unsure when it disappeared - probably when Oterprise Square replaced it (whenever that was, it's build date seems to be eluding me at the moment) - it was built in 1960 and so was only a few years old as we see it above.

Eagle-eyed readers may also have noticed the rather large space standing on the south side of Middle Road (on the other side of the bus in the pic above). This of course is now the Sheraton Hotel, but in 1965 was just a large open car park. The hotel didn't appear until 1973.

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Fei Ngo Shan Road, Kowloon

One of Hong Kong's great roads that provides the best views over Kowloon and beyond (when the smog lifts that is...). It's a big favourite for film makers wanting a vista because it's open to traffic all the way up to Kowloon Peak (Fei Ngo Shan). Although it also starts as either Shatin Pass Road or Jat Incline depending on whereabouts you start the ascent. Well worth a visit. Anyway, here is a few grabs of our love struck couple. The top one shows the bare apron of Kai Tak on the left - everything else is not really defined enough to make out, but you get the idea.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Back Door Club, Lockhart Road

Part of the film revolves around Betty telling her life story to a bartender in somewhere called the "Back Door Club". It's not around anymore and initially I had thought that perhaps these scenes were filmed in a studio, but I don't think they are. Perhaps if anyone remembers going to the place they can either confirm or deny whether it is the actual place.


Anyway, it turns out that the club was located at 42 - 50 Lockhart Road in what looks to be the basement(?) of the building still known as "de Fenwick". The building itself is still around and was built in 1966. It's quite an attractive building.

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Cheung Sha Wan Beach, Lantau

Betty is feeling a bit unloved and so drives off to a beach. It's an impressive feat when you consider the beach is actually on Lantau Island and not easily accessed by car in the mid-70's.


The more eagle-eyed HK film fans out there may recognise this place from another film - albeit one made 30 years later. You can see this beach at the beginning and end of SPL: Sha Po Lang starring Sammo Hung, Simon Yam and Donnie Yen. Dan's location blog has a post about it here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Cornwall Street, Kowloon Tong

Here is an interesting scene, for me at least because I travel up here pretty much everyday. It's a shot looking up Cornwall Street very soon after the road was actually completed.


Cornwall Street now runs from Waterloo Road, all the way up to the Chak On Estate near Tai Wo Ping, however, originally it only ran as far as the lower section of Beacon Hill Road (which for some reason is completely disconnected from the upper part where Betty used to live!) - which is basically where the closest traffic bollard is in the above screen grabs. Even by 1973, just a few years before this film was made, the western end of Cornwall Street had been laid out but the Govt had yet to make the two ends meet across the railway track near the Beacon Hill Tunnel - this is essentially the section we can see above. Look closely and you can see where the bridge over the track is/was.

Of course the bridge is still there even though the track has now been moved, but the old trackway still exists and so the bridge still needs to be there. Anyway, here is a modern comparison and yo can see how much has actually changed. That's where Beacon Hill Road (lower section) starts on the right and marks the initial extent of Cornwall Street before its extension.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Lion Rock Tunnel Road exit ramp, Kowloon

At the end of the film we see Betty wandering aimlessly and for some strange unfathomable reason, walking up the exit ramp towards Lion Rock Tunnel Road. Coincidentally (or not...really), this circular exit ramp that takes traffic just exiting from the tunnel into Kowloon down onto Lung Cheung Road just happens to be situated right next door to where the old TVB studios were on Broadcast Drive. In fact the whole thing sits above what is now known as Broadcast Drive Garden.


On the screen grabs you can see the undulating ridgeline of Beacon Hill in the low background (look closely enough and you might be able to make out the older - now defunct - Civil Aviation Department radar dome).

Had the camera panned to the right you would have seen the old TVB studios. TVB was of course created by Sir Run Run Shaw and the studios were based here on Broadcast Drive from 1967 to 1984 when they moved over to Movietown in Clearwater Bay. All of Bruce's Enjoy Yourself Tonight appearances would have been at these studios on Broadcast Drive. Streetview below.


Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Whitehead Point, Ma On Shan

A long time ago, before the current golf driving range and even before the area was turned into a Vietnamese refugee camp (one of many) there was a quarry at Whitehead Point which was used on many occasions for filming. Nearby is the site of what was the location for the finale of Drunken Master and I also previously posted about this being used in The Young Master.

Anyway, here we see Bruce accepting a challenge from some dude he met in bar and he proceeds to knock seven bells out of the guys and his axe-wielding buddies. As a result we get some really good shots of the Tolo Harbour and Channel areas, including the Plover Cove Reservoir Dam wall.


