Sunday, 26 April 2020

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing - William Holden (1955) - 10 Po Shan Road, Midlevels

I (and many others) have been wondering where this particular building was located for several years. Ever since we first started looking at the movie locations on Gwulo back in 2009 (wow, 11 years ago already!) this has been a location I have been itching to pinpoint but simply lacked the resources at the time. For those of you wondering which place in the film I am referring to, it is the building exterior used as the establishing shot for the dinner party that Suyin gets invited to and where she first meets Mark Elliot. Here is the reminder.

So you can see from the screen caps that the property appears to be built on a podium and the garden balustrade extends into the distance to the hill in the background. The driveway obviously reaches the podium via a slope but it's not clear how steep or curved it may be. The house itself has this very large and ornate stucco portico with columns and you can see behind the property part of a retaining wall where the hillside has been cut out to accommodate the building. The balustrade closest to the camera on the left is also angled away from the top of the drive.

I initially thought this might be one of the large mansions on Conduit Road close to the Fairview, but no matter how much I looked there was really nothing that quite fitted. Anyway, after a few weeks of sifting through image after image I finally found a photo on Gwulo that had a property on it that looked like a possible match. It didn't take long to find some aerial photos that confirmed the shape of the podium (the extended garden area, loped driveway and angled balustrade etc) and 10 Po Shan Road was finally identified.

I have no idea whether or not this building's address was indeed #10 but seeing as #8 is next door and block 1 of the current building Po Shan Mansions includes #10 and #12 then I don't see it as too flimsy an assumption.

So what happened to the building? The truth is I won't know until I get my hands on the land deeds but from the aerial images the building was still around in 1959 but by 1963 had been removed, leaving only the podium. This makes sense because po Shan Mansions was completed in 1965 and the current building stands on the old podium with a few changes.

The building itself was replaced by Block B of Po Shan Mansions whereas Block A was built on what used to be the garden section. The old front driveway was filled with concrete and a new driveway constructed that led around the eastern end of the podium to the rear of the property. However, if you go and visit Po Shan Road you can see from the roadside that the old bricks that formed the slope of the original driveway are still the extent that you can see how they filled up the old driveway space with concrete. (if you have Google Chrome then you can view it here). Other than that the podium retains much of its old shape and you can even see the angle at the front that I mentioned above, where the driveway met the podium level.

Anyway, I'll leave you with this stitch of the screen caps to give you a better idea of how the place once looked.

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