Thursday, 30 April 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - H.M.S Tamar, Central

We'll skip the rest of the Aberdeen stuff for a while and instead have a look at some shots from inside the H.M.S Tamar compound. Of course, these days it's the rather symbolic P.L.A HQ but back in 1975 it was still very much part of the British Garrison in Hong Kong. In a nice little coincidence that I thought would be interesting to mention: the vessel that the compound is named after - HMS Tamar - was scuttled in the harbour just prior to the Japanese crossing of the harbour in December 1941, and recent dredging works for the ongoing Wanchai bypass reclamation works recently discovered a large silted over metal object next to the Convention Centre that is thought to possibly be the hulk of the Tamar ship. [edit: turns out it was the HMS Tamar and rather than save it the Govt decided to dump it further out into the harbour so it didn't get in the way...)

These days the former naval base with its attached dock is now a further 150+ metres inland and there is a highway running between it and the harbour front. The lower screen captures do show the actual entrance to the place, however, since the PLA took over much has changed and I have no idea which direction this entrance faced - was it on Edinburgh Place or facing another way? If anyone can confirm that would be great. Whichever way, I believe this gate has now been removed and/or changed to remove the references to its former name.

Additional: Oh dear, a consequence of me not paying much attention to my later screen shots mean I missed off the obvious positioning of the entrance. So here it is, but many thanks to Arthur and gweilo8888 for humouring me :-)

Actually, in hindsight it seems quite obvious where the brick colour of the current wall changes, showing us where it has been rebuilt. Never mind, I'll pay more attention next time...

Anyway, as you can see, there are still some buildings around including the stripey exterior of Hutchison House and the Murray Road carpark behind it. In the top right of the screen grab is the Furama Hotel with its recognisable window shades. This was still around until just a few years ago, but now the AIG building stands in its place and I'm afraid the area is worse for it.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Wu Nam Street, Aberdeen

Just around the corner from Tung Sing Road is Wu Nam Street. Now it's the location for the main Aberdeen bus terminus, but before all the reclamation was done it was right on the waterfront and was the original location of the boarding point to get to the floating restaurants.

That's Wu Nam Street on the right hand side of the screen captures. The block on the far right (numbered 6-11 on various maps) is still around. The road has been extended slightly since 1975. An additional block was constructed on the far end of the current one meaning that Wu Nam Streets curve in Cheng Tu Road had to be extended slightly. The steps down to the water and the water front itself of course are long gone and the area you see above now carries, amongst other things, the Wu Nam Street public toilets! Below is a capture from Streetview which includes the area shown above. The original building previously mentioned is located at the far end of the row of buildings on the right (with two green minibuses right in front).

In addition to Wu Nam Street, we also get a sneak peek up Cheng Tu Road (not sure why the Mandarin pronunciation of the street names is used here, but there you go) in the shot below.

There is pretty much nothing recognisable today other than the buildings hidden by the truck. It looks like a single block but is actually two buildings sitting side-by-side (note the slight change in window shape). Those two blocks are 210 & 212 Aberdeen Main Road and one can still be seen (pink) is the Streetview below at the far end of the road (to the left of the bus).

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Tung Sing Road, Aberdeen

Some more of Aberdeen as brothers Melvin and Matthew head out to try and strike a drug deal (as undercover agents). The street is Tung Sing Road in Aberdeen town.

The clue to the location in this case is the presence of some still-standing buildings that can be seen in the top right background of the upper screen capture. The first one is the corner building with the iron window awnings. It's #24 Tung Sing Rd and stands on the corner with Sai On Street and can be seen centre screen of the Streetview grab below, still looking pretty much the same. The second building that can still be found is in the far background just to the left of the first building. It's the white facade of the Tsung Man Building at the far end of Tung Sing Rd where it joins with Tsung Man Street in front of the Govt primary school. Both buildings - Tsung Man and #24 Tung Sing - coincidentally, were built in the same year (1963).

Monday, 27 April 2015

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery, Tsuen Wan

The final scene from the whole Yellowthread Street series was shot at the Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery. We've seen it before on this blog because the film makers behind Contagion also used it as the location for the ransom exchange.

