Friday, September 11, 2015

Codename: Wildgeese - Lewis Collins (1984) - Central Waterfront, Hong Kong

Here's an offering from Italy starring Lewis Collins as an ex-Paratrooper taking on a mercenary contract on behalf of the US govt. Collins, more famous for his role in The Professionals, did actually complete his proper paratrooper training as part of 10 Para (the reserve battalion) in the late 70's and I have a buddy who was in 3 Para at the time who remembers him being there and training.

Anyway, the film spends much of the time in what is supposed to be the Golden Triangle but I suspect is probably either Thailand or the Philippines, interspersed with brief moments over in HK where Collins's bosses (one played by none other than Ernest Borgnine) are safely holed up.

Here is the scene where Collins arrives in HK for the first time via helicopter.

 
The area it's landing on was the helipad on the stone pier that enclosed the dock at HMS Tamar. The dock has subsequently been reclaimed and the new Govt headquarters have been built on the site, so this site is now probably, most likely, where Tamar Park crosses the new Lung Wo Road. The black building in the background is the Great Eagle Centre in Wanchai.

2 comments:

  1. That last shot is one heck of an angle, shot with a very powerful telephoto lens.

    I was initially about to dive in and say "Well, that black building at left is clearly the Great Eagle Centre, which must put the helipad much further east than HMS Tamar". But I didn't remember there ever having been a helipad by the old Wan Chai Ferry Pier, nor did I recognize the red and white striped column, the MTR tunnel vent or the white building that would be just right of the Great Eagle Centre.

    And then I realized that we're looking at this from an angle parallel with the harbor front. A comparison of the relative position of the MTR vent and Hong Kong Exhibition Centre suggests that the angle is such that I don't think it can be shot from dry land -- and of course there would have to be a million lamp posts and other things in the way were it shot from there. I think perhaps it was shot from one of the ferry piers in front of City Hall. (Or was it from a boat, maybe? I don't know if the camera was rock-steady or moving.)

    The white building is actually the old Hong Kong Exhibition Centre that's directly behind Great Eagle Centre. And the latter, incidentally, was brand new (or perhaps even just finishing construction) at the time; it opened in 1983.

    The MTR vent which appears to be right in front of these two buildings is actually a third of a mile away next to Lung King Street. In between, reclamation is complete for the ground on which the first phase of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre would be built, and early construction has started.

    And as for that red-and-white striped column (a signal light, perhaps?), it's attached to a small industrial plant of some kind on the harbour front which appears to have had ramps for shifting bulk material of some kind onto barges. That would have to have been right about where the western end of Expo Drive now meets Convention Avenue, just beween phases 1 and 2 of the HKCEC.

    Also missing is the Fleet Arcade, which should be visible from this angle just to the left of the MTR vent and in front of the red-and-white striped column. It took some digging, but I confirmed that to have been built in 1993 as an extension of the original single-story building on the pier itself. (http://www.hfc.org.hk/filemanager/files/TFHK_06_2012.pdf)

    There's an absolutely spectacular photo of this section of the waterfront right around the time of filming, over at Hong Kong Memory:

    http://www.hkmemory.hk/collections/hkplaces/AllItems/images/201107/t20110723_43476.html

    At far right, the same picture also shows that helipad we talked about a year ago in your Yellowthread Street posts (http://hongkongandmacaufilmstuff.blogspot.com/2014/09/yellowthread-street-tv-series-bruce_12.html), which yet to be built as of 1983, and was just empty landfill.

    There's also a good view showing the side of the Great Eagle Centre and Hong Kong Exhibition Centre on the same site:

    http://www.hkmemory.hk/collections/hkplaces/AllItems/images/201107/t20110722_42669.html

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    1. It occurs to me to say, btw, that the MTR vent itself can't have been more than a few years old, either.

      The MTR had only first opened for business at the start of October 1979, and when it launched ran only from Shek Kip Mei to Kwun Tong. At the end of December '79, it was extended to Tsim Sha Tsui, and in mid-February 1980 to Admiralty and what we now call Central, with the Island stations actually considered part of Kwun Tong line initially.

      In mid-May 1982, the Tsuen Wan line appeared almost overnight. And that, for the MTR, was it when this was filmed. Hong Kong was still getting used to its shiny new mass transit system, trains had only been running under that vent for about three years, and the remainder of the Island Line stations wouldn't open for another 2-3 years, in 1985-86.

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