Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Repulse Bay, Hong Kong

The helicopter scenes are all over the place, as you will find out over the next few posts. Here is a rather nice shot as the chopper flies through Repulse Bay. You can see the old Repulse Bay Hotel that was unceremoniously demolished in the 1980's to make way for the famous (well, at least famous for the hole in the building with the total nonsense story about it being for a fung shui dragon to pass through) "The Repulse Bay" apartments. Not to be confused with the block you can see in the pictures which is the earlier built "Repulse Bay Apartments".

The other block you can see on the right of the second picture is "Repulse Bay Towers" and "Repulse Bay Mansions" are the lower ones in front. So, basically, all the ugly stuff is still around but the very picturesque hotel has been replaced by a replica mall. "Replaced by a mall" must be one of the most overused phrases on this blog, sadly. *sigh*

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - The Peak, Hong Kong

So, on with the helicopter search and a nice bit of nostalgia to begin with as the chopper flies over the upper Peak Tram terminus and the previous version of the viewing tower. Unfortunately I missed this earlier version by just a couple of years because it was demolished in 1993. By the time I arrived for my first trip in Nov '95 the current 'flying wok' version was still under scaffolding but pretty much completed.

The current Peak Galleria isn't that much older, opening in 1992, but here we can see its precursor - a development called 'Peak Mansions'. Built in 1928 they were around 50 years old when this film was made and there is some further information over on Gwulo.com. Like many other sites in HK, an elegant historical building has been torn down and replaced by a mall.

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Central Helicopter Landing Pad, Hong Kong

For want of a better name (please feel free to suggest a more accurate one), this is the former site of the helicopter landing pad in front of Caine House that has since been covered over by construction where Lung Wo and Lung Wui roads meet in front of the CITIC building. You can see the actual place on this previous post courtesy of Yellowthread Street (scroll to the bottom of the post). This post isn't very interesting to be honest, but it sets up the following few posts which all involve aerial shots around the territory and I thought it was interesting to see the Prince of Wales Building over in HMS Tamar as it was nearing completion. The building was finally opened in 1978 and you can see it in the background of the screen grabs below still covered in scaffolding.

You can also spot the upper sections of Hutchinson House and the greatly missed Furama Hotel at the bottom left of the middle picture.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Wong Tai Sin Temple, Kowloon

Ching Chun Koon wasn't the only temple featured in this film, we also get a reasonable tour around Wong Tai Sin in Kowloon.

Later on we get a look of the ornamental Pai lau that fronts the temple complex on Lung Cheung Road. This is the version that is currently still in place next to Lung Cheung Plaza (actually, the mall has recently undergone a renovation and is now named 'Temple Plaza'). I don't know when this version was installed because the previous one is visible on Kung Fu Killers filmed around 4 years earlier. You can see it in this post here. So, sometime between 1974 and 1978 the current version was put in.

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Various other shots in and around Aberdeen to make up this post. We start off with a decent aerial view of the western end of the harbour with a fair amount of empty space on the Hong Kong side of the water. The lower right looks like it is probably part of the former HK Electric power station that has since been replaced by South Horizons (soon to get its own MTR stop courtesy of the south island extension).

After Spidey takes his fall into the murky Aberdeen Harbour waters, he is rescued and carted off down Cheng Tu Road and into Ka Shing Mansion for his recovery. Ka Shing Mansion is still around but the building we see in the first picture has been replaced by Ping On House. In fact, it looks very much like we are witnessing the imminent demolition of the older building in the upper picture because of all the pavement protection that has been erected. Its replacement was built in 1978 which gives a more accurate reflection of the year the film was shot. Notice that the Tai Pak was sitting directly opposite out in the water.

Ka Shing Mansion

We also catch a glimpse of the next road over, Tung Sing Road, and the thriving street market that it used to host. Actually, this isn't the first time we have seen this market because it made an appearance (at a higher definition) in Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold.

And we finish off with a shot on the harbour itself with the Tai Pak in the background. Sadly no sign of the Sea Palace in this film although I am sure it must have been around.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen

A significant proportion of filming took place on the famous Jumbo floating restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour. It seems to be the villain's favourite place to do business giving us some nice glimpses around Aberdeen as a whole.

I'll do a smaller Aberdeen post next, but I thought it was worth dedicating a single post to the Jumbo because I've never seen it used so much in a film before. Plus there is a neat stunt at the end when Spidey gets hit by a tranquiliser dart and takes a dive off the top of the restaurant into those rather disgusting Aberdeen Harbour waters.

