Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Hotel Lisboa and the Macau-Taipa Bridge, Macau

A nice (but would be better in HD) view of the Lisboa Hotel - Stanley Ho's famous landmark hotel/ casino situated at the southern end of the Macau peninsula. I actually quite like the kitsch decor even though it's not to everyone's taste.

As the camera pans south (i.e. to the right) we get a glimpse of the Macau<->Taipa Bridge or to call it by its official Portuguese name - the Ponte Governador Nobre de Carvalho. Although I believe at the time of this filming, the bridge had yet to open to the public. Taipa is in the far background.

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Inner Harbour, Macau

Page doesn't only visit HK, he also makes a quick trip over to Macau helping me top up my quota of Macau locations for the year :-)

The first shot we see is of a ferry docked at the Inner Harbour, right next to the famous (and now famously gone) floating Casino Macau Palace. We've seen it a few times before including way back in this post from the Bud Spencer film Flatfoot in Hong Kong. Although this was filmed the year before Flatfoot, I believe.

I believe there has also been some reclamation along the Inner Harbour at Macau and so the exact location of where the casino used to sit is now inland a bit - though not to the extent of some places in HK that are now kilometres away from their previous harbour front locales. Anyway, here is a quick stitch to give a better view.

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Lion Rock, Kowloon

Long before democracy protesters were hanging banners from it, Grant Page thought it would be a good idea to free climb up the southern facing sheer face, then after having a quick break, throwing himself off the top again.

After his dry run on the neighbouring reservoir, ensuring there were no kinks in the rope that would leave him dangling in mid-air, Page takes it a stage further and does the same thing off Lion Rock. These days it's reasonably easy (if a little effort intensive) to hike up to the top of the mountain via a well-trodden hiking path, but Page decides that a bit too easy and goes straight up the front - without any safety equipment or climbing aids and wearing only a pair of jeans and a woolly singlet! I'm sure most of my Australian friends would say that was standard all-weather gear for hard-nosed Aussie blokes.

I did ask stunt maestro, Vic Armstrong, if he had ever worked with Grant Page and he told me unfortunately not, but he considered Page to be one of the toughest and most fearless guys he had ever met. True praise indeed coming from one of the movie industry's top men.

Anyway, the view from the bottom of the sheer face is quite spectacular although, to be honest, despite the amount of high-rises these days, I do prefer the greener-looking Hong Kong of the current time. Kowloon looked a bit bleak and dull back in the 1970's - maybe the film needs remastering?

The following picture shows us what Lok Fu and Wong Tai Sin used to look like as well. The big swipe in the middle of the housing estates is today's Morse Park.

Finally at the top we get to look down towards the curved exit/entry ramps for the Lion Rock tunnel immediately below the rock. The curved ramps feed traffic on and off Lung Cheung Road. Actually, look closely and you can see a building with a small tower just above Page's left arm/wrist. This is the old TVB studios on Broadcast Drive - now replaced by a development called Peninsula Heights. The road heading off into the distance (top picture which is actually south) is the Kowloon Tong section of Waterloo Road.

Anyway, once Page has secured himself to his zip line, he proceeds to launch himself into the abyss with his trusty bit of old carpet as his brake.

We're left with a nice view to the west that takes in the ridge line along to Beacon Hill in the distance. Note that the track that runs along the ridge is actually now part of the famous MacLehose Trail (stage 5 to be precise) mapped out by the Ghurkas in the late 1970's (it officially opened as a hiking trail in 1979).

If you look at the bottom of the second picture you can see the bare concrete surface of the reservoir where page did his test run featured in the previous post.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Lion Rock High Level No.2 Primary Service Reservoir, Kowloon

The place where Grant Page decides to work out the kinks in his climbing rope is the Lion Rock High Level No.2 Primary Service Reservoir. It's a reservoir, like many in the area, that the clever engineers at the Water Supplies Dept (W.S.D) have covered with a concrete roof and turned the roof section into a usable piece of recreational land. In this case the space above the reservoir is currently the site of a 'Little league' baseball ground referred to by the Little League players as Lion Rock 2.

In the film it looks as though it may have been newly completed because of the utter bareness of the thing and the fact that the retaining wall slope is completely free of vegetation. These days you can't even see the thing thanks to natural growth.

Iconic Lion Rock in the background

Once at the reservoir, Page attaches a hook to his climbing rope and proceeds to climb each step on the shaved hillside (each one about 30 ft high) by using his rope as a grapple. Giving it a good heave each time to get it to catch on the lip of the concrete above. All quite impressive.

Who needs the Peak Tram when you have a rope, a grappling hook and a penchant for danger? Page makes it to the top of the retaining wall and ponders the best method on getting back down. Well, I guess as one of the world's foremost experts at vertical zip-lining, the answer is an easy one. So he fixes the rope to the top of the hill and plunges forth using a bit of old carpet to stop his hands from burning to the bone.

