Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing - William Holden (1955) - Arrowhead, Deepwater Bay

As part of the fun and frolics in the sand, the couple decide to swim over to Suyin's friends house that just happens to be on the other side of the bay. In reality the geography is pretty much spot on because the house they swim to, Arrowhead as it was called, used to be on the other side of the water (although a bit further along than implied) of Deepwater Bay.

There are also a few closeups of the stone staircase that leads to the water, as Holden and Jones run up them. Sadly for us, the rest of the scenes supposedly filmed inside the house were actually studio sets back at 20th Century Fox.

Built in 1953, the building was only a couple of years old when the film crew captured its exterior and according to a commentator on, the film stars also stayed here when they were filming - I imagine it would have just been for a couple of nights maximum whilst all the Deepwater Bay shots were completed.

It's unclear when the building was demolished but the rocky promontory it sat on is still intact, however, it now houses a small luxury development called 34 Island Road. Additionally, the area on the seaward side has been extended to facilitate the construction of the Seaview Promenade.


  1. Here is Arrowhead in a somewhat blurry photo taken in the same time frame of '53-'55:

  2. It's a nice shot showing the other side of the building, many thanks.

  3. "Arrowhead" was conceived and constructed by the Macau - born Portuguese Architect, Alfredo Victor Jorge Álvares, Hon. F.A.I.A, on the rocky Promontory of a water's-edge site acquired by the Architect for the specific purpose of the construction of his own Family Residence. This well-known HK Mid-Century 1950s structure, nestled on the western edge of Deep Water Bay where the sandy shore meets the deep green hills, was chosen, as a filming location for several scenes in the 1955 film adaptation of the Han Suyin Novel, "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing", by the Hollywood Producers/Directors: Buddy Adler/Henry King. Overlooking Deep Water Bay & opposite Shousen Hill at 34, Island Road, in the Southern District of Hong Kong Island, this imposing mid-20th - Century Modern reinforced-concrete structure incorporated many striking design elements/accents, e.g., red brick on much of the imposing exterior central structure, utilised glass blocks of different hues, as well as imported Italian tiles (which were both a favored and prominent stylistic element in many of his other Architectural Projects: cf. the mosaic - mural Façade over the Ice House Street entrance of his 12-storey "Club Lusitano Building" in Central, HK (c.1967; viz., a mosaic tile work, depicting "The 1513 Portuguese Landing at Tamāo/Macau by Jorge Álvares"); cf. the central block Façade mosaic work, "Fortuna" of the 1962 "Hotel Estoril" Casino - Resort overlooking Tap Seac Square in Macau--both mosaics which were the work of the Italian Artist - Sculptor - Designer Oseo Acconci*; cf. the mid-1970s HK Residence of Textiles Magnate Mohan Murjani*). Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water," many design features quite unique for the 1950s Design Syllabus were included in the Architecture of "Arrowhead": Interior Ramps connecting the 3 interior levels; a very broad 12 - foot wide fully-tiled 1st-floor wrap-around balcony/outdoor living - entertaining area cantilevered over the shoreline and extending over what was the final unique design element....; the lagoon - proportioned Indoor/Outdoor Bathing-pool--incorporating fountains, grotto & also itself cantilevered over the promontory/shoreline, fully-laid in hand-painted Italian mosaic tiles-- (and surrounded by a sprawling landscape of Japanese Gardens, including a fully self-contained functioning Japanese - motif Guest House with separate entrance) which was the first private residential pool to be designed/constructed in Hong Kong. As a consequence of the filming of "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" at "Arrowhead", Al & his wife May formed many lasting friendships/associations not only with the lead Actor, William Holden & his wife Ardis (Brenda Marshall), but also with many of Holden's & the Producers'/Directors' Hollywood connections: Clarke Gable, Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland, David Niven, Shirley Maclaine, and most notably Holden's close-friend & loving companion, actress Stephanie Powers. Hong Kong's "Arrowhead" and its enduring Memories & Associations are Unmistakably Emblematic of the Golden 1950s - Era Hollywood Fascination with Rich and Exotic Crosscurrents of Occident & Orient...especially in the approaching Twilight of the Colonial Era.***


    1. Hi C.C.C, thanks for that detailed piece of information. Is it taken from a book? Regards, Phil

    2. I forgot to ask if you knew which building Mr Álvares was the architect for on Robinson Road. Holden supposedly bought the penthouse there. Many thanks. Phil