Monday, December 17, 2012

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - New Clearwater Bay Road, Kowloon

Just a fleeting glimpse but it's there nonetheless as Chow and Sylvia drive away on Chow's moped.

The last couple of pics show - just - the flyover of the New Clearwater Bay Road (which these guys are steaming along) - which isn't so new anymore because it was built in 1980. Just ahead on the right hand side of the road is a small turnoff which marks the place where the New CWB Rd joins with the original CWB Rd.Once again a more recent picture courtesy of the ever-great Streetview.

I'm not sure where the camera would have to be in order to get the angle Johnnie To achieved for this shot, but I suspect it may have been somewhere on the side of Fei Ngo Shan - Kowloon Peak - which is to the immediate right of the road.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friends - David Chiang (1973) - To Kwa Wan Road, Kowloon

In a scene where Fu Sheng is conspiring to get money for Chiang's artwork, we see him and his buddy crossing a rather busy road somewhere.

The giveaway in this shot ended up being the small gasometer's in the background. Thanks to fact that China Gas still has a site (although these small little gasometer's have been replaced by something much larger) at this very location along To Kwa Wan Road. Here are the screen grabs.

Okay, now you see the small gasometers in the background. But what about the building centre screen at the back? Well, this building is at 112-116 To Kwa Wan Road and is actually the end of a large development that was created in the early sixties, with about a dozen very short roads all backing onto Mok Cheong Street. As you'll see in my Streetview grab below, these roads (and that building) hasn't really changed much.
The part of the building that we can see was actually opened in March of 1961 and hasn't really changed that much. Check it out, it's the distant building just right of centre.

Anyway, continuing with the screen grabs we see Fu Sheng and friend crossing to the other side of the road and they eventually stop by the building there at 100 To Kwa Wan Road. Now, it has had a little bit of work done to its facade but actually this building is still around.

The vehicular entrance has been removed but the ground floor windows and first floor window shades (I mean the concrete wings that jut out from each window place) are still there. These are actually a very common feature of many 50's and 60's built buildings in HK. I kinda like 'em.

Anyway, To Kwa Wan is just one of those areas that has changed vastly in the past few years so I'm quite pleased to have been able to find this location looking fairly similar (at least recognisable) to its 1973 form.

Afew other things worth noting on the film shots were the old Airport sign (Kai Tak was loacted a short distance up this road), also the red/white circular bus stop signs. It may be hard for non-HK'ers to believe but these signs are still used extensively all over the territory. Finally, you can just about see the bottom of an old red 7-Up sign in the top set of pictures.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Anderson Road Quarry

This is the place where Chow's character - Ah Long - works. It's such a prominent landmark in far eastern end of New Kowloon that I am sure it will crop up again and again as we look at more and more films. Anyway, here are the screen shots.

The quarry is soon to be the target of a beautification project. First quarried in the mid-60's (1964 - I think?) the place is considered to be one of Kowloon's major eyesores (along with all those too-high skyscrapers) and plans are afoot to green it as well as perhaps get a housing project underway there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Friends - David Chiang (1973) - Kent Road, Kowloon Tong

Tricky one to spot this one but now I am living in the vicinity I managed to recognise some of the buildings that are still around.

The scene in Friends is when everyone heads over to Fu Sheng's house to pick him up in their jeep. The house itself I haven't yet found out (could be the same area, could be somewhere else - this is film after all) but as they drive away we get a shot of some buildings in the background that are actually fronting onto Cornwall Street. Here is the screen grab.

The building with the red trim is Hillsea Court at #10 Cornwall Street. Just to the left, coloured a deep green with some trees in front, is Villa Cornwall. Both buildings are still around and are very attractive 60's style low rise apartment blocks. All this means is that the Friends are actually driving up Kent Road on the opposite side of Cornwall St. Here is the modern Streetview.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Yau Yat Chuen School, Kowloon

It's changed a little bit since 1989 - most notably a little bit of extra height has been added, as well as the front flag pole being removed (although the brackets can still be seen on the wall), but it is undoubtedly the same place that Chow's son attends school.

The thing that gave this one away for me is the house in the background of the second picture - it's a style very much still seen in Yau Yat Chuen, although that particular one has already been redeveloped. Anyway, here is the closest I can get using Streetview in lieu of me popping down there (actually, not that far from my current location, to be honest).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Lung Ha Wan, Clearwater Bay

Not the first time this location has been used for a film, but this time we see it from a slightly different angle. This is where the shoot takes place for Chow's son on his BMX bike. A few background rocks and pinnacles show us where we are such as in the following screen grabs where we can see Table Island in the mid-background and Ung Kong (Bluff Island) is the far distance.

