Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery, Tsuen Wan

The earliest use of the Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery so far on this blog was in 1977's Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon, however, with The Peking Medallion we now have an even earlier date of 1967.

I'll be honest, when I first watched this film and saw this scene I was a bit confused about where it could be due to the complete lack of surrounding development. The views from this place before the onset of massive development in Tsuen Wan were really quite impressive.

regarding the film plot, this is where Stack's recently murdered buddy is being buried (and Stack has put the medallion in the coffin with him), so it's a place that we keep coming back to several times, each one offering a slightly different view/angle. Our first view of it is a huge left to right pan that takes in most of the eastern side of the cemetery.

Then a nice view looking back the other way from the hilltop taking in much of the are we just saw in the pan.

The following screen grab shows us looking back the other way. The hill in the background is actually Tai Mo Shan - Hong Kong's tallest peak - and the shot with the taxi is looking the same way. Yes, that is Elke Sommer. She plays the dead man's wife.

Stack goes back later in the film only to find that the coffin has been exhumed and the medallion has been pinched. The hills in the background of this shot belong to Tsing Yi island.

And a final trip to pick up the hidden medallion, although no big views here, just some real graves that I may have to go and find one day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - Kowloon Wharves, Tsim Sha Tsui

Stack's buddy, who saved him on his speedboat at the beginning of the film, is murdered for the medallion (which he has already given to Stack). The body is found down at the wharves in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Stack's hotel is called the Paloma Hotel but we're not told where it is. However, a quick bit of investigation shows that it is most likely Kimberley Road thanks to the sign on the outside of the building that shows its real name - although it's only at a later point in the film when this is revealed (see the bottom picture). The Luna Building: 月仙樓.

This grand old building doesn't exist anymore and it's replacement, Luna Court, a modern residential unit, was built in 1988. More interestingly is the row of tenements on the other side of the road because a couple of these still stand today at 42-44 and 50-52 Kimberley Road.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - Aberdeen, Hong Kong

After landing the boat and agreeing to go for a quick drink, the pair suddenly materialise in Aberdeen for their trip to the boozer. So this means our fictional Hong Kong seaside village is now an amalgam of Sai Kung, Tuen Mun and Aberdeen. I wonder whose car that was parked on the road?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - Castle Peak Bay, Tuen Mun

In another strange mixing of locations, despite spending 10 minutes zipping around Port Shelter before heading into the dock, the film quickly switches to film the boat coming into the beach at Castle Peak Bay with the original Tai Pak restaurant in the background.

In the film it is supposedly a floating casino owned by a gangster who also wants the medallion.

The restaurant was located right next to the waterfront at Sam Shing Hui - the area was reclaimed, along with a massive portion of the previously picturesque bay, and the Sam Shing Estate now sits on the same area.

Remember that this was the very original Tai Pak - featured in those early films such as The World of Suzie Wong. It was moved from Aberdeen sometime before or in 1962, because by the 1962 release of Heisser Hafen Hongkong, you can see it had already been replaced by the current version still seen in the harbour today.

Look carefully at this end of the restaurant boardwalk and you can see a stone pillar with a white top just centre right. This is the same pillar that can be seen in this photo over on FLICKR. Although the uploader has said it is in Shatin in error.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - Sai Kung, New Territories

Following on from the train fight, we are then introduced to Stack's photographer character who has snuck into Communist China to take surreptitious photos of the locals. He's discovered by soldiers and does a runner. Fortunately for him he runs into a boat owned by the recent medallion stealer and they escape together.In reality though the two escapees aren't in China but just up the road in Sai Kung.

The first shot of the boat looks to have been taken along the coastline very close to the modern day roundabout where Tai Mong Tsai Road meets Sai Sha Road.

The boat then heads out into Port Shelter with Sharp island in the far background and the double humped Cham Tau Chau and Pak Sha Chau.

Also a few shots looking back towards the West Country Park coastline from the eastern side of Sharp Island.

And a couple shots in the same place but this time looking back south towards High Junk peak in the far distance (lower photo far right).

And some final shots of the speedboat as it approaches Sai Kung town to evade the chasing PLA Navy boat. The lower shot is of course looking back out towards Sharp Island.

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - KCR Railtrack, Shatin

One of the best things about this blog is discovering a old films shot in HK that I had no idea about. Just when I think I am coming to the end of my preferred criteria (international film shot on location in HK or Macau) a new one pops up out of the blue. Case in point is this little gem, The Peking Medallion, starring Robert Stack and filmed in 1967. I'd never heard of it before now and even when I ordered it I was under the impression it was another German film due to its title Die Hölle von Macao. It turns out it is a German/Italian/French co-production with Robert Stack in the lead role and a opening/closing credits song sung by Dusty Springfield.

Anyway, despite the German title it turns out to have nothing whatsoever to do with Macau and was largely filmed in Hong Kong with some new locations to go with the usual familiar ones we have seen before. It's quite the potboiler and is about various nefarious parties trying to get hold of a golden medallion that is the key to an emperor's tomb containing riches worth millions.

The film starts with a fight on a train to Shanghai as one of the main characters manages to steal the medallion from its Chinese owner. Despite the train supposedly heading towards Shanghai in Mainland China, the footage used is actually of the KCR train as it runs along the track next to Shatin Hoi. Shatin Hoi was the sea inlet that was reclaimed to create the Shatin New Town.

The top photo is a bit dark but look carefully and you will see the striped buffer of one of the old KCR diesel engines. It's too dark to make out anything more such as the locomotive number.

The next shot is a fake sign erected by the side of the track so that we know we are supposed to be in "Red" China. This and the following pictures suggest this small sequence was filmed somewhere close to just south of today's University Station in Ma Liu Shui (it's only a guess though).

The following images are a bit clearer, certainly enough for me to identify Lion Rock (top left) and Beacon Hill (top centre left). The small island just below Lion Rock is Yuen Chau Kok.

To draw out the opening sequence, some jiggery pokery was done with the film negative and we see the same scene several times but flipped. Case in point is the next shot displayed as seen on film, but in fact you have to flip it to get the proper view. Lion Rock is the hill at the far right hand side of the ridge line, again with Yuen Chau Kok underneath it at sea level.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Chinese Stuntman - Bruce Li (1981) - King's Park Garden, Ho Man Tin

Quite a few of the film's fight scenes were filmed on top of the King's Park covered reservoir garden. I've mentioned this place previously on my other blog because it's the same area that the real Bruce Lee was photographed training in kung fu with his dad and "uncles". You can see some modern images, courtesy of yours truly, at number 1 on this link.

In this film it's the area where Bruce Li/Ho Chung Tao's character trains and seems to always get ambushed, you'd think he would learn after the first couple of times. Anyway, the first two images are of the steps and path way that lead up from the back of Cliff Road and Wing Sing Lane.

The steps and path are still there but the steps now have a green canopy covering them. You can access them , as mentioned, from Cliff Road just off Nathan Road. Later on, there is also a snippet of a training scene that was filmed actually in the rest garden atop the covered reservoir.

 The small white building at the back of the first two images above is the pump house that can still be seen today. There is a close up picture of it on the link I provided earlier, but you can see it here as well.