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.

All About Ah Long - Chow Yun Fat (1989) - Li Chit Street, Wanchai

Li Chit Street once had some very uniquely styled shophouses along it - making them instantly recognisable to anyone who knew them. This is basically what led me to identifying this location initially because the buildings had very distinctive curved balconies on each floor.

Of course none of these buildings exists any more, but thanks to Johnnie To, the director of this film, for capturing some of the history of this place when he decided o have it as the location of Chow Yun Fat's abode. Once again proving that HK-made films provide some under-appreciated documentational quality that give us a glimpse of what once was. Anyway, rant over with here are the screen shots - there are several throughout the whole film.

Incidentally, the large windowed office block at the other end of the street is called the "Dominion Centre" and still sits proudly at the other end on Queens Road East. On the far right end of Li Chit St is an old building which bizarrely still stands even though the rest of the street was razed and rebuilt. Here are some grabs of those balconies I mentioned.

Followed by some daytime shots showing the place to be a small market-type street. I'm not sure if this was conjured up just for the film but I doubt it and it's in stark contrast to the place now. These days the street is no longer a vehicular thoroughfare and has a development called Li Chit Garden straddling the middle of what used to be the road. This is the reason the older buildings were knocked down.

Some better views of the balconies, complete with Mr Chow himself hanging out his dirty laundry.

And finally, what the same street looks like today seen from the same angle (from Johnston Road) which clearly shows the Li Chit Garden lower floors cutting off the view to the other end.

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.