Well, I’ve been in the area for quite some time now (about 8 months) and still haven’t actually made a proper effort to see the places that are in my immediate vicinity. So, with a few spare minutes today (I don’t get many occasions when I have the time, will and energy together in one place) I walked up to another one of HK’s so-called “Lookouts”.
Archive for the Film locations Category
I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a mad crazy German Bruce Lee fan (who shall remain nameless to protect his shy nature – although he did blame me for the bombing of Dresden…I didn’t really feel I could let him know that my home town was Coventry) and we headed up into the norther part of the New Territories to catch a few of the Bruce Lee-related locations. Now, sadly the day was a bit of a rush so we didn’t have time to do all we could have done but anyway I figured it may be useful to other people who fancy venturing a bit further out of the way and are keen to spend as little time doing it as possible. So here is what we did. It took around 4 hours.
As regular readers may know one of my big interests is seeking out HK film locations. Okay, it may be heading towards the sad end of the nerdy spectrum but it is a great way to explore the area and has taken me to some quite obscure places around the territory.
Today’s excursion was essentially a “kill two birds with one stone” kind of thing because it was to find the exact location of where the finale from Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master was filmed, but also to check out the general area because it was used for many low-budget films during the 80′s. I found out about the latter courtesy of a friendly Spanish dude called Jesus who has done a pretty amazing job at documenting some of the more obscure aspects of 80′s HK cinema – notably the cut-and-paste output of Filmark and IFD.
If you were reading this blog a year or so ago you will know I did a complete rundown of everyone featured on the ‘Avenue’ at that time. It was quite fun to do, although it took me ages, and also led to a cut down version appearing in Time Out Hong Kong.
Anyway, to cut a long story short I was on the receiving end of a new camera the other day and decided to go for a wander with my 3-year old along the old AoS to take a few snaps.
Not so long ago I was contacted by a film maker who was interested in me taking him up to the location where Bruce fought Samo at the beginning of Enter the Dragon. I believe it was for another documentary. You can read my original post on that long (but ultimately very satisfying) search here. The film maker asked me what the condition of the place was like and I had to admit that I had no idea because I hadn’t been there for nearly 3 years (it’s not exactly on my local bus route, let’s just say that). Well, it turns out that I had some spare time not so long ago and thought it may be worth heading back for a look-see.
This post is long overdue. It was conceived around the same time I wrote this one regarding Fist of Unicorn filming in Pak Tam Chung but despite only taking a few weeks to solve, it has been sitting on my shelf gathering dust as I have struggled to find the time to get to the location and confirm for myself.
When I wrote the Fist of Unicorn post, a locally based journalist – Simon Parry – caught sight of it and wrote a story for the SCMP. During our talks I had made a throwaway comment about wanting to find the Sai Kung location seen in the small amount of outdoor footage and publicity snaps for Lee’s original Game of Death concept. Read more »
I think enough time has elapsed that I can put this one up on my blog.
Or at least gets turned into dust
I was doing a bit of looking around the other day for my other film location-related blog – after watching Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution – and decided to see whether or not # 30 had found some new owners/tenants.
Sadly it looks as though it does have new owners and instead of restoring the place to its former glory they have completely demolished it to make way for another high-priced mid-levels development.
Following on from this post a couple of years back when it seems as though the makers of Enter the Dragon inadvertently captured a corner of Golden Harvest’s main studio building on camera, I’ve finally managed to grab an aerial photo – snapped in October of 1973 from a height of 1700′ – showing the studios site. I thought it would be interesting to compare to a modern day Google view to see how the area has been redeveloped since the studio was closed.
I recently did a little bit of wandering around the North Point/Quarry Bay area – not somewhere I know very well nor somewhere that I go very much despite spending my very first ‘official’ week living in Hong Kong staying at the nearby City Garden Hotel.
Well, here we go, the last post…of 2011. I’ve been putting this one together for quite a while simply because I don’t have the time to walk the whole thing in one go but I trust the route is the most efficient, makes sense and that people find it useful. Not only is this a great way to see some Lee related sites in YMT, but it’s also a good solid walk taking you through a large part of Kowloon that wouldn’t necessarily be on the usual tourist/visitor itinerary.
As before it’s mainly Bruce with some local interest thrown in for good measure and, like #1, you can get the route from Googlemaps where I have plotted out the main sites listed below. This walk involves a lot of crossing roads so make sure you have your best walking shoes on and, seeing as this is HK, it will be hot. Even a HK winter can be warm and a bit sticky, especially if you are traipsing around Kowloon with all its poor air flow and heat-radiating concrete.
A bit of the more recent Colonial history of HK can be found when looking into the details of Fanling Magistracy (粉嶺裁判法院). It’s not a particularly old building by the usual standards (certainly compared to other ‘official’ Govt buildings that can be found in the NT) because it was ‘only’ built in 1960.
However – and this is an oft-repeated sentiment, not just by me – the fact that it’s a ‘certain age’ (hmm, older than 30 years?) and has yet to be turned into a high-end shopping mall or apartment complex styled means it should be embraced and treasured as part of the territories ‘built heritage’. Consider also that in 1960 Fanling was, like the rest of the NT, largely undeveloped and certainly nowhere near the size and scale it is today – and even these days the town itself is fairly small. So at the time of its construction this building would have been fairly grand and imposing.
Incidentally, it was the very first magistracy to be built in the New Territories (previously, crimes etc committed in the NT were heard in the Kowloon District courts) which means, despite only a poxy Grade 3 listing, it is a historically significant building in terms of NT development and modernisation.
