Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Hongkong Hilton, Central

As mentioned in a previous post, Aldo Ray's character is a tour guide for the Hilton Hotel and so we get to see him taking some hotel guests on a boat trip followed by bus journey back to the hotel. In this post we get to see the bus arrive back at the hotel.

Now, unfortunately my first visit to HK was too late for me to have seen the Hongkong Hilton Hotel when it was still standing (when I arrived for the first time in Nov 1995, the site was already razed and the pile drivers were hard at work knocking in piles for what was to become the Cheung Kong Centre), so I can't confirm whether or not this was the entrance. However, my gut says it probably is - after all, the hotel seems to have been very cooperative by lending their boat out for use, so letting a film crew shoot some scenes at the entrance doesn't seem like too much of a stretch (and it seems to be a great way to advertise given the proliferation of product placement in movies).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Sai Street, Sheung Wan

We return to an already used location here at the top of Sai Street where it meets with Tai Ping Shan Street in front of Blake Garden. Recall the place in Power Play (episode 1) where Bruce Payne mixes it with some local ruffians whilst eating his noodles. Well, the film crew returned for Key Witness (episode 3) as one of the locations picked by the fugitive as a meeting point - only to have the meeting interrupted by a bunch of gun-toting Triads.

Here's a repeat look at the modern Streetview grab. Note the wall at the far end still has the rough bit at the base.

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Nathan Road, Kowloon

On their way back from their boat trip to Aberdeen, the hotel guests are on a tour bus taking what must be the worlds longest detour, because they are actually travelling down Nathan Road (in Kowloon) on their way back to a hotel that is actually on HK Island.

How do we know it's Nathan Road? Well, one of the buildings we pass is the instantly recognisable Sun Ya Hotel. We've seen this place before on this blog courtesy of Golden Needles. It was located at 639 Nathan Road.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Aberdeen Harbour and the Wan Fu

More nostalgia for those of a certain age who may remember the boat owned and operated by the HongKong Hilton Hotel. It was called the Wan Fu - apparently a reproduction of an 1840's British Brigantine - and used to take hotel guests on fully-catered harbour and island tours.

It seems as though the film makers of Kill a Dragon couldn't be bothered with organising their own boat tour and instead decided to hijack an existing one. I guess it is fair enough though because the character played by Aldo Ray in the film is actually a tour guide for the hotel.

Yes, the Wan Fu was a real boat and it was operated by the HongKong Hilton - no need to create fake boat names and signposts for these shots.

A few familiar shots of Aberdeen Harbour above (that's Also Ray with the red blazer). In the following shots we catch a small glimpse of both the Sea Palace and Tai Pak floating restaurants.

Here are a couple of further pictures that show the Wan Fu circa 1990 - just a few years before the Hilton was demolished.

I have no idea what happened to it afterwards, perhaps it stayed on with a private owner or was sold overseas. If anyone can fill us in on what happened to it then please feel free to leave a comment below. I hope it didn't go the same way as the Osprey :-(

Friday, 25 July 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Mount Austin Road, The Peak

More specifically the area around the famous and rather antique "Umbrella Seat" that sits at the junction of Mt Austin Road and the nameless path that connects it to Lugard Road down the slope. The cops are following the so-called Middleman and follow him here from the vehicular ferry pier (because its just a short walk away, right...?). The first shots esatablish the location bu giving us a nice (although a bit hazy even for 1989) view over the harbour starting with a side view of #25 Lugard Road (see first pic below).

A familiar view to anyone who has been up to the Peak, but vastly different from the current view due to the addition of many new buildings - too many to list.

We get to look down the nameless path that connects Mt Austin Rd with Lugard Rd.

Those last two shots show the so-called Umbrella Seat with its great view over the harbour. According to comments over on Gwulo (see earlier link), this 1989 version of the seat was actually erected in the 1920's. The roof was changed at some point to a slatted version before the original was restored - perhaps because the people responsible (don't ask me who it would be, HK Govt is notoriously filled with Depts and sub-Depts that spend all their useful time passing the buck around themselves, no one ever willing to take responsibility for anything) realised its provenance?

Here's how it looks today courtesy of Streetview. Note the roof seen in 1989 is back in place following its short vacation sometime in the 00's. Or perhaps it is just an identical replacement? Who knows...?

The final shot shows us looking back down Mt Austin Road as the Middleman is not-too-subtly followed back. There isn't much of a wide angle in the screencap, but you can see from the Streetview that the garden on the right has had a bit of a revamp. We've also lost a lot of trees in the background - I'll assume that happened when they built the houses on the left - part of The Mount Austin development.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Tsing Bik Villa, Tuen Mun

To be honest, I have no idea what the actual Anglicised name of this next location is, but the Chinese name (青碧別墅 - pronounced Tsing Bik Bit Seui) roughly translates as "Blue/Green Villa". I thought it would be best to play safe and just call it by the Chinese name. I suspect it was named for the pale green tiles that adorned its roof and beyond that I know very little about it.

