Thursday, September 18, 2014

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Harrison Ford (1984) - Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau

Okay, so here is one that I can take a bit more of the credit for finding and it's the location of the car chase that immediately follows Indiana Jones' escape from Club Obi Wan as his car is pursued by Lao Che and his gun-toting henchmen.

What follows are brief glimpses of one of my favourite roads in Macau - Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro - or known locally as San Ma Lo (lit: new road). It's my favourite road because its lined with those great looking shophouse buildings on either side of the road - that's probably why the film makers thought it would be a good double for Shanghai (although I'm not sure how prevalent they were there).

So in no particular order we can start with the following screen grab which shows the baddies car driving past our first location.

Not too hard to find this one and it hasn't changed much at all, althoughnow it is home to a company (or person?) called Kuong Weng Wong. Look at the Streetview grab below and you can see the same shop on the left by the open space.

Next up is a building that I actually once wrote a post about on my old blog and will (at some point in the near future) post it up again. It's the Cheung Tai Dai On pawnshop (Casa De Penhores) with its very distinctive arched front facade. It's unique along this road and so made it very easy to spot. You can see the lower part of it in the screengrab below (to the left of the car) and I have tried to match the angle on Streetview without much success.

Never mind, here is a closeup of it from a stitched photo I did a few years back. Sorry for the bend but that's just the old camera lens distorting it.

Actually, it was this building that initially helped me to figure out which road this filming was done on. I did read somewhere (I think an old Rough Guide from 1996) that the car chase was filmed on Rua De Felicidades, however, once I saw this building on  screen I knew that it wasn't correct. Some filming may have been done on that smaller road but I have to be able to positively identify anywhere.

Moving on to the next bit and we see a shot of Indy's car going up the road with a nice long row of shophouses in view. Believe it or not, some of the decor on the front of these shops can still be seen. In the screengrab below, the shop that is directly next to the Indy's car has a (what looks like) diamond pattern above the columns, and the one next to it (further away) has a striped board that can still be see.

So, we can see the same striped pattern on the fourth shop down on the right and the diamond pattern one shop closer to us. The cow on the modern Streetview corresponds to the shop below the "Pearl" emblem from my cheapskate screen capture. If you look close enough under the cow you can see the same vertical grooves that can be seen on the film.

Finally, our last shot was taken a bit further on but looking back up the other way down the road. Look closely and you can see the same shops I just described, but now behind the baddies car in the background (well at least the stripey- and diamond-patterned ones)

So it isn't too great a leap to get an almost similar angle on Streetview below - although the picture below does include a bit more. The red lettered column in the film grab above is actually the first grey column on the left (under the yellow horizontal banner).

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Harrison Ford (1984) - Pensão Sun Sun Hotel, Praca De Ponte E Horte, Macau

I can see that my Yellowthread Street posts are going to take a long time, so to add a bit of respite here and there I'm going to throw a few classic films into the mix to break up the monotony. First off is a couple of posts centered around one of my childhood favourites: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Sadly I can't take any credit for the following post because the background was given to me by a very helpful chap by the name of Ventsislav Doychev ( To cut a long story short I had offered to find out where Club Obi Wan was and failed miserably, only to have Ven come back to me a few months later with all the information on a platter. So a big thanks to Ven for letting me know.

Anyway, for those who have been living in a cave for the last 30 years, the opening scenes in ToD involve Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) trying to do a deal with the evil Lao Che (Roy Chiao) at Club Obi Wan in Shanghai. Jones gets poisoned for his troubles and then shot at before jumping out of the window of the club and making off in a car whilst being chased by the baddies.

The good news is the location has been identified (by Ven), the bad news is that the actual building itself has been redeveloped. The only clue was an old photograph - purportedly taken by one of the production crew when they were doing a location scout - that shows the building concerned (I have no idea whose photo it is so if you know please comment so I can correctly attribute).