I’ve been meaning to go here for quite some time because it combines several of my interests. It’s housed in one of those rare gems found in HK: an old and very stylish building. It’s amazing how many times in HK age and style seem to be found together in one package (though that doesn’t seem to apply to people ).
Not only is it old but it is also one of the better looked-after ones and seems to have undergone some refurbishment in the last few years including re-opening some previously boxed-in balcony space.
Everyone seems to be into walking tours these days – personally I blame Spurrier and his excellent books – so I figured it was my turn for once. Bear with me, I am a complete amateur but after spending quite some time researching Lee-related locations for no other reason than my own curiosity, I have got a bunch of places on my Bruce Lee’s Hong Kong entry that need consolidating into a more useful/logical form. So here is the first part, apologies in advance for the huge amount of piccies included but I’m hoping they will make up for whatever clarity I lack in my written directions.
Tsim Sha Tsui seems to be the perfect starting point for this series of walks (more on the way) because there are a cluster of places – some already gone, but many still around – that make it an easy walk. Hopefully I can get started on similar walks for other areas such as Yau Ma Tei, Mongkok and Kowloon Tong as well as HK Island and the NT, but it’s going to take some time to get organised.
Here is a quickie before we head off for the usual end-of-term getaway. I’ve got a ton of stuff on my to-do list (about 7 or 8 things I want to post) but they invariably involve the need for some up-to-date piccies and seeing as school term ended last week going to get these snaps usually involves some sort of immense pain caused by my kids’ incessant moaning about how bored they are looking at old ruins (yes, readers that includes me). You bribe ‘em and they still moan, it’s a lose/lose situation and sometimes not worth the hassle. As a result, you may have to wait a few weeks for me to get around to finishing them off (the articles I mean, not the kids). Until then…
Okay as promised (and because my blog stats have taken a bit of a dip since my old myspaces blog was deleted – not that they have ever been that high anyway) here is the AoS I penned a couple of months back – took a while to get into print because it got bumped due to the minimum wage stuff.
Anyway, many thanks to Time Out Hong Kong editor Jake Hamilton for letting me write this one, I just provided the words (well, most of them ) but he is the one who comes up with the ideas and the impressive graphics. I should also say a big thanks to Thomas Podvin and Ryan Ra (from hkcinemagic and hkmdb, respectively) for letting me use the various head shots – all of which were taken from their sites (apart from the Roy Chaio one which I’ll explain about further down) and a very big thanks to Mike Leeder. For those who don’t know Mike is the Asian-based editor of Impact Magazine and when he is not making films, acting in them or reviewing them he is casting for them, interviewing famous people for the DVD extras and being a generally nice and helpful person for eejits like me.
Anyway, on we go.
Apologies, I’ve been a bit busy getting the other blog off the ground and haven’t had much time to spend on stuff this month – however, I did feel that the time is right to round off my little educational trip into HK film land and bring the Ignoramuses guide to a close.
It’s been a long time coming (nearly 6 months!) and at the end I feel like an enlightened man. What started off as a bit of a slagging (because let’s face it the AoS deserves to be slagged off a little bit) has turned into a path of greater knowledge – enlightening me on some lesser aspects of the HK film industry that I had no idea about.
Actually, it’s not all about to end just yet because I also managed to pen another article for Hong Kong Time Out. It’s basically a rehash of what I had been doing here but a vastly cut down version – as you can imagine. Still it ran to four pages and had some nice graphics so I will post it on here in the next few days.
Anyway, once again I am strolling back into territory where my knowledge starts to get a bit patchy again so it’s probably just as well that this is the last installment. For a recap please visit parts 1, 2 and 3 to catch up.
Once again, photos are all courtesy of Thomas Podvin’s HKCinemagic website unless otherwise stated.
Well, I’m experimenting with Google’s Blogger software and thought it would be a good idea to set up a whole new blog dedicated to just film locations.
I’ll still be posting here as regularly as I ever do (i.e. sometimes once or twice a week, sometimes once or twice a month) but feel that some of the film locations stuff doesn’t gel so well with the other things I put here (some do gel very well of course) and feel a dedicated blog is in order.
The focus will be single locations per post with some screen grabs and hopefully my own pics to enhance (or as is usual for my pics: detract) the post as well as some small snippets of info. I’m hoping to not cover the same sort of stuff as Gary does on Film Pilgrimage or what Dan has been doing on Hong Kong On Film (both totally excellent blogs by the way), but as is always I am sure there will be some overlap.
The next few months will be focusing on redoing the locations stuff here for over there so bear with me, I’m still seeing what Blogger is capable of.
Anyway, if you are interested you can go take a look. Feedback welcome.
Perhaps the first thing I need to do is point out the distinction between Tai Po Market railway station and Tai Po railway station. The former exists in two forms: 1) as the current MTRC East Rail station that serves the south side of Tai Po, and 2) the old Chinese style station (built in 1913) that closed down when the line was electrified in 1983 and turned into the small, but very excellent, Railway Museum.
Whoops! I accidentally hit the publish button a little too early on this entry and a half-completed version was visible for a while, so many apologies for that. All done now though, hopefully you’ll find it a bit more coherent this time.
A while back I wrote an entry about Palm Villa (now demolished and redeveloped, in part, into the American Club) in Tai Tam, ‘owned’ by M.W Lo. You may remember that the house had several adjacent tennis courts stepped down the hillside towards a small cove and this location served as the on-screen representation of Han’s Island in Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon.
Since that post, and because they knew my interest in the place, I received an invite to the club from a friend who is a member. Of course I jumped at the chance to take a visit, sample the lunchtime buffet and take a good old wander around the grounds to see what remnants (if anything) of the old estate still exist. The answer is: more than I thought, but not as much as I’d like