Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Deepwater Bay, Hong Kong

After disappearing into the tunnels of Sai Wan Fort, another bit of geographical trickery takes place as the gang exit from a small door in, of all places, Deepwater Bay. The first two pictures are looking over to Shouson Hill area (top picture) and then Brick Hill (second picture) more familiar to tourists these days as the hill with the Ocean Park logo on it.

This second pair of screen grabs show the view looking from the coastline of Hong Kong over towards the headland (now Ocean Park) behind Berick Hill with Middle Island in the middle distance.

You'll notice that Ursula Andres is running down some stone steps in the second picture. It turns out that despite extensive re-engineering of the shoreline (to construct Seaview Promenade) the position on film matches exactly the current stone steps that serve as the embarkation point for those heading over to the Yacht Club on the opposite side of the channel. Check out the Streetview picture below.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Sai Wan Fort, Shau Kei Wan

Not quite the denouement of the film (I believe that was filmed on a beach on Langkawi, Malaysia) but one of the last major bursts of action sees Belmondo and crew running for their lives away from local gangsters and arriving atop Sai Wan Fort. Given how it looks now, these screen shots have to be seen to be believed because this was when there was almost no tree growth on the hill.

First we have a shot of the gang driving up the small service road that used to (and still does) lead to the fort from the vicinity of what was Lyemun barracks and is now Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village. (Film location trivia: Jackie Chan's barrack scenes for Project A Part 2 were filmed there). The bay at the back is Shau Kei Wan.

Next up, the bike and its riders manage to make it to the top of the fort where they are attacked on all sides by seemingly endless hordes of contract killers.

Given the amount of tree growth now all over the hill, it's quite hard to believe that this is the old fort. Of course, these days the fort now has a radio transmitting station built on the top so I have no idea how much is still accessible. I intend to head over there at some point and try to get some comparison shots. Stay tuned. They also run around the various trenches and buildings at the fort.

Before dropping inside via an access door on top. The question is - are these the actual tunnels and passageways inside the fort? I have no idea but am hoping someone who has been inside can let us know.

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Central Skyline, Hong Kong

In a rather impressive mid-film chase sequence across some rooftops and involving scampering around, and falling off, large amounts of bamboo scaffolding (I'm sure Jackie Chan was influenced by this when he made Project A Part 2) we get to take in a fair amount of the skyline - low rise as it still was at the time - of Central.

As it is the rooftops that these guys are running around make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location but there are a couple of landmarks that give us the rough area. Here are a few of the screen grabs.

I did stitch a few pictures together and came up with the following panorama. The things to note are the Marine Department building with its small white tower almost dead centre (or far left if you look at the screen grab above). This building sat along Connaught Road and Rumsey Street. In fact you can see the gap in the buildings next to it that marks Rumsey Street. The building lasted until 1983 before being replaced by a mall that is now called Infinitus Plaza (formerly Vicwood Plaza). So given that information, and the angle on the street, I can only guess that we are somewhere around Shing Wong St area (give or take a few blocks).

Another interesting building that can be seen is the old Sun Company building at the far right of the panorama. It was a skinny building with a sort of tired rooftop and I believe was a local department store. The building ran along the length of Wing Wo Street and its modern replacement occupies that same skinny plot and is called "Sun House".

Anyway, I'm happy to accept any offers on the actual location (where the camera was) as I think my guess leaves a lot to be desired. By the way, if anyone knows what the large building was between the two I've just mentioned (it would've occupied the site of what is now Li Po Chun Chambers) then please leave a comment.

Before I forget (as I did the first time this was published), there was also a brief shot of another part of the skyline but further to the west over Sheung Wan. The picture below shows the building that Belmondo climbs out of before heading off on his rooftop jaunt. In the distance, fronting the harbour is (behind Belmondo's butt in the top picture) the Sun Kwong Hotel. If you look closely, to the left of it you can just make out one of the chimney stacks of Western Market - the gap between the two being Morrison Street.

I'm not sure what the building is in the bottom of both pictures but it's possible it is the King's College Old Boys Association Primary School (built 1958) on Bridges Street which would make the building we are on somewhere in the vicinity of today's Caravan Court/Kin Yuen Mansion on Caine Road. Corrections or guesses welcome.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Kai Tak Airport, Kowloon City

There are some interesting things to see in the (compulsory) Kai Tak shots. Including some great views over Kowloon Tsai park.

The curved road you can see in the lower pictures is the service road that still cuts into the park. You can access it via Inverness Road which is the larger road underneath the plane in the bottom picture. Just poking up at the bottom of those lower pictures are the orange roofs of the pool houses. I hadn't realised the pool had been there for so long. Some of the buildings along Inverness Road are also still around including the ones at the lower part of the picture which include Yee Court (closest to the bottom of the picture) and the Bethel Kindergarten with the sloped roof behind it on the opposite side of Dumbarton Road - actually the whole complex there is part of the Bethel Bible Seminary and is all still intact.

In the shot below the large building at the bottom of the frame is the pre-extension Munsang College and the sort-of-pinkish building centre screen is a nameless residential block that still sits on the end of Dumbarton Road where it joins Junction Road.

We'll finish with this view across the tarmac of the runway towards the old terminal building.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Cheung Chau

Well, in case you hadn't guessed it already, the fictitious "Sey Chang" is in fact Cheung Chau. I've only been to Cheung Chau a couple of times and haven't really properly explored, however, I believe there are still a few recognisable houses along the waterfront. It's probably a good excuse to head over there one day again. Anyway, here are the pictures.

 I think a few of the houses in this shot are still around including far left and far right.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Mongkok Ferry Pier, Mongkok

Until I saw this film and started investigating this location, I had no idea that there was a ferry pier in Mongkok. I knew about the old vehicular ferry pier at the end of Jordan Road but this one was a new discovery for me. You see, I also widen my knowledge about HK thanks to these films.

Anyway, after chasing the runaway king size around the southern parts of HK island for the best part of a few minutes, it finally comes to rest in front of a ferry pier. The pier is actually disguised and has a sign on the front saying (in English) "Ferry to Sey Chang".

Of course "Sey Chang" is a made up place name and the location used for it will be looked at in the next post, but anyone who reads Chinese will be able to see that the real sign above says it is the Hong Kong Island ferry service (the Chinese reads R->L): 來往香港.

Looking at an old map, I can see that the Mongkok Ferry Pier was situated at the very end of Shantung Street. So when the bed arrives, it is Shantung Street that the camera is looking up. You can compare it with the modern Streetview image at the bottom.

Shantung Street 1965
Shantung Street now

The reclamation of the harbour on the west side of the Kowloon peninsula is vast in scale and Ferry Street marks the previous demarcation between the water and dry land. There's now an additional 600 metres of land between the spot we see above and the current coastline. The reclamation actually occurred in the 1990's, but the Mongkok pier had already been removed by 1972 when it was replaced by the pier at Tai Kok Tsui. Both pier locations succumbed to the 1990's reclamation.

Luckily for us we get some good views from this film and it appears a couple of times as the protagonists head to and return from the fictitious island of Sey Chang. The shots below show part of the return journey.

The building under construction at the back is the previously mentioned Yuen Fat Building which opened properly in 1965. Other than the Yuen Fat Building and a building at 9-11 Shantung Street, every building seen in these screen shots has since been demolished and replaced. I'll leave you with a fairly good comparison with Streetview so you can see how much has really changed. You can just see the Yuen Fat Building poking out in the Streetview picture, it's the blue building at the end of the yellow line.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Stanley Beach Road, Stanley

The last post is actually a nice lead in to this one, although at the time I was scratching my head trying to place the following pictures. I ended up realising it was Stanley Beach Road and despite the massive changes to the whole area there are still some relics from the 1960's that helped with the confirmation.

The first picture shows the top of Stanley Beach Road, just after the junction with Stanley Village Road further up the hill. The house in the background seems to be a rather grand old (and very stylish) affair that has since been replaced by "Grosse Point Villa". Even the empty space behind the car has been developed into "Standford Villa". I've stuck a Streetview grab underneath for comparison.

Next up we have a view a little further down the road and we get to see it from two angles. The first shows us the view looking down the road. The large terrace on the right can also be seen in the second picture looking back up the road. The terrace is still around but it has undergone a face lift and currently has a luxury house development unpretentiously called "No.6 Stanley Beach Road". I am fairly certain that the tree on the far right in the top screen grab, is the same tree that can be seen by the black car on the right of the Streetview picture. It still has the same general shape despite losing a branch. What do you think?

Here's the view looking back up towards No.6. I wonder if any of those children on the right will get around to reading this post? They would be in their 60s by now.

The next view is a bit further along and is the angle that gave me the first clue to the location. The hill in the distance is Che Pau Teng on the Stanley Peninsula. There aren't that many places with such a view in HK surrounded by low rise houses and if you look closely you should be able to see the dormitory building of the Hong Kong Sea School just below the hill.

Finally a view looking back up the road. The white building at the back also helped me with identification because it's still around, albeit now thoroughly obscured by trees from this angle. It's Beach Mansion and it looks like that strange cubicle on the wall is still there. Those who know Stanley will realise that the right hand side of these screencaps leads to Stanley Main Beach.