Another query – was this Golden Harvest Studios?
A regret I have about my previous holidays in HK, throughout the mid- to late-90′s, was that I never made the effort to go and see the Golden Harvest Studio site on King Tung Street in Hammer Hill. Despite the fact that I was a big fan of many films to have come out of the studio for some reason it never occurred to me that I could actually go to the place and, if not get inside, at least have a peak through the railings and see HK film history in one of its tangible manifestations (woah!, two multi-syllabic words in one sentence – must ease off the pretentiousness a bit).
Alas, the studios disappeared in 2003 and were turned into Kingsford Terrace, but the impact the place had on the HK film industry can’t be understated.
I briefly covered the latter story of GH when I talked about Grand Ocean Theatre – but a quick rehash is that Messrs Chow and Ho bought what (I believe) used to be the old Cathay studios, although Bruce Thomas’ (author of “Fighting Spirit“) also mentions that the building was actually an old saw mill. The land it was on was leased from the Govt and eventually the Govt decided to sell that parcel of land, as it does every so often.
On an aside, I have been told there is a quirk in HK law that requires all money from Govt land sales to be used for infrastructure purposes – hence why we have all these massive (and some a bit stupid) infrastructure projects being carried out: Guangzhou high-speed rail link, Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, MTR island line extension, airport expansion, waterfront reclamation blah blah blah
Anyway, I digress. GH studios were stuck trying to find a replacement location and a bidding war ensued between them and Shaw’s for the Junk Bay site of what is now TVB Studios – so you can guess who won it then. GH were left without any studio facilities and dropped out of film production to concentrate on cinema management and distribution and the Golden age of HK film history came to an end, so to speak.
Of course, Raymond Chow eventually sold his controlling stake in GH to a Chinese company and there are plans afoot to resurrect the company’s fortunes in film production. All the same, the HK phase of the company’s history is essentially over.
So, getting to the point of this post, other than a very poor resolution picture of the outside of GH studios (see below – and BTW if this is your picture get in touch with me so I can give you a big thankyou) I have no idea what the studio used to look like. It seems that there is a distinct lack of pictures of the place and I have no idea why that is (were cameras banned from the studio, was it such an unspectacular place that no one deemed it worthy of preserving in a snap shot?).
Anyway, I was watching Enter the Dragon again not so long ago (still trying to nail all those locations) and noticed a building in one scenes which looks like it may have been part of the studios and I need some confirmation from clued up fans up people who have seen the studio first-hand.
The scene is the one involving Angela Mao Ying and the following is a shot from the beginning of that particular set-piece.
Now, according to some Bruce Lee sources I have read, the majority of this scene was filmed around the Wing Ting Road area near Hammer Hill. However, we can quite clearly see Kowloon Peak in the background of the shot and the angle suggests a little closer to where the GH studios used to be on King Tung Street. Anyway, look again and you will see a building on the far right.
Now, obviously in my ignorance I can’t say for sure whether or not this is part of the old studio building but zoom in and check out the “B”. The B&W snap shown previously shows that the studio had A and B sides. So is it possible that the building seen in the above ETD scene is actually the B side of the GH studio building – bit of a mess up on the studios part, but then again the film has many so I’m not complaining, I’m just very curious.
I’m am sure there are fans and collectors out there who are laughing at my total stupidity, but I really, honestly, have no idea (hence my earlier regret at so many wasted opportunities) and so I humbly invite you all to educate me.
If anyone has any other snaps and/or memories of the studios they would be willing to share, please get in touch oriental_sweetlips ‘at’ hotmail ‘dot’ com.