Saturday, July 22, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Lung Cheung Road, Tai Wo Ping

This next one shows Lung Cheung Road next to the Shek Kip Mei Service Reservoir Playground in Tai Wo Ping. I live close by so I have been able to replicate the lower shot almost perfectly courtesy of a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Lung Cheung Road.

Look carefully and you can spot some circular objects at the far end of the playground (to the left of the brown hut). There were once some 1960's-style circular canopied seats (like the ones still found at the nearby Lung Cheung Road Lookout). These were removed when the road system was enhanced and there is now a flyover connecting Tai Po Road to Lung Cheung Road zooming overhead.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - King's Road, North Point

Another of many establishing shots that show various parts of Hong Kong, this time we are on King's Road in North Point, not far from the North Point tram terminus.

The top picture shows us looking west from the north side of King's Road towards the curve in the road where the State Theatre is situated. You can't see that rather interesting building on screen but the buildings at the far end (Nam Tin Building and Southern Building) are right next to it. The camera then pans left so that it faces the opposite direction. The older buildings next to the "Shell" sign have been demolished and replaced by a pedestrian walkway over the road.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Braemar Hill, North Point

A long shot of some high-rises was taken from Kowloon-side looking over towards the area of North Point and Braemar Hill. The most prominent buildings are perhaps the white collection of high-rises centre and right. These are up on Cloud View Road: Broadview Terrace (centre) and Evelyn Towers (to the right). You can still see Evelyn Towers but Broadview Terrace is now largely obscured by an even taller development that has been built in front. It's a common occurrence in Hong Kong...Caveat Emptor

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Fenwick Street, Wanchai

A fair amount of action goes on around Fenwick Street. It's the location of the night club from where Golgo's crimelord-target runs his network. There are some nice shots showing the various neon signs for the clubs and topless bars that were once more prolific. The location can be identified by the fact that we can see the "Back Door Club" in the background. As previously discovered, this was located at 42-50 Lockhart Road - on the corner of Lockhart Road and Fenwick Street.

There is also this shot taken at the junction of Lockhart and Fenwick looking south. The columns in the picture belonged to a building that stood on where the Empire Hotel now stands.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Nathan Road, Mongkok

Another establishing shot that shows a road junction with the prominent restaurant sign in the background for the San Ah (i.e. New Asia) Restaurant or 新亞大酒樓. As far as I can tell this restaurant was almost directly opposite the Mayflower Restaurant which Thomas was able to help locate when I was looking at locations for You Only Live Twice. This means the junction we are looking at is most likely to be the one where Shantung Street meets Nathan Road on the east side of Nathan.

I've only been able to find references to the restaurant being along Nathan Road and not the exact address, so if anyone can confirm or deny it would be helpful.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - View from the Sheraton Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui

We don't get to see it from the outside, but some scenes in Golgo 13 appear to have been filmed on the top floor of the Sheraton Hotel. Although I can't confirm 100%, the scene where Chiba is sitting in a lounge when a bellhop comes to tell him he has a delivery looks to have been shot from there. The only evidence I have is the view which you can see below.

If you look closely at the very bottom right-hand corner of the lowest picture, you should be able to make out the small round tower that is part of the former Marine Police HQ (now Hullet House and Heritage 1881). Just next to it looks to be the roof of the west wing of the Peninsula Hotel. Also the angle on the KCR Clocktower also indicates the general view from the south west corner of the Sheraton Hotel.

Couple with this shot from the lounge showing the corner upright of the building behind Chiba, it is the same design as the Sheraton - although I can only confirm this from the exterior.

It's a bit odd anyway, because when Chiba goes to open his delivery in his hotel room, the address on the boxes says the Hotel Merlin. So, was the entire sequence filmed inside the Sheraton, or was the room scene actually filmed in Hotel Merlin? I suspect it was all the Sheraton simply due to the view from the hotel room. The Hotel Merlin was situated directly behind the Peninsula Hotel and so wouldn't have had a harbour view, and yet we can quite clearly see it from the bedroom window. I don't think Hotel Merlin was any taller than the Peninsula, so I don't think this view would've been possible from there.

For those who don't know, the Hotel Merlin and Peninsula Court Hotel/Marco Polo were both demolished to make way for the Kowloon Hotel that currently sits on the north side of Middle Road directly behind The Peninsula. Anyway, I'll finish this post with the panorama courtesy of AP.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Kowloon Panorama

Another of the establishing shots in Golgo 13 is this rather nice view across the Kowloon peninsula looking towards HK Island. I had balked at putting up my own version of this from the Crash Cinema version because the picture was really not good enough to justify it, but thanks to AP we have a much better, clearer view that actually allows some details to be picked up.

Given the later scene when Chiba scales Lion Rock to take a pot shot at a helicopter, I think this shot was probably taken from somewhere in the vicinity of the Lion Rock summit (or possibly lower at its base - I have no idea what logistics were involved in getting him up there but probably involved some crew at the base).

