Rua Dom Belchior Caneiro and Fist of Fury, Macau
As part of the ongoing Bruce Lee locations project, which you may recall has featured in my posts quite extensively over the past year or so, one of the places that has been more difficult to identify locations is Macau.
It all started a while back with a rudimentary list of Enter locations, grew to include some other spots in HK and then the Spanish Bruce Lee author, Marcos Ocaña, was put in touch with me by a mutual friend because he was putting together an article for his Spanish magazine, Bruce Lee Mania. He was attempting to put together the most complete list of HK locations that has been done so far and new that I had done a few that weren’t necessarily so well-known.
Unfortunately for me, personal reasons meant I couldn’t contribute to the magazine article in time for the required deadline, but offered the information I already had for Marcos to use. I have no idea if he did use it as I haven’t heard from him since, but there you go. However, in the few weeks that I was helping out we managed to get some good information from the Macau Old Photos group on Facebook.
For those who don’t know, Macau was the filming location for “Fist of Fury” and most (if not all) of the outdoor scenes utilised some part of Macau supposedly because it had a more authentic 1920′s Shanghai-feel about it. Hong Kong, even as far back the early 70′s, was still considered too modern to afford any decent locations (well, that’s what happens when you knock down 99% of your old buildings).
I’ve already talked about the famous (though gratuitously embellished for cinematic effect) “No Dogs or Chinese” scene that was filmed at the gates into Jardim Luis De Camoes, which look pretty much as they did back in 1971. One other scene, albeit fleeting, was filmed on Rua Dom Belchior Caneiro. In case your Macau geographical knowledge has failed you, this is a small narrow road that runs directly behind (and parallel to) to the church facade ruins. The road can be seen when Bruce dons his extremely unconvincing disguise as a rickshaw puller and runs around various streets with his intended victim (the Chinese translator hired by the Japanese, played by Paul Wei) sitting in the back.
Here is a screen cap to show the scene. Courtesy of Fortune Star.
Note the low wall on the right and the buildings behind it. Anyway, I was in Macau yesterday and decided to take the opportunity to grab a current picture, and here it is. Courtesy of fortunate moi.
As you can see there has been a lot of change. The screen grab shows a clear view to the Mainland Chinese hills in the background (actually part of Zhuhai), as well as some interesting buildings on the left side of the road. As you can see the view to the mainland has now disappeared thanks to a school building that was built to replace those background low buildings. What is interesting though is that the buildings I said to note on the right hand side, behind the wall, are still there. They’re not quite as recognisable but I guess 40 years of decay and tree growth can do that to a place. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the large tree we can now see was actually the small branch that can be seen on the film grab. It’s about the right size for 40 years extra growth. The wall is still there in places, it has a distinctive rectangular hole pattern in it which can be seen in the following publicity still (courtesy of…Mr Google).
And here is what is left of that expanse of wall.
Someone has made some effort to preserve the look in front of the old buildings, but the wall – despite having the rectangular holes – is completely new. The one shown above is all that remains of the original.
Anyway, it just goes to show how difficult it can be to nail these locations sometimes. Things change much quicker out here than in Europe. As a great example, here is another picture, taken behind the scenes and supplied by Marcos.
This was taken along the same road but looking the other way (east). The building immediately behind Bruce was knocked down to make way for the Catholic Art Museum which sits at the back of the open space behind the church facade and was opened in 1995. I can only assume that this previous building stood until then.
Additionally the blocks of flats seen in the background were, until quite recently (in fact, at the beginning of 2010 when we first started researching this place) were still in place. Sadly they have only just been demolished and all that is there now is a cleared building site. Things sure do move quickly. Here is a shot I took at the weekend with a similar (but sadly not exact) aspect.
The corner of the Catholic Art Museum can be seen on the right hand side. This is where the older building with the steps, from the previous shot, used to stand. The block of flats’ site was in front of where the trees are, now it is just an empty waste being prepared for new development.