Riviera Gardens behind Chan and Lonnen (brand new at the time)

As you can imagine the cemetery itself hasn't really changed at all, but the background has seen extensive development. The lower picture shows Tsing Yi in the background. The southern end of it (on the left) has now become completely taken over by reclamation for Container Terminal 9 - this is the same area where the famous QE wreck was.

The bridge at the back is the original Tsing Yi Bridge - the first bridge to connect the mainland with Tsing Yi Island. It has since been doubled (another bridge built parallel and used for Kowloon-bound traffic) to ease the burden on the original which opened in the mid-70's. It has also been complemented by a closer bridge called the Cheung Tsing Bridge and in the far distance connecting the southern end of Tsing Yi to West Kowloon is the newly built Stonecutters Bridge (remember that since this show was made Stonecutters Island has been joined on to Kowloon via reclamation).

The chimney at the left is the old Kwai Chung Incinerator chimney. It closed in 1997 but the chimney stayed up for another 10 years while they cleaned the surrounding land up of the various poisons that had built up over the years.

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Cheung Chau, Outlying Islands

As we slowly wind down the look back at Yellowthread Street (I've already done 70 posts for it - the highest count for a single show on this blog so far), here are some locations from the very last episode I Knew A Man.

Head-cop Vale (played by Ray Lonnen, who passed away just last year in 2014) heads out to Cheung Chau to try and find the culprit behind a bunch of illegal immigrant drownings.

Of course, first he has to head to the Outlying Islands ferry pier...

...and then we get treated to the very familiar (well, to me at least) view of the centre of Cheung Chau Island as the ferry pulls in. 

The lower picture is of course the view looking from Cheung Chau towards Lantau Island in the background.

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Aberdeen Harbour

I've got a few Shatter posts pending now courtesy of the indefatigable Thomas Ngan, but before I do those I thought I should kick off the next film on the agenda - Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. Another big thanks to AP for supplying me with the original film and once again, another co-production with Shaws (this time with Warners) that has a few nice new places to see. However, this being an 'internatiuonal' film means that someone somewhere had to squeeze in a bit of Aberdeen. Actually, by a bit of Aberdeen I actually mean A LOT. So I will dedicate several posts to the place starting with this introductory pan from west to east.

It's such a nice sequence that I have tried to join it together. Unfortunately anything more than two pictures at a time turned out a bit messy. But anyway, here are the snaps.

As you can see, the camera has caught pretty much the whole of the harbour stretching all the way from its western entrance (top picture where you can just see the sea wall of the old power station jutting out on the left hand side), all the way to the east (bottom picture with Brick Hill on the top left - now the location of Ocean Park's cable car). Of course the camera is position on the Hong Kong side of the harbour so we are actually looking south over to Ap Lei Chau. But there is lots of nice detail in there including both the Tai Pak and Sea Palace as well as a couple of the smaller restaurants that seem to be less well remembered compared to their extravagantly decorated neighbours.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley

Another shot from Big Circle when Pak (Tzi Ma) gets dropped off by the mysterious gwailo. The area is just outside of St Paul's Catholic Primary School - you can just see the sides of the entrance in the screen capture.

The area pretty much looks the same now as it did back then - perhaps a little cleaner and greener now, but that could just be a result of the video quality of the screen captures. You can even spot the same metal door at the top of the driveway (to the left of Tzi Ma's head in the lower pic).

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Contagion - Matt Damon (2011) - Tong Mi Road, Mongkok

A late identification due to a mistaken belief that the sequence at the beginning when the infected waiter gets killed was filmed around Hung Hom. The scene where he staggers in front of the truck was actually filmed up in Mongkok along a section of the Tong Mi Road just in front of where Shamchun Street and Cheung Wong Road meet.

The giveaway here is the tapered and lined flyover supports and the yellow canopy that adorns the Metro Regalia building on the opposite side of the road.

The film makers caught the area on a nice bright day compared to the rather drab Streetview picture I have below for comparison. The camera crew were also positione further back on the aforementioned streets. The trees have grown a little but you can just still see the yellow canopy over the road.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Shatter - Stuart Whitman (1974) - Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, Sheung Wan

The last Shatter post until I can get a few of my unknowns identified. This one is pretty much the last scene anyway and shows Ti Lung together with Whitman and Cushing at the pontoons of the Hong Kong and Macau Ferry Terminal as the former duo arrive back from their mission to Macau.