It's also interesting to note that when this filming took place, the restaurant was actually positioned right next to the waterfront. Was it undergoing some sort of repair? Given that this (and the Tai Pak) usually sits on some rather hefty wooden piles (no, sorry kids, this restaurant doesn't normally 'float' at all) I doubt the position was at the request of the TV movie production company.

Some shots of the interior

Restaurant positioned along the Aberdeen Waterfront...but why?

And finally some shots around the roof - which went on to become a restaurant called Top Deck by Cafe Deco. It closed a few years ago but I don't know if anything replaced it. I almost made it there once but just before we arrived it started chucking it down with rain, so we cancelled. Not long after that it closed down...oh well. The following is a great shot taken from the roof showing, quite clearly, the old Police Station on the hillside at the back. Pretty much every film shot in Aberdeen has this building somewhere in the background.

And then Spidey gets shot and a rather brave stuntman takes the fall into the water.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Ching Chun Koon, Tuen Mun

It looks as though the film makers didn't just shoot film in HK and the US, because there is a sneaky bit of footage from Singapore that has been snuck in there in the hope that no one will notice. The scene involves the heroes setting up a meet between themselves and a family uncle. The temple in question is actually Ching Chun Koon in Tuen Mun as we see at the end of the sequence when they all get into a car parked in the forecourt. It's been used a couple of times on this blog before for Enter the Dragon and That Man Bolt.

It's a bit difficult finding interior photographs at this temple, but the few I found do seem to confirm that they filmed inside, but to be 100% I will need to make a return trip. However, the exterior shots are definitely there as you can see below.

And to finish off, here is the opening shots of the sequence that was actually taken at the main entrance to the Chinese Gardens at Jurong Lake in Singapore. I'm not sure if this is stock footage or shot specifically for the film, I suspect the former but you never know.

Not Hong Kong!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Park Lane Hotel, Gloucester Road

It looks as though Spidey is staying at the Park Lane Hotel along Gloucester Road where it overlooks neighbouring Victoria Park. I don't know much about this hotel other than it has a rather nice bar at the top with nice views over the harbour. But to be honest, I haven't been there since the 1990's so have no idea if they still let in the riff-raff like myself.

According to a Chinese wiki entry the hotel was constructed in 1974 and opened the following year as the 華都酒店 - transliterated as the Waldo Hotel. I'm not sure when the name change happened but it was definitely the Park Lane back in 95/96. The screencap below shows the name Hotel Plaza and I am scratching my head trying to figure out if this was the official English name or a subsequent change after opening. Perhaps one of you folks out there can clarify.

Anyway, it's a brief look as the camera pans down and then follows a car off up the road. The surrounding buildings haven't changed much since filming.

Thankfully the hotel has decided to at least try and hide the goddamn fugly lower section of concrete with some strategically placed metal work, but you can still see the hexagonal ports hiding behind.

We then follow the car as it drives north (towards the harbour) along this section of Gloucester Road.

You can see from the Streetview below that, other than the colour scheme, little has changed.

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - Central Waterfront, Hong Kong

The following screen grabs show a decent swathe of the Central Waterfront prior to the reclamation that saw the Connaught Road ousted from its long-standing position next to the harbour (of course the road didn't move, the waterfront did). We'll start off with a couple of nice harbour shots showing some very small boats bobbing up and down in the harbour. In all honesty, I'm not sure if any of these smaller boats are brave enough to risk going into the harbour these days with all the big boats passing through, but I rarely go there these days despite it being just a few kilometres away. Note Jardine House (formerly the Connaught Centre) centre screen in the top picture followed by a closer view of the General Post Office (with Jardine House being) in the lower picture.

The next few pictures though show the various piers that used to sit along the waterfront. Starting with the outer-island piers (top picture) and moving over past the vehicular ferry pier (left side of picture 2/right side of picture 3) to rest upon the dogleg shape of the final version of Blake Pier and one of the Star Ferry piers. Of course reclamation has long since removed these from their original locations, but the Star Ferry did manage to survive here until 2006.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge - Nicholas Hammond (1979) - The Peak Tram, Central

Various scenes in and around Hong Kong's famous Peak Tram including the lower tram terminus, part of the track showing Century Tower and the view looking down from the upper tram terminus.

A word of warning, watch out for the taxi drivers who currently hang around the lower terminus. They will offer to take you up to the peak off the meter and will charge you a fortune. If you want to catch a cab up there after all, make sure it is done by the meter.