Sunday, August 30, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Tai Wong Street West, Wanchai

The small lane that Gong Li walks along as she is out searching for Irons is located in Wanchai. It's the southern end of Tai Wong Street West where it pops out onto Queen's Road East. It's not a difficult one to find given the angle of Central Plaza in the background.

The current Streetview image is below. It hasn't really changed much, in fact it's probably the very same newspaper hawker stand at the end.

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Statue Square, Central

The location of Cheung's confrontation with her 'supposed' ex-boyfriend (played by Jared Harris).

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong

At a point in the film, Irons runs after Cheung in an attempt to interview her for some personal project. They run out of the building, situated on Wellington Street, down to the junction with Queen's Road Central before Irons character starts to feel ill and stops on the pedestrian island that sits at the junction with Queen's Road Central and the top end of Bonham Strand.

So first we see a brief glimpse of the back of the Kam On Building at the end of Wellington Street.

The blue/white striped hoarding in the background is covering the in-progress constructions of Grand Millenium Plaza which includes Cosco Tower that was finished in 1997. Moving across the road to the island is where Irons starts to lag because of his illness. The upper picture below shows the camera looking down the curve of Queen's Road Central, whilst the lower picture of Maggie Cheung shows Bonham Strand just where it joins with Jervois Street.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - Lok Ma Chau Loop, Lok Ma Chau

Okay I'm being a bit cheeky here because it's not the location we see on screen but rather the area that can be seen on the board at the back of the room. Here's the grab.

The board at the back lists the area as somewhere called "Stony Spur". I have no idea if the local British Army parlance described the area as such - and I hope someone who actually served on border duty will be able to enlighten us all - but it seems to me that the big bit sticking down is in fact the area that is known as the Lok Ma Chau Loop.

The area has been the source of some controversy of late because even though it is still officially on the other side of the border, the HK Govt (no doubt salivating about all the bribes they will get for awarding contracts to various developers) agreed to take over he management of the place because it sits on our side of the Shenzhen river. It's...complicated.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Club BBoss, Tsim Sha Tsui

One of Hong Kong's premiere hostess bars closed in 2012. The founder of the club and owner of the building in which it was housed (the New Mandarin Plaza in East TST) decided he could get more money letting the space to other commercial interested and so the club was closed.

I do remember the massive neon sign that used to shine down from the building but I had no idea that they used to have a small car inside driving people around. Oh dear, what a sheltered life I have obviously been leading...

Anyway, in the film it's where Irons gets invited to by Gong Li so they can indulge in some mutual self appreciation.

If you're wondering where the entrance used to be it was on the side of the building that fronted Science Museum Square. Streetview is obviously several years old for this area at the moment (2011 I would guess) so we can still see the old entrance even though it has now gone.

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - Kowloon Park Chinese Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui

In a rather strange scene involving Loudon Wainwright 3rd as an obnoxious American tourist, we find ourselves at some sort of alfresco dining and dance experience. In reality it's the Chinese garden at Kowloon Park.

Other than a different roof on this pavilion, the garden hasn't really changed at all. If I manage to make it down there at some point I'll try and take a decent comparison shot seeing as Streetview has yet to venture into these kind of places.

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - King's College, Western Street

The official address of King's College is actually Bonham Road, however our view courtesy of the film is of the large double door entrance at the end of the complex along Western Street. The arched doorway at the back is one of several that overlook the inner sports ground.

Here's a Streetview grab of the same door, it looks like it has had a new frame fitted but other than that not much has changed.

The school is one of HK's oldest and most prestigious and has several noted alumni including Stanley Kwan - the creator of HK's famous Hang Seng Index - and the tosspot who masquerades as Hong Kong's current Chief Executive, Leung Chung D7689 (or something like that...).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Woodside, Quarry Bay

The large house that Irons is taken to by Maggie Cheung as she searches for remnants of her (probably made up) former life is better know as 'Woodside'. Sometimes referred to as the Red House, it's a former accommodation building for senior staff who were employed at the Tai Koo Sugar Refinery.

The refinery was demolished in the early 1970's (to be replaced largely by the Tai Koo Shing estate) and the Woodside building is one of the few remnants from those days.

These days it has been turned into the Woodside Biodiversity Education Centre and the ground floor is pretty much completely accessible for all those who make the short but steep journey up the hill. It's well worth a look if you are interested.

Anyway, here are the film captures.

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung

Whoops! When I did this earlier post featuring Fuk Hing Bridge in Pak Tam Chung, I had yet to identify another location from the same episode (Lifelines) that has turned out to be just up the road from the Fuk Hing Bridge.