Anyway, we've got separate screen grabs plus an autostitch'd panorama.

The camera starts on Stonecutter Island (top) before panning to the left and finishing looking over Kowloon Tong with Waterloo Road running from the bottom.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Aberdeen and the area around it crops up a few times in this film, from a brief glimpse of the Tai Pak in the opening credits (first pic) to the main assassination scene when Golgo goes to the roof of a building (the Kwai Bo Industrial Building along Wong Chuk Hang Road) and tries to shoot his target who is presiding over the opening of a new swimming pool - in reality the Pao Yue Kong Swimming Pool Complex in Shum Wan.

Tai Pak and Sea Palace from the opening credits

The following shots are taken from the roof of the Kwai Bo Industrial Building. It still stands on the corner of Wong Chuk Hang Road and Nam Long Shan Road.

The old Ap Lei Chau power station at the back
Golgo's target is officiating over the opening of a new swimming pool. In 1977 it was the newly built Urban Council Aberdeen Swimming Pool, but since the disbandment of the democratically elected Urban Council (should give you a hint why it was disbanded following the handover), it is now called the Pao Yue Kong Swimming Pool - named in honour of the shipping magnate Sir Y.K. Pao.

In the top picture below we can see Chiba looking ocver to the swimming pool complex from the Kwai Bo Industrial Building rooftop. The collection of buildings in the centre of the picture is the "St Mary's Home for the Aged" - it's still around. Also still around is the school building at the top left of the picture - its the "San Wui Commercial Society of HK Chan Pak Sha School".

There is also a brief glimpse of the front entrance to the pool complex on Sham Wan Road. I've included some modern day Streetview images below for comparison.

Several buildings at the back are still evident (including the aforementioned Kwai Bo building - third left). The buildings at the top of the road in the film have been removed to make way for the new Wong Chuk Hang MTR station.

The building in the background centre-left of the Streetview picture (bottom) is the Aberdeen Marina Club.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Kwun Tong Police Station, Kwun Tong

The main base of the cops in this film is supposedly Kwun Tong cop shop. It's had a few changes since the 70's, most noticeably the two guard posts on the front wall have been removed (I bet the current, rather more political, version of the HK Police is regretting the day it removed those). But it is still quite recognisable.

Here is the most current Streetview of the same building. The most notable difference is the proliferation of high rises in the background area of Lam Tin.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Victoria Park Road, Wanchai

Our first introduction to the local police detective, imaginatively called Smith in the English dub (played by Ga Lun - also credited as the co-director), is when he is called to investigate a murder down in Wanchai District. The road is now park of Victoria Park Drive and is right next to the Excelsior Hotel (rumoured to soon be redeveloped) and the HK-side entrance to the cross-harbour tunnel. Both can be seen in the background of these screengrabs.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - View over Wanchai, Hong Kong

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon is a 1977 Sonny Chiba film based on a popular Japanese cartoon series that was created in 1969 for Big Comic magazine. Golgo is a skilled hitman and whenever he kills his targets it's always with a bullet right between the eyes!

Despite the large local HK cast, the film was a Japanese production filmed largely here in HK but with some additional sequences set in Tokyo and Macau. The version I obtained was part of a 3 disc set by Crash Cinema (a US distributor) and it's another one of those VHS transfers that has a an interlace problem I just can't see to shift with the usual software.

However, my good friend AP has noticed my quality dilemma and has been able to send me some screengrabs from the Optimum Asia UK release and you can see the difference below.

The first shot in the film is a view looking out across Wanchai towards the harbour and Kowloon beyond. We know it's Wanchai because you can see the AIA Building on Stubbs Road at the bottom right. The building to its right (at an angle) is Guardian House along Oi Kwan Road.

Crash Cinema version
Optimum Asia version

Which version would you buy? The difference in quality is quite significant, so I will try and update my posts as and when AP is able to supply me with better version. Anyway, a big thanks to him for helping out once again.

Das Mädchen von Hongkong - Joachim Fuchsberger (1973) - Connaught Road Waterfront, Central

I still have a few outstanding locations to identify for this film, but in the meantime will leave you with a shot of the Central waterfront. Fuchsberger gets on a ferry and heads over to Central and we get a couple of vies of some of the buildings that stood at the "then" waterfront.

If you follow this blog frequently then you might recognise this small cluster of buildings from a previous view of them courtesy of Bons Baisers de Hongkong. The building with the star decoration on it (part of the 1972 Christmas decorations) is the Nan Fung Tower building.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Das Mädchen von Hongkong - Joachim Fuchsberger (1973) - Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

A nice view of the pre-high-rise Peninsula Hotel as viewed from the harbour. It looks like it was undergoing some renovation of the east wing because all I can see is the fabric cladding that always gets put up when that kind of stuff is going on. To the left is the old YMCA building with the Hankow Centre behind it, and the old Marine Police HQ can just be seen on the far left of the lower picture.