Friday, May 18, 2018

The Peking Medallion - Robert Stack (1967) - KCR Railtrack, Shatin

One of the best things about this blog is discovering a old films shot in HK that I had no idea about. Just when I think I am coming to the end of my preferred criteria (international film shot on location in HK or Macau) a new one pops up out of the blue. Case in point is this little gem, The Peking Medallion, starring Robert Stack and filmed in 1967. I'd never heard of it before now and even when I ordered it I was under the impression it was another German film due to its title Die Hölle von Macao. It turns out it is a German/Italian/French co-production with Robert Stack in the lead role and a opening/closing credits song sung by Dusty Springfield.

Anyway, despite the German title it turns out to have nothing whatsoever to do with Macau and was largely filmed in Hong Kong with some new locations to go with the usual familiar ones we have seen before. It's quite the potboiler and is about various nefarious parties trying to get hold of a golden medallion that is the key to an emperor's tomb containing riches worth millions.

The film starts with a fight on a train to Shanghai as one of the main characters manages to steal the medallion from its Chinese owner. Despite the train supposedly heading towards Shanghai in Mainland China, the footage used is actually of the KCR train as it runs along the track next to Shatin Hoi. Shatin Hoi was the sea inlet that was reclaimed to create the Shatin New Town.

The top photo is a bit dark but look carefully and you will see the striped buffer of one of the old KCR diesel engines. It's too dark to make out anything more such as the locomotive number.

The next shot is a fake sign erected by the side of the track so that we know we are supposed to be in "Red" China. This and the following pictures suggest this small sequence was filmed somewhere close to just south of today's University Station in Ma Liu Shui (it's only a guess though).

The following images are a bit clearer, certainly enough for me to identify Lion Rock (top left) and Beacon Hill (top centre left). The small island just below Lion Rock is Yuen Chau Kok.

To draw out the opening sequence, some jiggery pokery was done with the film negative and we see the same scene several times but flipped. Case in point is the next shot displayed as seen on film, but in fact you have to flip it to get the proper view. Lion Rock is the hill at the far right hand side of the ridge line, again with Yuen Chau Kok underneath it at sea level.

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