Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Game of Death - Bruce Lee (1978) - Carlton Hotel, Tai Po Road, Kowloon

Here is one that was a bit tricky to place - mainly because it disappeared a while ago and there are only a limited number of snaps in the public domain that it can be compared to. However, I am reasonably confident that I have the right place thanks to the location of Tai Po Road and what looks to be the So Uk Estate in the background.

The Carlton Hotel was demolished sometime at the end of the 1990's and made way for two apartment complexes: Villa Carlton and Monte Carlton, so I guess the name lives on even if the hotel has disappeared.

In case you haven't guessed, in the film the place is supposed to be a mental hospital where Billy Lo's girlfriend is convalescing from the shock of Billy's supposed death. Great view of Kowloon from the hotel garden I think, but sadly no longer there due to so much high rise development in Cheung Sha Wan.

Game of Death - Bruce Lee (1978) - Red Pepper Restaurant, Causeway Bay

I have no idea why this place was chosen for the gangster's HQ in GoD - perhaps because of its Chinese style exterior. Anyway, it is still around and still does a roaring trade (it must do to have survived so long in the face of ever increasing rents). I've never been but you can find it on Google Streetview if you head over to Lan Fong Road.

The film was engineered for the restaurant to have several floors so that the editors could crowbar Bruce Lee's pagoda footage into the part of the film when his character supposedly makes an assault on the place.

The Protector - Jackie Chan (1985) - Former Victoria Barracks, Central

I have Pete Spurrier to thank for this one because he is the one who first suggested that this building was part of the former Victoria Barracks (as opposed to Central Police Station where I initially thought it could be) - sure enough old photos confirm the same buildings and if you look closely at the film you can see a large D painted onto the side of what I assume is this same building.

The D is a red herring because the actual letter given to this block was B. I have no idea why it was later replaced with a D (which referred to a different much smaller block that once served as the HQ of the Brigade of Gurkhas. Anyway, Blocks A through E, all built in the 1860's, were all demolished to make way for Hong Kong Park.

They looked like pretty cool buildings and it's a shame these ones have gone. Of course though several other former barrack blocks do still exist inside HK Park and are being used for multiple purposes.

Here is an older view of the block courtesy of the HK Public Records Office. Taken from the same angle as it was filmed, more or less.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Project A - Jackie Chan (1983) - Sunny Bay, Lantau Island

These days it's the location of an MTR station which gets tourists to nearby Disneyland, but in 1983 it was the location used for a scene when Sammo Hung leads the gangsters to his cache of hidden guns only to find that JC has beaten him to it - leading to a bit of a set to with the odd evil henchman.

The landscape has changed significantly thanks to the MTR station and Lantau Link road which takes drivers to the airport (oh yes and the Airport express train that also thunders by) but the background ridge lines remain, as do the odd wooden poles sticking up out of the water.

Here are the grabs...

Now, for those JC fans who are heading into HK via the airport soon and head into the city either via the train, bus of taxi, keep looking on your left hand side and you will eventually see a small bay with some poles sticking up out of the water (no, I have no idea what they are for) - this is Sunny Bay (Yam O Wan). Here is a modern day snap courtesy of the ever-reliable Streetview.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Game of Death - Bruce Lee (1978) - Lou Lim Ieoc Garden, Macau

Billy Lo follows the gangsters to Macau and to their palatial retreat which is actually Lou Lim Leoc Garden. We see the main gate and inside the grounds as Billy tries to kill the bossman but is thwarted because he's actually as crap at fighting as Bob Wall is.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Enter The Dragon - Bruce Lee (1973) - Ho Sheung Heung, Sheung Shui

This is the location used by Bruce Lee for the initial scenes in Enter The Dragon when he fights Sammo Hung.

Those who have read previous versions of my blog will know that the discovery of this 'lost' location was made by my good self as a result of a request from John Little to try and track it down for his In Pursuit of the Dragon documentary. Sadly, it took me too long to find to be included in the final release (it eventually took me two months to track down) but at least Lee fans know that this place still exists and isn't covered by a shopping mall. Sadly, the exact location is unreachable due to the fact that it is buried under 40 years of nature, but perhaps one day a joss stick burning idiot will be paying his/her respects to nearby graves and set the place on fire - it happens a lot more than it should.

This whole area was popular with film makers and many Shaw films were also filmed here and nearby.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Man with the Golden Gun - Roger Moore (1974) - Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

An errata and, in fact, even a myth buster. The Man With the Golden Gun was one of the first films I covered on this blog. It has some great locations featured and unfortunately my initial posts utilised screencaps from a not-so-great-quality VCD.

I've updated them just recently with better quality DVD caps (catch them all here) and taken the opportunity to include a couple of places I missed the first time round. However, whilst going over this Bottoms Up post I noticed a glaring error in my location hunting - swayed as I was somewhat by the famous club's last location on Hankow Road.

On revisiting the screencaps I noticed that the club, in the film, wasn't on Hankow Road at all but actually on Hanoi Road. Now, whether the club entrance on film was the real club or a mock up is not really important (the interiors were filmed on stage back in the UK), what is clear is that we are looking at Hanoi Road and not Hankow as I had originally thought. Anyway, here is the post with some better quality screencaps.

The key to identifying this as Hanoi Road is the presence of the Kam Lung Company in the first shot, as well as one of the famous (now removed) trees that used to line the road.

Hanoi Road tree on the left

Project A - Jackie Chan (1983) - Devils Peak Fort, Lei Yue Mun

On the hill in the far eastern part of Kowloon is Lei Yue Mun a small settlement that ,marks the last bastion of undeveloped coastline in urban Kowloon. Geographically it is the closest point between Kowloon and Hong Kong island and as such marks the easternmost entrance into the harbour. It's proximity to the Island is underlined by the fact that in 1941 during the Japanese Invasion, this part of Kowloon was the last to be abandoned by Indian troops as they fought a rearguard action against the oncoming Imperial Army.

Devil's Peak - the hill which sits above Lei Yue Mun - has always been militarily significant and as such has had some sort of outpost on it ever since people were living here. Even before the British came along and built a concrete fortress up there, it was used by pirates as a lookout post simply because it offered a great eastern view out to see and incoming ships could be seen many miles away.

This latter fact doesn't seem top have escaped Jackie Chan when he used it as the pirates lookout in Project A. Here is a grab of the pirates looking out of the windows of the old fort.

Anyone who has hiked up here should be able to recognise the slanted viewing ports that line the fort wall on the eastern side of Devil's Peak. Here is a shot I took a few years ago (now you know how long I have been putting this stuff off for) albeit taken from the other end looking back towards where the camera was positioned.

Project A - Jackie Chan (1983) - Former Victoria Barracks, Central

On the site where Hong Kong Park now sits there used to be a large British Army barracks called Victoria Barracks. Some of the old blocks still exist and are being used for other purposes, but blocks A to E that used to be on the hillside have since been demolished and have been used by JC a couple of times. The first time was in Project A,  one of the blocks - Block A to be precise - had a false front staircase fitted to it and stood in for the Marine Police HQ. Notice the pattern of the archways, from bottom to top we have a small arch and bigger arch and then a square opening to the upper floor verandah - this design was very specific to the barrack blocks at Victoria Barracks.

It's interesting to note that on both of JC's Project A films (part 1 and 2) neither time has he used the actual Former Marine Police HQ to represent the Marine Police HQ, because in part 2 he used the old barrack buildings over at the Lei Yue Mun holiday camp.

Anyway, in case you are wondering what the building used to look like without the decoration, here is a shot taken from the other end of the parade ground/car park courtesy of the HK Public Records Office.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Project A - Jackie Chan (1983) - Carmel Church, Taipa, Macau

Just after this scene, JC and girlfriend are still running from the guys on bikes, only in reality they have filmed this bit back up at the top of Monte Dos Amores in the courtyard of the Carmel Church - instantly recognisable by its large stone cross as seen below.

The cross is still there, and of course so is the church although along with the rest of Macau it's been given a nice fresh lick of paint. Here's a recent snap taken on my last trip at Lunar New Year looking towards the Biblioteca in the background.

 Of course, after JC has vaulted the wall he makes a tremendous effort to lead his GF - Isabella Wong - down and over the rest of the stairway only to look back and see she is still stuck at the top. The staircase is of course right next to the stone cross and it does lead down the hill - it's still there and it too has been given a bit of a facelift.

Yes, that is the bell tower of the Carmel Church behind Isabella Wong. Notice the curved bits of concrete at the bottom of the picture? Well, these are just a bit of decoration that cover the small slope leading up to the church - I believe the place is actually a small park but its name eludes me at the moment.

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing - William Holden (1955) - Wong Ma Kok Road, Stanley

There is a famous beach scene in this film that I will get to next, but before I do here is the sequence just prior to it as the couple drive along Wong Ma Kok Road in Stanley and park the car. Stanley Bay and the Mary Knoll building on the hill are noticeable as well as the small row of houses along the beachfront (bottom left of top screen grab) which are still around and probably known to anyone who has strayed far enough away from Stanley Market.

Notice the small single-storey structure (with red doors) seen in the first and second screen grabs? In case it's a bit difficult to see I've highlight it below. This is still around and is currently marked on maps as Block 6-7 of College House at nearby St Stephen's College (a very famous local school). I have no idea what it is used for now - perhaps storage - but the old chimney is still visible. Below is a recent Streetview of the same building.