Lung Ha Wan (Lobster Bay) has two parts - both sides of a small bit of land that juts out from the main coastline. The NW side is popular with scuba divers (you can drive there) and was once a loading point for luxury car smugglers. The SE side we saw Paul Chin Pei standing on in this post and I note that Andi mentions it as being used in Trilogy of Swordsmanship.

The bit seen above though in All About Ah Long is the top part of the promontory. There is still a large open space up there that is popular with kite flyers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Kai Tak Amusement Park, Choi Hung

Just when I think I have done all I can with a film, up pops up a stumper that has been solved by consulting an excellent old HK Photography book called "Early Kowloon" by Cheng Po Hung. Sunset features a section when the two protagonists spend some time at an amusement park.

Now, I know of several amusement parks that HK used to have such as Lai Yuen (in Lai Chi Kok), Luna Park on HK island but none of my known sites seemed to fit the photos above. Anyway, I found an old photo of Kai Tak Amusement Park of Cheng Po Hung's book and it looks to be a match (same ferris wheel, monorail etc) and can only think it is this one that we can see on film.

If you haven't heard of this place before it's not surprising because it was only open between 1965 and 1982 after which it was demolished and the site was redeveloped into the modern day Choi Hung Park/Choi Hung Road Playground.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Film Locations Blog

For those who enjoy this blog (as well as Gary Wong's Film Pilgrimage and Daniel Thomas' Hong Kong on Film), then you will be pleased to hear that there is a new kid on the bloke. Please check out the excellent location work done by Andi on his Hong Kong Movie Tours Blog.

Andi has been hunting down locations for a long time and was building up an impressive array on the (now defunct?) Shaw Brothers Reloaded forum, but thankfully he has decided to show a wider audience and created this new blog. The good thing about Andi's stuff is he has tried to recreate the same camera angles seen on the films he is blogging about and he's done a very good job. I look forward to seeing some interesting stuff coming out of it over the coming months.

Here's the full URL:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lust, Caution - Tang Wei (2007) - #30 Po Shan Road, Midlevels

The main house where the wannabe agents stay as their cover was a rather glorious looking art deco mansion block that used to stand on Po Shan Road. The picture below is from an excellent website called Urban Ghosts Media because by the time I had starting looking into the locations on this film, the building had already been demolished. Such a travesty in my opinion, but there you go.

I have no idea whether or not the plot has been redeveloped yet, but Streetview and Google seem to say otherwise. This means the land has been sitting empty for at least 5 years and I suspect the rush to demolish was motivated by the need to remove the building before anybody got the idea into their heads that it needed some sort of protection. Welcome to Hong Kong!

Po Shan Road

Friday, July 13, 2012

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Ocean Park, Hong Kong

This place doesn't really need much introduction, anyone who has been there will recognise where this is (in case you haven't been the pirate ship and roller coaster are located at the headland on the far south of the park. Sylvia takes her new found son there for a day out and then proceeds to puke after her ride on the rollercoaster.

I'll confess to having visited the park on many occasions, although I've never been on these thrill rides. I was a bit disappointed last time I went because they have closed the old aquarium and opened a funky new egg-shaped one. However, in designing the new one they neglected to put any decent viewing ports in it and so your view tends to be through a small window that has half the population of mainland China looking through it at the same time :-(

Monday, July 9, 2012

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Tai O Mun Road, Sai Kung

A day out with mum and dad and we see everyone in Sylvia Chang's car going for a ride along Tai O Mun Road in Clearwater Bay. It's a fairly deserted road at most times because its destination is the rather exclusive Clearwater Bay club. Look carefully and you will see Steep Island in the background as well as the part of the Clearwater Bay headland that houses the club's golf course.

The film affords a much better angle than Streetview can give, but you'll notice there are familiar landmarks along the embankment on the right, including what looks to be the same lamp posts.

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Hillwood Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

This scene is given away by the presence of the Tai Woo Restaurant, whose sign can be seen in the background. Surprisingly this branch - in the Tsim Sha Tsui area - still occupies the very same building it did back in 1989, along Hillwood Road. Sure, the decor (and that of the whole street) has changed a bit but the shape is still recognisable.

And a modern view courtesy of Google Streetview.

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Western Street, Sheung Wan

After leaving their home to go to school we see our intrepid pair riding dad's moped along Western St in Sheung Wan - not bad going for a small engined motorised scooter: Wanchai to Sheung Wan in one big step.

We know where we are because we can see the unmistakeable frontage of King's College in the background.

The latter snaps are of course after the pair turn left onto Bonham Road and we can see the school's famous columned front entrance. Here is a Streetview shot.

The school was built in 1926 and one of its noted alumni has recently been anointed as the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong.