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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunset - Paul Chin Pei (1971) - Lung Ha Wan, Sai Kung

One of the more iconic locations from the film because its seen at the very end when Paul goes to the seaside to watch the sunset. Lung Ha Wan aka Lobster Bay has two sides to it on either side of a small headland. The northern beach is a popular shore diving spot for local scuba enthusiasts and was for a long time an area where stolen luxury cars were loaded into modified speedboats and smuggled over the border to China. A concrete ramp that aided the loading of these cars was eventually blown up by British Army engineers and the fragments of it still litter the beach.

The southern side of the headland has a direct view down the coast towards Trio Rock, which can be seen amongst others on the following screen grab (in fact the larger island directly above his head in the first shot).

Now, I can't say for certain whether the shot looking back towards Paul was filmed at the same location, it certainly could've been but it's not possible to say for sure without going there myself and looking for the same rocks (which I'm not going to do any time soon).

Anyway, there is a very similar angle to this found on Panoramio courtesy of kc22jordan.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Game of Death - Bruce Lee (1978) - State Theatre, North Point

This is one of those locations that I have only recently been made aware of, whereas at the time of my original GOD posts I had yet to venture to anywhere near this location.

It's a brief shot that shows the fake BL walking past a cinema showing a kung fu film (if any experts can identify the Shaolin-themed show please feel free to comment and allow me to be awed by your knowledge).

And here is that same theatre 35 years (ish) later, looking slightly more decrepit but still with its identifiable curved front and square windows.

If you wou'd like to know a bit more about the place then you can visit my other blog where I did a post.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires - Peter Cushing (1974) - Silverstrand Bay, Sai Kung

Proof (if ever you needed it) that Shaw Brothers were able to convey the sense of many different sorts of landscapes and locations on film from the comfort of their own backyard. This next scene was actually filmed on the hilltop behind the Movietown studio lot - an area that was taken over by the University of Science and Technology back in 1991 for their staff quarters.

Here are some film grabs looking down into Silverstrand Bay with its small rock outcrop just jutting out into the water.

Look in the far background and you can also make out the distinctive sharp profile of High Junk Peak sticking up in the ridgeline at the back. This angle could only be gained from the hillside behind the studio.

Incidentally, I believe that the small flat location seen in the top picture (where the carriage is sitting) has since been converted into a small garden with a pavilion attached to the staff quarters - however, I'm not sure of how much public access there is here - if any. Silverstrand went on to become slightly notorious  in the early 90's when a series of fatal shark attacks occurred there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Prodigal Son - Yuen Biao (1981) - Tai Tung Wo Liu, Sai Kung

The second of the two identifiable locations used in this classic Sammo Hung film is used in the finale when Yuen Biao fights (and inflicts a rather sickening injury) on Frankie Chan.

As you can see, there are glimpses in the back ground of a very striking mountain range which are actually the northern Sai Kung side of Ma On Shan. The finale was filmed on what seems to be a very flat piece of ground and actually this area of the NT is quite flat. Here is a modern view courtesy of streetview of the same ridgeline. Bear in mind that on film the camera lens sometimes stretches or squashes the picture along certain planes in order to fit the TV screen/monitor.

There is a small village called Tai Tung Wo Liu here and the finale would have been filmed on land very close to the village given the angle of the mountains and other features that can be seen on the film.

The Prodigal Son - Yuen Biao (1981) - Yim Tin Tsai, Sai Kung

One of only two identifiable locations in this classic Sammo Hung film featuring Yuen Biao as the young Wing Chun exponent Leung Tsan.

I think Sammo (he directed and wrote as well as starred in the film) was trying to create some sort of homage to another film I discussed a few weeks ago because this scene is almost a direct copy of the one from River of Fury - filmed at the exact same location, featuring an opera troop aboard a boat that is docking at the pier. Here are the grabs.

Yes, this is Yim Tin Tsai in Port Shelter, Sai Kung, where about 8 years before Danny Lee ran along the exact same concrete pier to greet a junk traveling opera troop. The same house at the beginning of the pier and of course the previous version of the pier that now exists. You can read my River of Fury entry here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires - Peter Cushing (1974) - Fei Ngo Shan, Sai Kung

In this classic collaboration (one of two) between the UK's Hammer Studios and Shaw Bros in HK, the film makers took advantage of the unspoilt mountainous area around Fei Ngo Shan (Kowloon Peak) to film the hilly scenes as the protagonists make their way to David Chiang's lost village.

