Sunday, 12 June 2011

Enter The Dragon - Bruce Lee (1973) - Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong

Okay, I am repeating myself here a bit because I quickly covered Aberdeen Harbour for Enter the Dragon in this post - however, that post was merely to point out the fact that the film makers inadvertently captured the burnt out wreck of Jumbo Floating Restaurant Mark 1 (mark 2 - the current version - actually opened in 1976).

Of course the Aberdeen scene in Enter is quite crucial because it's where all the fighters board the junk bound for Han's Island. There are two shots in particular I would like to show you, the first taken when Bruce is sitting at the front of the sampan getting rowed to the junk. You need to look at the hillside on the right hand side to see what is the Old Aberdeen Police Station.


Believe it or not this building still exists and after several incarnations and usages it now seems to be some sort of youth centre called "The Warehouse". I wrote an article for Time Out Hong Kong a few months ago and needed a comparison shot, so out of the kindness of his own heart Thomas Ngan provided me with one. As you should be able to see the amount of development in Aberdeen has been considerable - not surprising considering the Govt had to rehouse several thousand boat-dwellers over the past couple of decades. Anyway, trust me when I tell you the Old Police Station is still there, just hidden behind those block you can see on the opposite side of the harbour (in fact behind the brown highrise that i sitting above the two side-by-side boats on the water).

Photo courtesy of Thomas Ngan

The next shot was taken - I believe - from one of the tall buildings that line the Aberdeen Praya Road i.e. the road in front of the aforementioned Police Station. It shows a great view of the whole harbour from 1973 in which we can see several points of interest.


The first is the power station in the background on Ap Lei Chau. This was HK Electrics power station, it was diesel-powered (see Thomas's comment below) and sat on the spot for quite some time before the powers-that-be decided to shift it over to Lamma Island and ruin the natural scenery over there instead. The site was then used for the development of what is now called South Horizons. Yes, if you live in South Horizons you are sitting on the site of an old power station. Don't worry, I'm sure they decontaminated the earth before they built it :-)

9 comments:

  1. Hi Phil,

    The Apleichau Power Plant used to run on Diesel. The Phase III or even Phase IV of the South Horizons used to be the fuel Depot of the plant.

    Best Regards,
    Thomas Ngan

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  2. Hi Thomas - welcome to my new blog :-)

    Thanks for the additional information - and for the photo ;-)

    Cheers, Phil

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  3. Hey Phil, in regard to the long shot (3rd picture) and where it was filmed from. I'm not 100% sure but from Bob Clouse's book 'The Making Of Enter The Dragon' he did write the following:-

    "I had selected the rooftop of a 20-story building for a high angle to show the the junk making its way through the maze of boats"

    Mr. Clouse then goes on to reveal how he nearly got thrown from the building by the chinese script man, after shouting "god damn Chinese" when a crew member of the junk ruined the big shot. Big thanks to Chaplin Chang & Andre Morgan who intercepted the guy and saved the day. I guess Bob was lucky Bruce was not up there. I think he would have side-kicked Clouse into the Aberdeen harbour lol.

    From memory I can only think of the one high angle shot from the Aberdeen section of the movie. Hope this info helps. 'The Making Of Enter The Dragon' is defo worth a read if you can find one. Was printed way back in 1987.

    All the best,

    AP

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  4. Hi AP

    It's a long time since I clasped my eyes on that book, my schoolfriend had a copy (probably around '89)and although I read it I have no recollection. To be honest my interest in the film at the time wasn't as great as it is now.

    With regards to the high angle - now that you mention it I have gone back and tried to line up something similar on GoogleEarth and the angle does indeed look more likely to have been from Aberdeen Praya Road direction - so many thanks for the correction, I'll amend the post.

    I wonder if it was taken from the top of the brown high-rise I mentioned in the post?

    I'll have to track down some older Aberdeen snaps and see what buildings were around at the time.

    Many thanks
    Phil

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  5. Hi Phil, I think you might have caught the high rise we are hunting for in your screen cap of the tai pak from Flatfoot in Hong Kong.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/acstudio/4175203523/in/pool-1955246@N23/

    Can't spot the high rise in this pic from 1969. We know it was there in 1975, but was it there in 73?

    http://www.cardcow.com/335043/birds-eye-view-aberdeen-harbor-hong-kong-china/

    Check out this postcard from a 1970s. Can see the brown /yellow high rise clearly. Is the white high rise to the left of it the one caught in the ETD shot? Love this picture my the way.

    Hope this helps,

    AP

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  6. Hi AP - It looks as though the yellow high-rise was the one at the far right in the screen grabs from ETD. The white high-rise looks to be a new addition since ETD was filmed - if you look closely at the postcard you can see it sits almost directly in front of the old police station. In fact, it looks as though the lower-rise building directly behind the junk on the ETD shot is the one that sits to the right of the new building in your postcard.

    Nice find.

    Many thanks
    Phil

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  7. Oops! I meant to say that I think it's the yellow one that they filmed from. It looks to be the only possible place around there that was high enough.

    Phil

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  8. Hey Phil, I'm back again ha ha. Found what I think is a better picture without the big white high rise to the left of the yellow one.

    http://www.cardcow.com/images/set412/card00532_fr.jpg

    I think the building seen on the right of the high angle shot is the one far left of this new picture. That's some wide angle lens they where using. I think we've nailed it. I'll let you try and put a name to the buildings if you can.

    The yellow high rise would have been a no-brainer when Clouse wanted a high angle shot. What about this 20 story high rise here boss. One more ETD mystery solved.

    All the best,

    Antony

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  9. You keep finding some really nice snaps.
    Hey Antony - Okay, so the building we are talking about is called "Aberdeen Harbour Mansion" (52 - 64 Aberdeen Praya Rd) and was built circa 1971/72, so it was pretty much a brand new building when the film team went up there for their high angle shot.

    I was wondering if I could get up there again and repeat the angle but it looks as though the building next door (called Hoi Fai building) is slightly taller and now blocks the angle we would want.

    Might still be worth having a peek anyway. I'll let you know if I get over there at some point :-)

    Cheers
    Phil

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