Saturday, September 19, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Avenida da Republica, Macau

Here is an obscure one of my stumpers that was finally solved by the inquisitive mind of Gweilo8888. So many thanks to him for pulling this particular rabbit out of the hat. The scene just involved Aussie stunt maestro, Grant Page, riding a bicycle somewhere in Macau - not a particularly interesting shot to be honest but one that interested me because of the Maxim's logo on the shop behind.

In case you don't know, Maxim's is one of the major food companies in Hong Kong and run a variety of eateries large and small in the territory. The chances are that if you have even been for Dim Sum in Hong Kong then it was probably a Maxim's run restaurant that you ate at. The parent company is Dairy Farm (in turn part of the Jardine Matheson empire run by the Keswicks) illustrating in some way the fact that most large companies in HK are run by a very few select family interests (and yet, HK is consistently rated the most free economy in the world HA! what a joke!).

Anyway, I digress, here is the screen grab to remind you.


And here is the result of gweilo8888's endeavours:

I noticed the eighth frame grab has a Maxim's logo, but I'd never heard of that chain extending to Macau. I did a little digging and turned up a still-extant restaurant called Henri's Galley at 4 Avenue da Republica, which as of 1982 was said by Asiaweek to be "formerly known as Maxim's". And indeed, pictures of it today still show the word Maxim's in small lettering: 
https://postmediacanadadotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/macau.jpg?w=660 
Their website says they date back to 1976, but it seems they existed at the same location as just "Maxim's" prior to that date, because they're also listed at "Av. Republica, 4-G e G" in the 1974 "Anuario de Macau", two years before Henri's was said to have been founded. 
Another, earlier entry in Google Books from the 1970 "Papineau's Guide to Hong Kong, and Spotlight on Macau" mentions "...the Top Bar at the Hotel Estoril and — for drinking al fresco — the sidewalk cafes of Maxim's and the Solmar, both on the Rua da Praia Grande", so that's another possible location. 
And yet another book, the 1962 Fodor's Japan and East Asia has the quote "Other acceptable restaurants serving Western or Oriental food are the Solmar, Matilda Esplanada, the Estoril's main dining room, Tamaya and Maxim's" -- so there was a Maxim's in Macau at least a dozen years before this film, but the snippet sadly doesn't give us a street address. 
My guess is that the shot was either of 4, Avenida da Republica or somewhere on what was once called Rua da Praia Grande but is now Avenida da Praia Grande. Either would be on the waterfront, so perhaps the ninth frame grab was right nearby, as well...
Perhaps if you drop them an email (henris@macau.ctm.net) they might be able to tell you whether the frame grab shows their restaurant in the 70s, or what their earlier address was if they did indeed move. The current owner, Raymond Vong, seems to be the son of the founder, Henri Vong, so he'd likely know the history...

Well, it looks like gweilo8888 hit pay dirt because an examination of Google's Streetview image of that address gave me enough consistency to say that it is the same place. Here is the Streetview picture, but note that the Maxims name that is visible on the picture in Gweilo8888's linked picture, has since been removed. Anyway, mystery solved. Many thanks to Gweilo8888.


Update: I paid a visit at the weekend and coincidentally found myself eating at the restaurant next to Henri's. Here's a quick picture.

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