Yes, the green building at the back was the one converted into Club Obi Wan for the purpose of filming. It may not be too obvious from that photo but some closer inspection of the screen captures reveal the same windows, balcony railings and green colour of the walls. So, what and where was it?

The building was actually a hotel called the Pensão Sun Sun Hotel and it was located near to the inner harbour along Praca De Ponte E Horte. Can you see the building in the foreground? It didn't look so great back in 1984 when the film was made/released, but following the Macau Govt's sprucing up of old buildings it now looks pretty nice. Below is the recent streetview taken at the best angle I can get to match.

As you can see the Pensão Sun Sun Hotel has been replaced by another building. It's still a hotel on the site but now it's the Best Western Sun Sun Hotel.

So anyway, here are some of the screencaps. Sadly, I had to take them off a TV broadcast here in HK a while back (which is why you can see the Pearl symbol at the top right. I promise that when I get hold of a copy I will be able to provide some better captures, until then...

These shots shows the chaps (actually it was Vic Armstrong and his wife Wendy Leech doing the stunts in place of Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw) falling down the side of the building and through some awnings. Before catching hold on to a building on the opposite side of the road (in this case it was the slimline Rua Do Bocage next to the hotel). See below.

Now, sadly, the row of balconies you can see in the background of the above screenshots has also disappeared, however, it does appear that the stunt was done so that they landed on an awning sticking out from the nice yellow building that is still around. Here is a modern Streetview of Rua Do Bocage.

The small door on the right is pretty much the same position that the Club Obi Wan Main door was at during filming.

And finally, this is how it looks today (I know which one I prefer and it's not just because it was featured on the film).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Tin Hau Temple, To Kwa Wan

Temples in Hong Kong can, usually, be relied upon to be around year after year. It's not true of all religious/spiritual buildings, but it's a brave developer indeed who risks the wrath of some make-believe deity for the sake of building a high-rise. So, it didn't take too long to track down the following place seen at the beginning of Fan Tan Man when our bald-headed bad guy goes there to pray for some good luck at the gambling table.

Unfortunately, Streetview doesn't have a great angle on this place due to the amount of traffic blocking the view - a common problem for me - so here is the same place taken from slightly to the right and forward of where the cameras would have been standing for the filming.

On the left side of the Streetview picture you can see a flyover which is the East Kowloon Corridor. We get to see the same road a few seconds later in the show when the cop car pulls out to follow their suspects along Lok Shan Road.

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Shek O Beach, Hong Kong

Palance and his cohorts head to the beach local in order to resurrect the carcass of the boat that was wrecked carrying its cargo of TNT.

Of course, this being the movie world, rather than the beach being local to the village, it is in fact located about 10 miles to the south on Hong Kong Island. Shek O beach to be precise. Recognisable by the presence of Ng Fan Chau which is the small islet that sits directly off the beach.

Here it is on the film in the top picture.

Now, Shek O happens to be one of those places that I have yet to go to. Call it laziness or whatever, but I really haven't been arsed yet. I'm sure I'll make it some day but I have to build up any enthusiasm for it.

As a result, I have had to use a Panoramio user's picture found on Google Earth. The angle is pretty much spot on for Ng Fan Chau so here it is courtesy of Siuchikeung. Hopefully one day I'll have my own piccy to stick up...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Various aerial pictures of Central, Hong Kong

No specific locations here but some nice aerial views taken from the opening section of Episode 6: Fan Tan Man. The quality isn't great (remember, these are screen grabs from a DVD that was made from a VHS copy that was done when the original series was shown in the UK back in 1990/91 (can't remember when it was exactly - I just wish ITV would release a proper restored DVD...)

The first two pictures give us a nice view across the Central harbourfront. The little bit of harbour water seen on the lower right on the bottom picture has now all been reclaimed and those piers you can see have completely gone.

The above picture shows the area around the (now named) Lippo Centre. We can see Hong Kong Park being created from the old Victoria Barracks and the tall building on the left is the Queensway Govt Offices. Just to the left of that is the shell of what was to become the Island Shangri-La (2 Pacific Place). Eagle-eyed readers may also spot the Hongkong Hilton just behind the B.O.C tower.

