Friday, 31 March 2017

Soldier of Fortune - Clark Gable (1955) - Behind the Scenes Photograph, Barker Road Peak Tram Stop

Another little picture that I found courtesy of a glossy celebratory magazine released in 1988 by the Peak Tram Company to celebrate 100 years of the Peak Tram.

The caption to the photo reads:
On location at Barker Road station for "Soldier of Fortune" in the 1950s, Clark Gable with John Arnold of the Peak Tramway Co.
The film was shot during November and December of 1954. Barker Road was seen twice in the film, once at the beginning as Gable surveys the view and once more at the end when Susan Hayward's character decides to stay with him in Hong Kong and goes to meet him there.

Hayward was famously unable to make it to Hong Kong to film her on-location scenes (her ex-husband had a court order issued preventing her from taking their children overseas) and so a double, Dale Logue, was used as her stand in. Hayward's close ups and dialogue scenes were all filmed back in the US studio.

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Hennessy Road, Wanchai

More of the car chase as the ambulance heads down Hennessy Road before making the left hand turn into Canal Road West underneath the flyover. Note that all the buildings along here have been replaced. Not a single pavement column remains as far as I am aware.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Amsterdam Kill - Robert Mitchum (1977) - Clipping from April 1977

Following on from my Revenge of the Pink Panther clipping, the previous year saw Robert Mitchum and co-stars also staying at the Peninsula Hotel whilst they were filming the Hong Kong scenes for The Amsterdam Kill. This clipping is from the April 1977 issue of The Peninsula Group Magazine.

At the time the Hongkong Hotel - where Bradford Dillman stayed - was part of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels group and so also got a fair bit of coverage in this in-house magazine.

Revenge of the Pink Panther - Peter Sellers (1978) - Clipping from August 1978

Here is a small snippet from the Peninsula Group's in-house magazine from the late 1970's. The text explains it all but I thought it deserved a wider audience seeing as the magazine it's in in nearly 40 years old and this may be one of the only remaining copies.
It looks like the film crew had no expense spared if the clipping means that all 96 of them got to stay in the Peninsula Hotel! Given the use of the Excelsior Hotel in the film, I had just assumed everyone had stayed there. Anyway, a nice bit of film history rediscovered.

You can see my Revenge of the Pink Panther posts here. Of course the Peninsula Hotel itself has been used multiple time as a film location, another rather tenuous link is that Julie Andrews starred in the Sound of Music and its director, Robert Wise, was filming The Sand Pebbles in Hong Kong when he found out the former had won the Best Picture Oscar at the 1966 Academy Awards.

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong

Immediately after Garden Road we see the vehicles - in a rare show of movie geographical accuracy - pull out onto Queen's Road Central. This was before the right turn (towards Wanchai) was replaced by a flyover.

This shot actually captures the former Hong Kong cricket ground (closed in 1975) undergoing its transformation into the now rather bleak and overly-concreted Chater Garden, which I believe opened the following year in 1978. Sorry, but in my Western-oriented foreign-deviled mind I am forever destined to associate the word "garden" with things like grass and the colour green rather than a drab grey and a proliferation of concrete. In Hong Kong, as long as it was built using Li Ka-shing's "Green Island" cement than that is about as green as it needs to be.

Anyway, note the very elegant and still standing Hong Kong club in the background. That was to stick around fora few more years before its eventual redevelopment. You can also spot the lower floors of the Furama Hotel at the back. And a little further along the road (see below) we get to glance back and can see the Hilton Hotel as well as what looks like a newly constructed Murray Road car park on the right.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Garden Road, Central

Following on from the journey down Robinson Road, all the cars turn left and head down the hill along Garden Road with the Botanical Gardens on the left hand side. In the second photo we can just see a glimpse of some of the buildings that sit inside the Government House compound. The lower picture shows the bottom of Garden Road as the ambulance drives past the Murray Building (with the big arches - currently being converted into a hotel) and the old Hilton Hotel that was replaced by the Cheung Kong Centre in the 90's.

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Robinson Road, Central

The chase continues along a main road and all the cars converge at a curved junction. This one was quite tricky to find but I got there in the end. It doesn't help that the whole road has been redeveloped since then and in fact you can see some of the redevelopment work going on in the film. In the top picture.

Believe it or not this is the circular junction where Robinson Road joins onto Garden Road next to Garden Terrace. The two bits under construction in the top picture are the beginnings of the concrete supports for the elevated road that now crosses here.

The second picture (above) shows the buildings that used to stand where Garden Terrace and No.1 Garden Terrace now stand. I am not familiar with the history of this area but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the terrace always went by that name, especially when you consider that it overlooks the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Here is a modern day comparison of the second picture courtesy of Streetview.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Square Street, Sheung Wan

In one of those strange time/space movie wormholes, after catching up along Hollywood Road, the action suddenly leaps back to Square Street right next to Man Mo Temple as a bunch of school kids and their lollipop man are nearly run over by the speeding vehicles.

It looks like the building that can be seen at the bottom of Square Street in the second picture once occupied part of what is now the back of the temple. I had no idea it encroached so far into the back of the temple until now. These days it looks like a new building has been joined onto the temple at that section and the outer wall has been completely rebuilt.

In the lower picture, the green building at the back is still there and you may or may not remember me talking about it previously during the I Spy posts.

Thomas, also recently left a message about the man playing the lollipop man, Mui Yan. Here's his comment below:
Talking about Mui Yan, he was multi-talented. He acted, was also a voice actor. He had an electronic appliance shop in Causeway opposite the President Cinema in the 1980s where I bought my first Sony Walkman there, and he used to be a Barber in a Shanghainese barber shop in Causeway Bay.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Aberdeen Street, Central

As A-Cheung drives his stolen ambulance down Hollywood Road, Saxon tries to cut him off by taking the higher road and turning into Aberdeen Street. I'm not certain, but I suspect this may have been the only time double-decker bus has driven down this street - it's gradient isn't really conducive to a safe journey, especially when you consider how awful at driving most HK bus drivers tend to be (their feet are either on the accelerator or the brake - often in quick succession).

Anyway, the buildings at the side are the Police Married Quarters that have been recently re-adapted as the PMQ.

That's the junction with Hollywood Road at the bottom, the last time we saw this place on here it was when Burt Kwouk was racing down it on a Dairy Farm ice cream vending motorbike as Kato in the Revenge of the Pink Panther - filmed a year later in 1978.

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Hollywood Road, Central

There are quite a few scenes in the car chase that I just can't quite place at the moment, but this one wasn't too hard to find. It's the section of Hollywood Road where in joins with Lyndhurst Terrace.

It looks fairly drab compared to the modern Streetview shot but is identifiable by the old shophouse at the back that is still around on the corner of Peel Street. I seem to remember the famous drink shop on the ground floor was faced with eviction a few years back because the landlord wanted to do the typical landlord thing and jack up the rent by 500%,but I think common sense reigned in the end. I haven't been this way for a while but I think it's still there.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Kwong Fung Lane, Shek Tong Tsui

There is a bit of a snarl up around the corner on Kwong Fung Lane as the various cars get stuck behind an old man with his cart.

Again, you can see St Louis School on the right, and there appears to be a terrace on the opposite side.

Today there is a new development called Kwong Fung Terrace so I suspect that this was probably also the name of the area before it was redeveloped. Sadly as you can (or can't) see, the road sign is obscured by the railings but my money is on it saying Kwong Fung Terrace.

Interestingly the tenements that can be seen at the top of the road (behind the ambulance) have been ripped down and replaced with...a playground! (see Streetview below).

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Third Street, Shek Tong Tsui

As the chase develops, we see the ambulance and various following vehicles charge down Third Street past a couple of famous local schools. The first one we see is the tail end of St Anthony's (top picture on the right with the red window decoration) and immediately next to it you can just make out the window shades/ledges of St Louis Industrial School next door. We get a better view of St Louis' as the camera moves further down Third Street. The school actually occupies the whole space to the right of the road, even back at the 90 degree bend that can be seen at the back of picture two.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Pok Fu Lam Road Bus Terminus, Kennedy Town

The start of what has to be the film's action centre piece - a car versus bus chase through Hong Kong streets - kicks off at the bus terminus along Pok Fu Lam Road just opposite Pokfield Road. A-Cheung narrowly escapes being kidnapped by the baddies (led by Roy Chiao) and makes his escape in a hospital ambulance quickly followed by his captors, and Henry Silva steals a yellow double-decker bus and chases after them all.

The building on the opposite side of the road in the third image is 10-16 Pokfield Rd, a residential building that is still around. The terrace with the car parked on it is still a car park but the brick retaining wall looks to have been hacked away at the end and replaced by a covered walkway that loops down into Pokfield Road.

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Peak Road, The Peak

This is the junction where Peak Road is joined by Barker Road and Guildford Road. The buildings at the back are the former 2 Barker Road  and 1 Barker Road, neither of which exist anymore.

I thought this would be a good time to compare the DVD versus the Bluray versions of this film. It's a great way to show how the buildings that are visible in the DVD version get cut off in the Bluray. I didn't get the exact same point for the second screencap but you can still see the difference.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Craigmin Road, The Peak

The fashion designer with whom Silva is trying to strike a deal lives in a nice house up on the Peak somewhere. I'm still not sure about the house's actual location (I'll stick it up on my help page later) but the road where A-Cheung heads up the driveway is in fact next to 62-66 Peak Road. The sloping road is actually Craigmin Road.

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay

Silva's contact for the espionage deal is a fashion designer and they first make contact at one of his shows being held at what we are led to believe is the World Trade Centre (built 1975) in Causeway Bay. Here is the establishing shot that shows us the front as well as the Excelsior Hotel next door. Sadly, the Excelsior has closed and is currently (April 2020) still being demolished.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Foxbat - Henry Silva (1977) - Ma Nam Wat, Sai Kung

The baddies (which include a very young Melvin Wong) have a secret base on a fish farm in the New Territories. After a bit of looking around it looks as though this particular one was floating in front of Ma Nam Wat just outside of Hebe Haven. If the name of the place rings a bell it might be because this was also the area where Jack Palance filmed some of Kill a Dragon a decade earlier. There is still a fish farm in the same location today.