What I do know is that a picture of it was posted up on and couple of years ago and the poster was asking if anyone knew anything about it. It was only recently when reviewing these locations for Kill a Dragon that the penny dropped and I realised it was the same location used in this film as the bad guy's (played by Fernando Lamas) HQ. It was a rather attractive building, I feel, built in the "Chinese Renaissance" style.

As you can see it was a nice looking place (although perhaps the fake rocks hanging from the roof are a bit nasty), and sadly demolished. If you read the Gwulo entry on it (link provided above) the poster mentions it was destroyed in 1986 as part of some film production and then redeveloped into what is now a residential development called Bayview Terrace. I'm sure that it's no coincidence that the Chinese name of the new development (碧翠花園) uses the same Bik character that can be found in the villa's original name: 碧

I was wondering if the chase scenes set around the building were also filmed at the same location and it seems, judging from the following screencap, that it was. Look carefully in the picture and you can see Pearl Island with its causeway in the background.

Anyway, still a bit of a mystery as to the origin of the old villa so if anyone has any further information it would be great to fill in the gaps. It seems as though this part of Castle Peak Road was well known for its opulent villas. There were several, most of which have since been redeveloped.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Ma Nam Wat Village, Sai Kung

To break up the Yellowthread Street posts a bit (because, like I Spy, there will be quite a few) here is another offering from the 1960's starring Jack Palance as a sort of mercenary with a heart. Some really good and interesting places to see in this film, including the location of the main village that features in the film.

The film starts with a nice panning shot across the water of what is the small inlet that sits between Trio Beach and the Tai Ngam Hau peninsula. The camera then settles on the village (Chinese name: 麻南笏村) that sits on the north shore line of the headland.

The village is largely abandoned but I have no idea how long it has been like that. The area is popular with walkers and so the area still sees a lot of activity and it seems as though some Spanish-style village houses have popped up so I am sure someone must still be there. Look at the following shots and you will see the village Tin Hau Temple. Is it still there? This building features quite prominently in the film so it would be nice to know it still stands...

The view below is looking east from the shoreline over towards what would be Marina Cove area in the distance. Trio Beach is hidden by the coast that juts out behind the white launch.

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Chatham Road South, Kowloon

Another aerial shot from Key Witness. This one holds some interest because it shows the land being formed for what became the Science and History museums in East Tsim Sha Tsui. The first picture below gives us a nice angle on the Park Hotel as well - that's the curved grey-coloured building that sits on the corner of Cameron Road. It's one of TST's older hotels, being built in the 1960's, and is still going strong...for the time being at least.

The cluster of buildings on this side of Chatham Road South are still around and host a variety of office and commercial premises. The one most prominent (centre right) is Energy Plaza and fans of 80's HK movies will realise this is the building that Michael Wong was dangling from in Royal Warriors. The upper floors also used to house a gym and training facility patronised by many stars of yesteryear and run by a fellow called Eddie Maher. I'm not sure when it closed down - possibly sometime in the early to mid-90's?

On the right hand side is the bare piece of land that now holds the aforementioned museums. Strictly speaking that particular patch of land now houses the small park that leads up to the museums. I know the History museum moved here in 1998, and considering this aerial view was most likely taken in 1989 or thereabouts I'm not sure why it took so long for the site to be completed. Actually, on second thoughts that sounds exactly like HK.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Island Eastern Corridor, Hong Kong

Some action shots from Key Witness as the cops, Eden and Marenta (played by Bruce Payne and Robert Taylor, respectively), attempt a stakeout with some rudimentary disguises (i.e. silly hats). We get some shots of them driving along in Eden's muscle car including some shots of the Island Eastern Corridor at various places including...1. just past the North Point Fire Station (you can see the training tower on the right).

The contemporary view from Streetview reveals rather a large amount of development around this area, although the fire station (and the overhead road sign) are still around.

A few seconds later and they also pass the City Garden residential development (that's it on the right of the screen).

We also see them driving past the now demolished North Point Estate (razed in 2003), so I guess we have a little bit of North Point history preserved forever on screen (although I am sure this isn't the only bit of cinema/TV that has featured it before). The space it occupied is actually still just empty at the moment (or at least it is on Streetview, I don't know if any construction has been started there yet).

A bit further on we see the car drive past the huge slab of concrete that goes by the name of Provident Garden. To be honest, this place is very...ugly, but probably has some of the best harbour views to be had in this part of the island - right on the harbourfront.

And finally, back the other way as the road curves around into the Quarry Bay section of North Point. That's Kwun Hoi Mansion in the last pic on the right.