Again, another shot that would now be waterless courtesy of the reclamation that the IFC sits on top of. Of course we can see the old (and better located) Star Ferry piers and to the right of there is the last incarnation of Blake Pier. Actually, until I saw this I wasn't too sure where it was but now I can see it started right next to the GPO in front of Jardine House. I guess Man Yiu Street occupies some of that now.

The last few shots show the old helicopter landing pad that used to sit on the waterfront in front of Caine House (that's the low-rise building we can see at various distances on all three snaps, but is at the background on the lower picture) - it's better known as being the Central Police HQ. The are where the landing was is now partly occupied by the intersection of Lung Wui and Lung Wo roads. The site is largely empty still but slowly being redeveloped (into what?). The basin on the right in the top picture was originally part of HMS Tamar and now has the new Central Govt Offices on it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Quarry Bay Municipal Services Building, Quarry Bay Street

Once upon a time there was an official body in the Hong Kong Govt called the Urban Council. It was basically responsible for Govt services that are now run by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department - in other words a huge remit - and by 1994 it was a body wholly elected by a one person one vote democratic system.

Tung Che Hwa got rid of it pretty quick - can't have any of that silly democracy nonsense now can we...

Anyway, I thought I would mention it because the U.C logo pops up in our next screen capture as Eden (Bruce Payne) waits outside what was the Urban Council Quarry Bay Complex for his ride to meet the evil Melvin Wong in Angel Eyes.

Pretty much all trace of the former Urban Council has been removed (I guess ol' Tung didn't want anyone to remember that once they were allowed to vote for something) - although I do know of a reference that still remains in east TST...

Anyway, when the U.C was finally abolished and its former responsibilities split between the FEHD and the LCSD, everything was renamed and this building above, on Quarry Bay Street, became the Quarry Bay Municipal Services Building.

Other than a bit of extra bridging from the pedestrian flyover (an extension of the same one that can be seen in the distance on this post) and the obvious name change, it hasn't changed at all.

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Hoi Kwong Street, Quarry bay

Another quick Quarry Bay location from Angel Eyes. I should have combined it with the last one of the MTR station because this one is really right next door - however, I did it before I realised.

We see Hoi Kwong Street as the car surveillance continues. This street is recognisable only by the fact that it joins onto Hoi Tai Street (and Finnie Street on the left) directly opposite the Canossa School which we can see in the following screencap.


The school is still around and looks pretty much as it did back in 1989 (ish), but they have tidied up the scrub in front of it. For reference the Quarry Bay MTR entrance we saw in the last post is just up on the left at the end of the street.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Quarry Bay MTR Station on Finnie Street, Hong Kong

Staying in the Quarry Bay locale with Angel Eyes as Tzi Ma & Co continue to try and keep Bruce Payne under surveillance. We get to see a view of the entrance/exit of Quarry Bay MTR station that sits on Finnie Street.

Okay, strictly speaking it's not the actual station, because that's on the opposite side of King's Road, but this place is entrance to the pedestrian flyover that leads into the station.

I come here quite often because the missus works nearby so it's nice to see that it looks pretty much the same as it did 25 years ago.

A few differences I guess are the change in tiling on the outside of the station entrance as well as the building on the right seems to have filled in part of the window space on the 2nd floor. However, 成記 is still doing roaring trade even after all these years down on Hoi Hong Street, although they have reversed the order of the characters on their shop sign (red/yellow sign on the left of both Streetview and screen caps). There is a relic of a sign in the background as well - the vertical red on white on the distant left. You can see it in both pictures and it is advertising a plumbing supplies/hardware shop.

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - King's Road, Quarry Bay

Moving on to episode 5 - Angel Eyes, and Bruce Payne goes undercover to bust a drug gang run by HK-Candian actor, Melvin Wong. However, before we get down to the location I thought it would be fun to share a personal experience I had back in December of 1996 on one of my trips to HK.

