Friday, 31 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Kai Tak Airport, Kowloon

The story moves back to Japan for a short time before once again coming back to Hong Kong and then on to Macau for the remainder. This part of the film introduces the character portrayed by Naoki Sugiura, Hirogami, a Japanese policeman on Minami's trail. The scene was shot around the exterior of the new terminal building (it had opened in 1962).

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Tai Hang Tung Road, Shek Kip Mei

After disembarking from the Peak Tram, the next shot shows our plotting couple riding rickshaws alongside one of the old resettlement estates. This scene was filmed way up in the north part of Kowloon along Tai Hang Tung Road - in fact not very far from this earlier view along Boundary Street. The resettlement blocks seen on the left were from the original Tai hang Tung estate. The building with the red squares on it is the original Concordia Lutheran School. The school has a history page on its website and the fourth image down you can see a close up of the same view seen below.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong

After disembarking the Peak Tram, our plotting pair jump on a normal tram and ride it for a while. An initial shot shows the tram travelling along what I can only assume is Connaught Road by the waterfront, but exactly where I can't tell. This shot though is easy because it was taken right in front of the old HSBC HQ in Central.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - The Peak, Hong Kong

Unfortunately the plot (in Japanese with French subtitles) was a bit lost on me, but I get the feeling that the Japanese lady is a drug runner who is getting Minami to do some of her dirty work without him realising. She is in cahoots with a Chinese man who she goes to the Peak to meet with. We get a few shots of the Peak Cafe (still going) as well as some other shots of the area including a quick glimpse of the Victoria Gap Lookout that once stood at the bottom of Mount Austin Road (it was demolished in the 70s, probably to make way for the previous version of the Peak Tower), followed by a trip back down the mountainside on the Peak Tram.

Peak Cafe
The circular building was the Victoria Gap Lookout
1964 vista
Aboard the tram heading down

Monday, 27 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

This scene occurs earlier in the film when Minami has just escaped arrest at the Empress Hotel. As Minami walks around Kowloon trying not to look conspicuous, he wanders along the eastern part of Haiphong Road. In the film the shot is edited into several others taken elsewhere including up by the Market Street location I posted a few days ago. Anyway, the trees on the other side of the road are the ones that lined (and still line) what was the southern section of the Whitfield barracks perimeter (now Kowloon Park).

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - The Cenotaph, Central

A further meeting between Minami and the Japanese lady takes place at the Cenotaph in Central. Lots of nice views around the whole area including the elegant former Hong Kong Club. Sadly, Queen's Building had already gone by this time, replaced by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel a couple of years prior to filming.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Former Ventris Place, Happy Valley

Minami is given a key to the woman's apartment and he heads over there one day. The apartment is on Ventris Road and has a great view of the Happy valley racecourse and looks as though it was in a block that has since been replaced by the much taller Ventris Place residential development. I'm not sure what the older building was called but you can catch a distant glimpse of it on this image hosted over on FLICKR. It's the 7-storey double fronted block on the far centre right of the photograph. If anyone can suggest what it was called it would be appreciated (so I can change the title of the post). It was obviously standing in 1953 but how long it last I don't know. The current Ventris Place development was built in 1985 so the older building has been gone for at least that long. In one of the shots from the window though we are given the view down to the ground and the developments distinctive curved podium is still intact today.

The building may have been redeveloped, but the podium is the same

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Nathan Road, Kowloon

After winning his prize, Minami heads over to Nathan Road with his bags of goodies. In fact, this is the section of Nathan Road in front of the Alhambra building. Before the West Kowloon Corridor flyover was built, Gascoigne Road intersected with Nathan Road via a traffic island and that is where Minami is subsequently stopped by a mysterious Japanese woman. As she engages him in conversation we are given a few glimpses of the surrounding area including the previously mentioned Alhambra Building (top image), the former Yau Ma Tei Govt School (second image), the Methodist Church with its minimalist spire (third), and (lastly) the Methodist College with its zig zag roof design.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Market Street, Yau Ma Tei

As Minami walks around trying not to be seen he gets involved in some kerbside gambling and promptly wins the top prize. This scene was shot around Market Street, right next to the public toilet building that sits along Market Street and its junction with Shanghai Street. The street sign is a bit of a giveaway in this shot. You may recall that this are popped up a while back, the lower shot in this post from Heisser Hafen Hongkong (1962) showing the same place (with the toilet building just off screen to the right) and from another angle in a scene from Ein Sarg aus Hong Kong (and used again later in The Million Eyes of Sumuru) shot the same year as Narazumono.