Several scenes were shot but all incorporated approximately the same area. First there is this view of everyone stumbling up the hillside.The distant peaks poking up at the back are in fact eitehr end of the saddle ridge of Ma On Shan.

Judging from the angle I am guessing the camera was fairly close to the Fei Ngo Shan Road as it goes over the hill and down the other side towards Tate's Pass. Not an exact placement but this dip is close enough to the road so that the film crew had an easy job of it.

The second part featured above was reasonably close by with a view down into Port Shelter, or at least what seems to be the Hebe Haven part of it. I think this one was shot slightly further east.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Project A - Jackie Chan (1983) - Ping Kong Walled Village, Sheung Shui

Another one that has taken a while to find but still here we go, it's the Tin Hau Temple that JC stops in front of during the bike chase. I can't confirm whether or not this is the same village where some the other bike sequences takes place (would need to visit in person) but here is the temple from the film as a reminder.

There has been a recent renovation to the temple and the area next to the red door above has been knocked through but the temple is still fairly recognisable. Here is a modern view courtesy of Chong Fat's picture on the Tin Hau Temple wiki page.

Photo: Chong Fat on Wikipedia

Monday, May 14, 2012

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing - William Holden (1955) - Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Aberdeen has been seen in so many films on this blog - I guess it was a place renowned for showing a different side to HK life for some people and it's been used time and time again, for example on Enter The Dragon, The Protector, The World of Suzie Wong, Flatfoot in Hong Kong, Tomb Raider 2 as well as a brief glimpse in Soldier of Fortune. However, it could be argued that this was the film that did it first. So here we are as Holden and Jones head to the Tai Pak.

We get to see them driving along (a very different) Aberdeen Praya Road in his little car and turning onto the famous shore front that held the restaurant piers at Wu Nam Street (they have since been moved to Shum Wan Pier Drive). If you read my Flatfoot in Hong Kong post on this place you'll know that this area has long been reclaimed and is now used as a bus stop.

Look carefully in the background of the above snap and you may just be able to spot Aberdeen's famous Tin Hau temple hiding at the back. Whereas below we can see Wu Nam Street - seen from harbour looking inland.

The small signs on the boats above say 白花油 "Baak Fa Yau" a.k.a White Flower Oil. Still a popular ointment here in Hong Kong and especially good for stopping the itch of a mosquito bite.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing - William Holden (1955) - 41a Conduit Road, Midlevels

This location has often been mistaken for King Yin Lei over in the Wanchai mid-levels and it's a mistake that seems to have gained a bit of misinformed traction (also the notion that the Repulse Bay Hotel was featured in this film: it wasn't!).

This building was located at 41a Conduit Road and was known locally as the Mok Villa - named after the family who owned it - or by its official name of 'Fairview'. At the time of filming though it was home to the Foreign Correspondents' Club (F.C.C) and its connections to this film go a bit further than just it being one of the locations used.

Throughout the film the house is used to represent what is described at one point as 'Victoria Hospital' where Dr Han (Jennifer Jones) works as a doctor. The terraced gardens are featured more than the actual house though (all interior scenes were filmed back in the US on a sound stage) and we are led to believe that the hospital backs onto the famous windy hilltop.

In reality though the hilltop was in fact located in California at the former Fox Ranch (now part of Malibu Creek State Park) and the hillside behind the house was actually only about a third of the way up Hong Kong's Peak.

The other connection to this story is that the ornamental pavilion seen above in the buildings grounds was the real life location where the real life Han Suyin met her lover, Ian Morrison, who was a journalist from Australia and no doubt was a member of the F.C.C.

This splendid building was knocked down in the mid-1960's and was eventually replaced by a development called Realty Gardens in 1971 which still stands there today. The current development also has a small ornate pavilion in the grounds (the terracing remains fairly unscathed but the ornaments you see above are all gone) which for a while some people mistakenly believed to be the same one seen above. Alas, it is a modern replacement that was built on a slightly higher level to the original one. There is a great summary of the building over on Richard Wong's FLICKR page and it's necessary to read all the comments:

The thing I find most staggering about these grabs are the fact that there was a completely open view of the harbour back then. This view has slowly disappeared as more and more high rises have filled up the hillside.