The location is supposedly the border fence portion where the Illegal Immigrants break through what appears to be a large storm drain by using a car jack to bend the bars of the drain grill.

The "drain" is actually a cleverly disguised bridge that carries Tai Mong Tsai Road over the Lung Hang stream a little further north from the Fuk Hing Bridge. The props department for the show have constructed a fake concrete wall blocking the arch of the bridge and installed an authentic wire fence to make it look like the real closed border area. So I give the props department their..props! It had me fooled for a few days.

If you want to see the exact location on the map, just click on the location link at the bottom of the post.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Mount Austin Road, The Peak

This place keeps cropping up every so often. It's the nameless connecting road between Mount Austin Road and Lugard Road up by the old umbrella seat.

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - Tsim Sha Tsui Harbourfront, Kowloon

In case anyone wondered what the TST harbourfront looked like before the Avenue of Stars came along and ruined it all, here is a quick glimpse. For your information it was just the same except with less tat and fewer people crouched on the floor.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - South Wall Road, Kowloon City

The next scene involves Irons and Gong Li heading up to a rooftop in Kowloon City to watch the planes come roaring by as they land at the nearby Kai Tak Airport. Thankfully, the rather unique configuration of road around here allows us to see that they were on the roof top of #452 Prince Edward Road West at the junction with South Wall Road.

 Given the amount of change in this are over the past 10 years it's a bit surprising that we can identify anything at all, but the various elevated sections of Prince Edward Road and Argyle Street put us right at the far edge of Kowloon City. Sadly, the curved building immediately next door to their location (right side, bottom pic) has since been redeveloped into a high-rise monstrosity called Prince Ritz (Hong Kong residential building names are increasingly pretentious), however, the blue painted building in the background is still around and is the Katherine Building. The higher building in the far distance above Gong Li's head is the Astoria - located next to the Kowloon City Police Station along Argyle Street.

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - The Jouster 2 Pub, Hart Avenue

Many thanks to Gweilo8888 for telling me the position of this next location. He mentioned in an earlier post that The Jouster 2 pub was located in the Hart Avenue Court building along Hart Avenue.

Anyway, here is the screencap for those who wish to reminisce about getting drunk in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

We see Irons crossing Peking Road next to Larry Jewelry before heading over to Nathan Road as well.

Lots of familiar shop signs there for anyone who has been to this part of town, but the Alfred Dunhill shop in the second to last picture was actually based in the ground floor of the old Hyatt Hotel (originally The President Hotel) that was demolished in 2006 to make way for the iSquare mall currently standing there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - Ching Yan Lee Chiu Chow Restaurant sign, Tsim Sha Tsui

Not really a location as such, but a quick grab of a couple of neon signs that we are led to believe are near the location where Tucker's wife goes to have her back street abortion. The back street in question turns out to be 10 Hau Fook Street in Tsim Sha Tsui because one of the neon signs (red one on the right) outside the building is advertising a Chiu Chow restaurant that was still around until just last year.

The Chinese writing on the right reads (from top to bottom): 正仁利 潮州 菜館 - with the two smaller characters referring to the Chiuchow nature of the cuisine. This place is now listed as closed on Open Rice but the most recent review of the food was posted in Feb of 2014. Judging by the low ratings I'm surprised this place lasted so long.

Chinese Box - Jeremy Irons (1997) - Gloucester Road, Wanchai

A couple of shots from different parts of the film (though possibly filmed at the same time) that involve the section of Gloucester Road between Stewart Road and Fleming Road. The first shot is just a random glimpse of traffic looking west along the road towards the Fleming Road flyover.

The second shot filmed in the same place but is looking south towards the old Wanchai Police Station and occurs when Irons is on a minibus with Maggie Cheung just before she storms off out the back door.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Soldier, Soldier - Robson Green (1992) - Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

There's a scene where Tucker's (Robson Green's character) wife, Donna, queues up to catch the bus into Sai Kung. The bus route and sign seem to be in order - because there is a #94 bus that runs between Sai Kung and Wong Shek Pier - but the place she is catching it is way off the mark: Haiphong Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.

KMB #94 to Sai Kung?

Haiphong Road is quite easy to recognise due to the shading banyans on the north side of the road (where Rosie Rowell, who plays Donna, is standing) along with the old wall that marks the southern boundary of what was Whitfield Barracks but is now more commonly known as Kowloon Park.

Perhaps the bus sign was a spare that the local production company had lying around? Or perhaps in 1992, the bus did actually go this far? I can't comment on the latter because it is before my time but I suspect the more likely reason is the former.

Anyway, never mind. Here is the modern Streetview grabs for comparison. The white building at the background of the first picture is the Kowloon Centre over on Ashley Road.