Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Ferry Point Estate, Yau Ma Tei

There is a part of the film when our young couple take a trip on a boat - I'm assuming it's a ferry but the route it takes is perhaps not the most efficient way across the harbour because it ends up at the waterfront in Yau Ma Tei (I guess it could have been the old vehicular ferry). Well, it doesn't matter but one shot does show some buildings that can still be found.

The buildings at the back of this shot are the Ferry Point Estate along Man Cheong St - a street that, as you can see, was once right at the water's edge. The west Kowloon reclamation has put a stop to that and they are now marooned 300 metres inland.

These buildings make up the Ferry Point Estate. All eight of them are called Man...something and were built in stages throughout the 60's - the oldest ones were actually built circa 1964 and the last completed circa 1970. So they were fairly new when this film was made.

Judging from the angle of this shot the boat must have been somewhere off the eastern side of Tsim Sha Tsui - probably the area where the iconic Arch now stands (on solid ground!). The nearest is the Man King Building followed by Man Fai, Man Yiu and finally Man Cheong Buildings. These four are the ones that used to face the water and another four older ones on the right of these facing Ferry St.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Deepwater Bay, Hong Kong Island

At the beginning of the film, after the boys follow the girls from the Castle Peak Hotel, they have a bit of a race along what looks like Castle Peak Road before coming to a stop in...Deepwater Bay - yes, all the way over on the south of HK Island without even using the vehicular ferry to cross the harbour. Ah! the wonders of film reality.

Of course they have just collided their cars and all jump out to see the damage and have a bit of a set to. First we see them driving into a roadside parking area. Actually believe it or not this parking area is still around and there are still trees growing out of the middle of it (can't confirm they are the same ones though).

You see the very steep hill in the background above? Well this is also known as Brick Hill and these days has the Ocean Park cable car going up the side of it.

In the background of the above shot we can see the golf course for the Hong Kong Golf Club - a venerable HK Institution that although only having 9 holes, gets an extra 'hole each day when Li Ka Shing goes and plays his morning round.

In the background of our last screen grab we can see Middle Island, the home of the south island venue of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. To round it all off here is a modern day grab courtesy of Streetview.

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Lung Cheung Road, Kowloon

This scene is the end of the section when he goes to meet his mother and they drive through various parts of Kowloon before pulling in to stop at a sandy quarried hilltop. I can confirm that this sandy little area was just off Lung Cheung Road, about 100 metres west of the famous Lung Cheung Lookout. I live nearby here and have had a jolly good look around and can tell you that although some large boulders remain, the sandy area has long been excavated to make way for various CityU associated dorms and buildings down the hill. However, look at the shot below and you can see the shaved hillside in the background which IS still around and forms the edge of the road immediately north of the aforementioned lookout.

The car almost immediately turns off the road onto the sandy area and this is where the rendezvous between Chin Pei and his onscreen mother takes place. The thing I hadn't realised before is that the famous Checkerboard Hill in the background (you can see a checkerboard at the top of the picture immediately below) actually had two checkerboards. It had one facing south which can still be seen from various parts of Kowloon despite the weather's best attempts (the the Govt's lack of willingness to preserve it) and it also had a west facing one that can be seen in the shots below as well as in this photo over on These days it is almost completely covered in tree growth and thus is out of site (but perhaps better preserved as a result?)

Lion Rock at the back

We can also make out various aspects of Kowloon Tong in the background including the barracks.

The west Checkerboard in the background

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Perth Street, Kowloon

One of the benefits of going back over stuff I did a few years ago is that I have the chance to reassess some of the locations I did then. I do sometimes get stuff wrong and unless I go back or someone points out a mistake they tend to get left up here. Here's a perfect example that I initially put as Ho Man Tin Hill. After reviewing the film in better definition something struck me about the background and it turns out that although I had the angle from the mountain fairly well, I had gone south too far by about 300 metres.

It turns out that the hill that Ching Li runs up after visiting Zhongkang's house used to sit just to the north of King George V school on a plot of land now occupied by the Shun Tak Fraternal Association Seaward Woo College at the end of Perth Street.

A good clue is seeing the south facing checkerboard in the background (above) which gives a general impression of which way we are facing, but the detail I noticed second time around was the presence of the various Chinese-styled buildings of Kowloon Hospital in the background. You can see the ridge of a roof in the centre left background of the picture below and between the actors heads in the second photo below is the distinct shape of what I believe is Block A of the Kowloon Hospital buildings. This means that the building that can be seen behind the actors in both captures below is the precursor to today's The Astrid development. The address now is 180 Argyle Street, but I have no idea if that was changed when the plot was redeveloped.

Further confirmation can be found below when the two turn back to run down the hill and a few buildings seen in the background including St George's Court on Kadoorie Hill (immediately above their heads). In fact you can see some of the houses that line Kadoorie Avenue below it. Also the tall buildings on the left hand side are a development called Mount Trio. Far right is Kowloon Hospital West Wing.