I was invited to a friend's son's birthday party out in a village in Lam Tsuen called Tong Sheung Tsuen. It was a small affair with just a couple of the kids' school friends there and about 5 other grown ups. One of the dads looked a bit familiar and I subtly asked my friend if it was who I thought it was (i.e. Melvin Wong) and it was! I couldn't believe it! I had only just been watching Yuen Biao's Above the Law and ol' Melvin played the [SPOILER ALERT!] bad guy who gets an axe in his head at the end of the film.

It turned out that Melvin's son, Wesley, was in the same class at school as my friend's son: Shatin Junior. They were about 9 or 10 at the time. So it was great, I got to chat to Melvin about some of his films and I got to meet his totally gorgeous wife, Angie Chiu. I have to say they were a completely down to earth family and very friendly. It made my holiday...

Anyway, so back to location finding and this part sees Payne being taken to a secret rendezvous as he is tailed by his colleagues. Loads of sites around the Quarry Bay area of North Point including this one on King's road.

Anyone who has watched the latest Transformers film may or may not recognise the building on the left of the screen grabs. It is the Fook Cheong Building where some of the film was made and became famous when one of the shop tenants on the ground floor decided to attack the film crew.

Speaking of buildings, the small block of apartments in the trees on the south side of King's Road, are Govt quarters at 992 - 998 King's Road. I have no idea who lives in them now but having been this way a few times (the Mount Parker Green Trail starts just after the trees' end) I can say they are fairly hefty but seem to now be privately owned because they have an owner's corporation (#4937) which I'm not sure Govt buildings would need...

Anyway, here is a rough approximation courtesy of Streetview.

What you can spot is the pedestrian flyover in the distance, it's just above the car roof in the last screen grab, but it looks as though the retaining wall on the Streetview picture may be a more recent addition. The ex-Govt flats are obscured by tree growth from this angle.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kill a Dragon - Jack Palance (1967) - Stanley, Hong Kong

Back from my hols (hence the lack of activity here over the past few weeks) and here is one that for a while I was a bit flummoxed with until a penny dropped and then I just felt like slapping myself for being an idiot.

The scene is immediately following the scuffle at the bad guy's mansion (supposedly in Macau but actually close to today's Gold Coast development) when the heroes do a runner and hide in a local market. Only it's not really a local market but one that is actually located - as the crow flies - 30 km away!

It is of course Stanley, albeit a previous version which is virtually unrecognisable today.

This first shot appears to be the entrance road to what is now called Stanley New Street (perhaps it was always called this?) which leads into Stanley Market Road and Stanley Main Street.
the main. If you have ever visited Hong Kong and done the touristy thing, then chances are you will have walked down this little slip road because the buses drop you off just a little up the slope. In case you need a reminder, here it is today (courtesy of Streetview). Notice the retaining wall at the middle and back - I wonder if some of those large blocks are the same ones that are visible in the film? The slope has been remodeled of course, but there's no reason why the remodeling didn't incorporate existing features. Any experts out there - please feel free to comment.

Following on are a few shots of the small alleyways and streets that made up this part of Stanley. Looking at the white gate below I think I can just make out Stanley's Chinese name (赤柱) in small letters underneath the arch, but that just be my poor eyesight...!

The gang escape their pursuers by boarding their boat that is tied up, conveniently, on a little spur of rock that is still around but on the side we see below (as they are running down the steps) has been completely redeveloped to create the new seafront area.

Yes, this was when Stanley Bay had a proper beach. All the sand has pretty much been built on by now to facilitate the extension of the road and seafront into the bay. Anyway, the opposite headland that we can see in the shot below is part of the Chung Hom Kok peninsula. Still looks pretty much the same in terms of shape but of course has the inevitable addition of residences now.

And for the shot below we can see the Stanley Peninsula behind Jack Palance's head. There's a big residential complex there now called Regalia Bay and beyond that (hidden from view) is the Stanley Fort barracks - now a PLA barracks.