We get a quick glimpse of the curved road near Lion Rock Tunnel (top picture) before Page hurls himself off the top in a quick taster of what he does later on Lion Rock.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Boundary Street, Kowloon City

On another part of Page's trip up into the hills we see him driving back the other way, this time along Boundary Street near to Kowloon City. I didn't realise that the flyover system had been here for so long, but here is Grant Page riding his motorcycle over it back in 1974.

Interestingly a couple of the background buildings are still around. The high rise (well, at least it was considered a high rise back in the 70's) on the right is Sheffield Garden (brand new in 1974) located on the corner of Boundary Street and College Road and the older building behind Page's head is an old mansion block - built in 1956 - that occupies 188-190 Boundary Street and (on the left hand side) 314-318 Prince Edward Road West. It doesn't have a name but you can see both buildings on the following grab from Streetview (above left of the blue truck).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Wong Tai Sin Estate, Kowloon

During the film, Page decides it would be a good idea to do a zip line stunt from the top of Lion Rock. In preparation for his stunt he has bought a locally made rope and takes it up into the Kowloon hills to work out the kinks in the rope (literally) with a practice. On the way, he drives past Wong Tai Sin Estate on his motorcycle.

Page is driving along Lung Cheung Road with the old (now demolished) buildings of Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate in the background and a rather empty looking background behind him. I've included a Streetview grab of roughly the same view today. According to Wiki, it seems most of the blocks were demolished in the late 90's. Not too long ago in the general scheme of things. Also note the original Pai Lau/Pai Fong (the ornate archway) that has since been replaced by a newer version, although the new one stands in roughly the same spot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Mount Austin Road, The Peak

Back again to Mt Austin Road (we were just here with The Man From Hong Kong), or at least the small nameless road that links it with Lugard Road by the 'Umbrella Seat'. In this instance, Page is up to some kung fu shenanigans with movie actor Carter Wong.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Golden Studios, Kowloon

Throughout the course of the film, Page manages to conduct a fair amount of interviews including several at what appears to be Golden Harvest's Golden Studios in Diamond Hill where Stoner was being filmed with George Lazenby and Angela Mao. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally Lazenby was to appear in The Man From Hong Kong. Anyway, Page gets to catch up with him and a few others and have a chat in the now-redeveloped studio grounds.

Page also catches up with André Morgan - who should be a well known name and face to anyone who knows their stuff about the Hong Kong film industry. Incidentally, Morgan also had a cameo role in The Man From Hong Kong as a roof top guard as well as being executive producer on it.

Finally he also has a chat with one of the guys responsible for the English dubbing of the movies. AP tells me his name is Michael Ross. He's rockin' a great pair of summer-unfriendly dungarees and I wonder what he is up to these days?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - The Peninsula Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui

A quick glimpse of the front of Kowloon's famous waterfront hotel. Sadly there's not much to note because the camera is looking at the wrong place - change since 1974 being the addition of the high rise office tower in the middle of the building and of course the addition of the underground garage and the changes to the forecourt to facilitate its construction.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Hong Kong Police Training Ground, Wong Chuk Hang

Well, we were here for The Man From Hong Kong and no doubt this little snippet was taken around the same time as we see some police being put through their training. It's a far cry from today's standards where it has just been announced that the fitness test for new recruits has been made easier to allow the less fit but more politically compliant recruit to join i.e. fat bastards are welcome as long as they have no qualms about hitting student protesters on the head with extendable truncheons...

The current fitness requirements for selection include:

Vertical Jump - 53.3 cm (male), 38.1 cm (female), Shuttle Run (10M x 10) 24.8 sec (m), 28.1 sec (f), Pull Up 7 times (m) 9 times (f- modified version).

As from October 2015 the test will drop pull-ups in favour of 'grip strength' and the shuttle run will be lowered from 10M x 10 to 10M x 4). So expect to see a lot more physically unfit coppers on the streets of HK as of the end of the year. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - St Andrew's Church, Tsim Sha Tsui

A quick clip of a kung fu practitioner jumping around and generally being active in front of St Andrew's Church in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Now, anyone who has read my various posts about Bruce Lee on my other blog will know that he trained here for a very short time in 1959 under the tutelage of a northern style kung fu master called Siu Hon Sang (邵漢生). The deal was that Bruce would study a few flashy northern forms in return for teaching 'Uncle Siu' how to do the Cha Cha, but Lee mastered the forms so quickly that Siu never had the chance to learn anything in return.

Now, I may be mistaken but I believe that the old chap in the very top picture may in fact be Siu Hon Sang, he certainly looks like him and he is the only person I have heard of to teach martial arts in the church grounds. What do you think? A nice coincidence if I am correct and if anyone is familiar with Mr Siu please feel free to comment.