Above. Looking NW from Whitehead Point. The ridgeline in the background is Wong Leng, along the same ridge that eventually becomes Pat Sin Leng (off camera to the right).

Two views of the point of Ma On Shan in the previous pictures. Below we are looking north east and can see the dam wall. The most striking thing though is the clear air and green hills.


And a look further to the east.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - South Lantau Road, Lantau Island

It's not often that Lantau Island has been seen on this blog (other than the Chi Ma Wan peninsula in Double Impact), but here we see Betty and Bruce (i.e. Danny Lee) walking along the dam wall of Shek Pik Reservoir. There is a road that runs along the top, South Lantau Road according to GoogleEarth. I've yet to go but then again I am yet to go to so many other places as well. One day...


Sadly no Google Streetview for this location - most likely because in order to drive in this section of Lantau Island you need to possess a "Lantau Closed Road Permit" - so, probably not available to drivers of Google cars.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Salisbury Road, Kowloon

In the flashback part of the film (well, I guess that is most of it isn't it) we see a supposedly 'young' Betty trying to cross the road in Kowloon. She's standing at Salisbury Road just a little along from the front of the Sheraton Hotel. This is an area that has changed immensely due to several factors including the reclamation that allowed the New World Centre to built, the Regal Kowloon - which has since become the Intercontinental, the removal of the old KCR terminus, only to be replaced by East TST station.


This of course was in the day when you could actually cross Salisbury Road at ground level. Now it seems to be a futile exercise in pedestrianism (is that even a word?) and instead the subways and underpasses have been designed to take you past as many shops as possible on your travels across the road. Since the road design was changed to allow quicker through traffic to use an underpass, it has also widened significantly. Sometimes I think modern life is complicated just for the sake of it...


There is a quick glimpse back up the road as well. It shows how the area looked before the newer East TST station was constructed. In front of the retaining wall on the front of Signal Hill (the wall is still there, just hidden) was an open space that also contained a children's playground.


In the screen grab above you can see the retaining wall and the trees mark the area where the playground was. When the station was built they used up the whole of that space for the station and stuck a new playground on the roof of the new station building. Thankfully Signal Hill has so far escaped all the surrounding development unscathed. Just the odd bit of obscuring its once open view, but if you fancy a quiet time in TST it is a great place to walk to - especially since the New World Centre was knocked down.


Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - View of Victoria Harbour

Bit of a quickie this one but worth it for the nice late afternoon shot of the harbour on a clear day. Things to note is the reclamation on both sides of the harbour - Wanchai on the north side of HK Island and East TST on Kowloon side. It looks as though this shot was filmed from Lugard Road with the shadow of Victoria Peak at the bottom of the screen. I'm not sure how clear the view is now in terms of tree growth, but I can tell you this kind of visibility is rarely encountered outside of the summer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Kai Tak, Kowloon

Another view of Kai Tak, this time from the south, as a Cathay Pacific plane comes into land. I think the buildings in the background (of the last pic) might be the Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate, only half of which are still standing.

Bruce Lee & I - Betty Ting Pei (1976) - Connaught Road, Central

A brief glimpse but worthy of inclusion because we get a quick look at one of the best buildings to have been torn down in HK ever. The HK Club. The club still exists in name of course but the new building is not a patch on the old one.


I understand the columns from the front door were 'saved' and placed somewhere inside the new building, but I've never been in to confirm it either way. On the positive side, the Cenotaph that can be seen on the right of the picture was recently granted 'Monument' status in HK.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Men of the Dragon - Jared Martin (1974) - Dragon Garden, Castle Peak Road

Just as in Enter the Dragon, Mr Han had his island fortress (in the shape of King Yin Lei and Kau Yi Chau), our evil bad guy in this film played by Dr No himself, Joseph Wiseman, also has an island fortress. In this case Dragon Villa and Garden are used.


The famous pai fong (a Chinese archway) looking towards the domed mausoleum at the back.


Walking past the stone dragon ornament in the garden pond. We also saw the same ornament in I Spy, The Man with the Golden Gun and Noble House (and many more I'm sure).


This is the actual house with its rather nice ornate front doors, and the shot below shows a nice view across the property and looking over towards Ma Wan island and would you believe me if I told you the island in the far left was Hong Kong Island? It's true. You would be hard pressed to get that much visibility in HK at any time other than the summer these days.
 

A closer view below of Joseph Wiseman and Katie Saylor sitting in front of the garden's large domed mausoleum.

And after a blind-folded battle pitting the buddies against each other in some seriously hammed up kung fu swirling of the arms and loud screams, the cavalry arrive, in true Enter the Dragon style and mayhem breaks out.