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei

After escaping the hotel where he has been set up, Minami heads out into the street to avoid the police and ends up next to a street market. The area is the top end of Battery and Reclamation Streets where they both merge and meet Public Square Street. We know this because the building in the back right with the white trim used to stand on the north east corner of the junction between Shanghai Street and Public Square Street. The open area on the right with the market stalls is now the Henry G Leong YMT Community Centre.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Empress Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui

Not to be confused with the Empress Hotel that once stood over in Central, this particular one was located on the corner of Mody Road and Chatham Road South in Tsim Sha Tsui. I'm not sure when it was demolished but building records show that the current building on the site, Empress Plaza, was constructed in 1993.

Actually, this is a great sequence in the film from a location standpoint because it shows the old army camp on the opposite side of Chatham Road South, now the location for the History and Science museums as well as all the other development that has become known as East Tsim Sha Tsui. If you look at the first image, it looks as though there was some sort of religious organisation opposite the hotel which would now mark where Mody Road continues on the other side of Chatham Road South.
In the second image above you can see some of the newly reclaimed land that would eventually be turned into Wing On Plaza as well as the TST Shangri-la Hotel.


The next image below shows the view looking north up Chatham Road South and you can quite clearly see the Nissan huts of the army camp as well as the nicely curved facade of Ocean View Court which is still there (it was built in 1958). There's a brief glimpse of the hotel exterior in the lower two images as the camera is positioned on the opposite corner of Mody Road and pans down to street level.

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Lai Chi Kok Road, Mongkok

The next part of the opening credits takes us all the way up to the north end of Nathan Road where it joins with Lai Chi Kok Road just past Bute Street. This top image is the view looking from Lai Chi Kok Road back towards Nathan Road.

The rather elegant looking building in the background was the original Pioneer Building and it was the head office of the Kowloon Motorbus Company. To the right you can just make out an advert attached to the front of the Royal Theatre. That whole block (both buildings) has since been redeveloped into the blue and red glassed Pioneer Centre. The second image is the area just to the left of the upper one i.e. still on Lai Chi Kok Road, and is basically where the Mongkok Metropark Hotel now stands.


Another shift to the left in the camera work (below) and we are now looking at the junction with Prince Edward Road West. The top image shows (on the right) the remainder of the block that was replaced by the Mongkok Metropark Hotel with Prince Edward Road behind it. The lower image shows the view just beyond that looking at the building on the opposite corner.which shows the precursor to the current building. The current building (Tai Wah House) was constructed in 1967, so that building we see on screen only had a couple of years of life left.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Boundary Street, Mongkok

Another shot from the opening credits and this time we are looking at Boundary Street towards the west. The large open spaces are still there, albeit a bit more surrounded these days by new construction. What we are looking at here are the former Mongkok sports ground (now Mongkok Stadium) on the left. You can see it had a running track at the time. On the opposite side of the road to the sports ground is what is now known as Fa Hui Park. Believe it or not that small white structure is still there. It's now marked as a library on modern maps but I have no idea whether it has always been one. The slope on the right of it marks where Tat Chee Avenue comes down from Yau Yat Tsuen. Beyond the building is (what are now known as) the Tai Hang Recreation Grounds but I suspect at the time they were still part of the Police Recreation grounds. The buildings in the far distance mark where Sai Yee Street comes up to join with Boundary Street.

Judging from this elevated angle, I suspect the film camera was positioned on the KCR rail bridge that crosses the road at exactly this point.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Narazumono - Ken Takakura (1964) - Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei

Some more of the intro takes us back down into Yau Ma Tei as the car drives by the camera along Nathan Road close to the unction with Gascoigne Road. We'll come back here for a later post but I wanted to show this because you can see what it looked like before a whole load of development over took this place, in particular the West Kowloon Corridor flyover that was constructed approximately where the low rise dirty white building appears behind the bus. The Alhambra building(built in 1960 and still standing) can be seen behind that. The empty site on the right of the screen is where the Kowloon Government Offices now stand.


In the lower photo we get to see what was north of this location and the rather grand building on the left is the former Yau Ma Tei Government School. This was demolished sometime in the 1970s and the site was turned into a playground/basketball court. That's Public Square Street where the two pedestrians are crossing on the left.