Sunday, March 1, 2015

Yellowthread Street - Bruce Payne (1990) - Queensway, Central

A quick one as we follow an unmarked cop car past the Lippo Centre et al.

Speaking of the Lippo Centre, we also get a nice fly-by view of the harbour side of the same area showing the gold Far East Financial Centre, the (now) Chinese PLA HK Building (formerly part of HMS Tamar), folloowed by the Lippo again and ending with a partial view of Bank of America tower.

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - Pottinger Street, Central

One of the many street side scenes from the film includes this nice shot of Pottinger Street - famous for its steep stone slab steps. This part of it leading south from Queen's Road has been used many times over the years for film and TV.

 Now, I don't get much chance to head into Central these days, but it's possible that Redge House (you can just see the "R" of the name next to the Queen's Rd Central street sign) has recently been demolished? Can anyone who goes there regularly confirm? It's still visible in Streetview but the scenes from Central were recorded nearly 4 years ago and Centamap is showing a big empty space.

If it's gone it will be a big shame because it was quite a nicely designed building and was fairly new when this film was made (it was built in 1971). Anyway, here is the Streetview of the same location.

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - Hong Kong International Airport, Kai Tak

A few shots of old Kai Tak, some inside, some outside.

 Is Fred Williamson the only person ever to have ridden the luggage conveyor?

The square pillars I remember, but that's about it.

And finally the outside area next to the carpark and small flyover (parts of the flyover on the other side of Prince Edward Road East are still around - for the time being).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - HSBC Building, Queen's Road Central

The bank for which Bolt has to do his couriering is an anonymous place by all accounts and staffed by none other than Geoffrey Weeks who also played the Braithewaite character in Enter the Dragon. After that he seems to have disappeared.

I did ask Chaplin Chang about Mr Weeks and he recalled that he was a radio host with Radio Television Hong Kong (Hong Kong's version of the BBC I guess - though its long-held tradition of unbiased reporting seems to be coming to an end now that a pro-China personality is in charge). What became of him after these two films no one seems to know - so if anyone has any information, please feel free to share.

Anyway, back to the non-descript bank. I'll be honest I wasn't even sure this was filmed in Hong Kong at all because I just didn't recognise the place and there is a good reason for this. The bank of course (in case you don't read my post titles) is the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building at No.1 Queens Road. This building - the 3rd version of it at this address was built in the 1930's and lasted up until its replacement (Turner-designed but looks crap anyway) was opened in 1984.

The problem is that this is the entrance that faces Queen's Road - supposedly the front entrance - but the fact is that the building (and its replacement) are rarely snapped from that side and despite a glut of harbour facing views of the place, it's rare to find a picture of this entrance facing the other way. Thankfully the photographer Harrison Forman did get a decent picture of this side in the 1940s giving me the conformation I required. I can't seem to embed the picture here so please follow this link:

Anyway, here's how it looks on film...

 ...and here is Geoffrey Weeks (centre) playing the strange bank dude.

And some more pictures of Queen's Road and, if you look carefully, another piece of confirmation in the form of the bottom of the Bank of China Building in the background (first pic).

This last picture gives us a view from the back of a car parked outside the bank. The bright bulding further on in the (old) Bank of China and in the far distance is the still standing Murray Road car park. Notrice that at no point does the camera capture the top of the bank doorway - if you look at the Foreman photo I linked to you'll see that the banks name was etched into the stone above.

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - Central Waterfront

Here's another great shot from the film.

Hang on...wait a sec...oh no ....arghh! They've done it again!

I'm beginning to think I'm living in a parallel universe. Here's the correct view after flipping horizontally.

This view is quite good because it shows us where the angled Blake Pier was in relation to the Connaught Centre (still with scaffolding at the top), as well as the pale low-rise former Central Fire Station (now replaced by the inexquisite Hang Seng HQ) with the vehicular ferry piers in front of it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - Aberdeen Harbour - flipped again!

Another later shot taken from the skies above Aberdeen Harbour, this time from the western end. But look closely and you'll see there is something funny about this view too...

...yup, another horizontal flip. For those unfamiliar with Aberdeen geography the old Aberdeen Power Station that can be seen lower left, was on the westerly tip of Ap Lei Chau - now the site of the South Horizons development. The angle on the sea wall next to the oil/gas containers can still be seen today in front of Phase 1 of the development (where blocks 3 and 1 currently stand).

The reclamation occurring on the opposite side of the harbour has some long-roofed structures at the top, this is the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market and the market building, along with the Aberdeen Fisheries and Marine Office just below it, are still around. The rest of the reclamation became the Tin Wan Praya Road and cold storage facilities.

Look carefully in the distance and you will make out the yellow-coloured building that was previously identified Aberdeen Harbour Mansion, it's reasonably prominent on the lower picture and its possible to see the Shek Pai Wan housing estate behind it (to the right on the screen grab). Anyway, once again, I have no idea why the film has been flipped but I have flipped it back and you can see what the film should have looked like below. It's a nice view and not a common one for film makers to use - although I think the Lara Croft film used a similar angle when it used Aberdeen to stand in for Taiwan (but more about that film and location in some future post).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - Borrett Mansions, Hong Kong

One location that features fairly prominently throughout this movie is Borrett Mansions on Borrett Road. This is because it is the apartment block where Bolt keeps his Hong Kong pad. As such we get multiple instances throughout where we see it from various angles.

The elevated approach of Borrett Road

 The entrance gate

Here is the most recent view via Streetview.

We are also treated to some views from the Borrett Mansion apartment as well - although I'm not sure which floor it was - and the first shot shows Fred Williamson looking out from the balcony. The view is quite revealing because it shows the Connaught Centre still under construction which, I think, might put the filming in the early part of 1973 or perhaps even 1972(?). Unfortunately I can't recreate this view (unless someone reading this has access to Borrett Mansion and would be kind enough to supply a modern-day comparison :-)), but suffice to say it isn't quite as unfettered as seen here back in the early 70's. Remember that the Connaught Centre (now Jardine House) was officially Hong Kong's very first skyscraper. Since then it seems as though several thousand more have been added.

View to Kowloon

View down to the ground floor entrance

Anyway, rounding off this rather photo-laden post with some more shots from the ground floor, including the entrance to the building, the front gate and Borrett Road.

 And in case you had any doubt where we were...

That Man Bolt - Fred Williamson (1973) - HK Macau Ferry Terminal, Sheung Wan

Seeing as we were just talking about the Ferry terminal, then why not take a quick look.The hydrofoil that we just saw leaving HK for Macau suddenly does an about turn and arrives back in HK. Amazing!

As you can see the hydrofoil goes past one of the larger slow passenger ferries, the Wah Shan, before tying up against the ferry pier. The old pier/terminal we have seen a couple of times on this blog previously (for example in The Man with the Golden Gun and Flatfoot in Hong Kong) but this film beats them by a couple of years.

I'm sure this brings back some memories for anyone who lived in or visited the place prior to the Shun Tak Centre being constructed because that's pretty much what sits on this site now.Is that larger ferry the Wah Shan? If we assume the filming of this scene was done with reasonable continuity then I guess it should be but, to be honest, these outside scenes showing the wider angle could have been filmed at anytime. Perhaps there is a HK<>Macau Ferry expert who can confirm the name of that ship?

Anyway, getting closer, we see Bolt and his RHKP escort leave the terminal building and get into a car before driving off.