Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Soldier of Fortune - Clark Gable (1955) - Cheung Sha Wan Boatyard, Kowloon

Despite me covering most of the locations from Soldier of Fortune some years ago (I did a post over on Gwulo back in 2009 which served as a sort of precursor to the establishment of this blog), there are still a couple of places that had defied pinpointing. One of the locations is a fairly innocuous street scene, but the other was a local boat yard to which Michael Rennie - in his role as the Marine Police Inspector, Merryweather - visits just prior to him getting stuck on board Hank Lee's adventure-bound fishing junk.

The scene is quite interesting because it looks like a real event going on (as opposed to being staged for the film) as a new boat is launched from its dry dock into the nearby water. The only problem I was having is the exact location as to where this may have been filmed.

It's taken a while but I have finally managed to pinpoint it to one of the local boatyards that operated along the pre-reclamation waterfront where Cheung Sha Wan becomes Lai Chi Kok. The key to the location was a familiar looking ridge line that I couldn't place until it dawned on me that I was looking at Lion Rock from the west.

Anyway, after consulting some aerial images from 1949 and 1959 it appears that the location for this particular local ship yard was at the very southern end of Hing Wah Street and this location tallies with the current location of Sham Shui Po Sports ground. The NW corner of the track to be precise.

Hugh farmer's Industrial History of Hong Kong has an article on ship breaking in the area and one of the images contains a similar angle of Lion Rock in the background, albeit slightly more south because it looks as though the ship building activities were along the south west facing Cheung Sha Wan waterfront area, whereas the ship breaking industry discussed in Hugh's article appears to have taken place along the south eastern facing section, essentially the space now occupied by Lai Chi Kok MTR station.

In the penultimate image above the actor, Michael Rennie (playing Merryweather), has moved is head and you can see Lion Rock poking out from behind the distant ridge line. The derrick in the background of the last shot is the landmark that can be discerned on aerial imagery and helped me pinpoint the location.

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