Of course this whole area was redeveloped into the rather significantly taller Shun Tak Centre, but the newer pontoons aren't too far from this earlier location.

Note the Far east Hydrofoil pontoon at the back, this was the company owned by the STDM (Societe de Tourismo de Macau - the company that had the Macau gaming monopoly for so many years) set up by Stanley Ho and Henry Fok.

Tai Shan ferry behind Ti Lung 

Note the "Tai Shan" ferry behind Ti Lung and the "FEH" liveried hydrofoils in the other pictures. The first Jetfoils (manufactured by Boeing) weren't introduced to HK until the following year - 1975.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Shatter - Stuart Whitman (1974) - Shaw House, Clearwater Bay

Although supposedly travelling to Macau to confront the bad guys, the film made full use of the Shaw Bros facilities at Movietown (remember, this was a co-production between Shaws and Hammer films) by using some of Shaw House. We don't get to see the house itself, because I suppose it would have been considered a dead giveaway to most viewers, but we get some shots of the central driveway and fountain surround.

Hmm, I wonder if that was Sir Run Run's Rolls Royce?

The curved arch above the main entrance is unmistakable here, in fact we've seen it on this blog before.

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Young Master - Jackie Chan (1980) - Abandoned House Revisted, Lam Tsuen

Following on from my previous post where I had quite accidentally stumbled upon the old abandoned house courtesy of a local hiking website (see here for a reminder), I decided to go and get some of my own snaps today, and I think it was perhaps a very good job I did.

This post really epitomises what I love about finding these filming locations. I probably first saw this film sometime in the late 80's/early 90's and many scenes are ingrained into my memory. It's a great feeling to be standing in the same spot you saw all those years ago on film.

Anyway, the house is located next to Ling Wan Monastery (淩雲寺) at the far end of Lam Kam Road in Lam Tsuen (actually, the monastery even has its own bus stop on the 64K route from Tai Po to Yuen Long). You simply alight at the aforementioned bus stop and walk down to take the first left next to the cement plant. Keep following the road and eventually you'll see the following archway marking the entrance to the monastery.

Through the archway and just to the right is the entrance to where the house is, but this is why I think it was a good job I went sooner rather than later: the whole area has been taped off in preparation for demolishing the house. :-(

It seems to be just my luck, as soon as I find a place it gets removed or demolished. Such is life, but I guess at least I got to wander around before it was demolished. I was a bit naughty and snuck through the tape and various warning signs and took a bunch of pictures. I've uploaded many of them here for posterity's sake, because who knows when this place will disappear. I've thrown in the odd reminder from The Young Master as well so you can see how much hasn't changed in 35 years.

As you can see the whole front area in front of the house has been cleared. I think this is preparation for its demolition. Even the tree stumps have been burnt to remove them properly. Access at the moment is via a rather dilapidated stairway on the right hand side of the house. And it brings you up to the area where the actors (Yuen Biao, Shek Kin and JC) sit down when they first arrive.

It even still has the same chunk missing from the side of the back archway. The bit where Yuen Biao is sitting is right at the front and he is just afew inches from a 3 metre drop to the ground. I don't know what was through the doorway behind JC back in 1980, but these days there is a (recently) shot-creted slope, you can just see the concrete on my pictures. Next we move into the room at the back where, in the film, there is a rope attached that JC hauls himself up.

There is a vine dangling down now, but the roof - not in the greatest condition on film - has almost completely collapsed with just a couple of remaining crossbeams. It certainly wouldn't support someones weight now. The window at the top is still bricked in. I wish I knew more about the history of the place because I can imagine it being a fairly stylish home before it fell into disrepair.

The above view is from the other side of the building (the side closer to the monastery) and as such I don't think you can get too far back (such as where Shek Kin and Fung Fung are talking) because it goes into monastery property (although the monastery seems to have illegally taken over Govt land).

Finally, I'll leave you with a few more shots taken of various angles of the place.

Looking in from the front 
The stairs up to the house are on the right of the picture

I wonder what the lower windows were for because although there is an airspace behind them, there is no basement as such. I did speak to one of the nuns in the monastery and she told me the house was a Japanese house, so I wonder if it was built during the occupation and has been abandoned ever since? It's certainly a strange enough design that I haven't seen before. Anyway, enjoy these pictures now because I am sure this place will just be a memory fairly soon.