Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Shek O

During the scene when Cleopatra is being pursued from the casino (the casino set was actually constructed at Shaw Bros because the famous pagoda, used in so many Shaw productions (fans will know which one I am talking about), was part of the rather extravagant set.

Anyway, one minute we are at the casino set and the next we are next to the Tin Hau Temple in Shek O.

 I don't have my own copy, but have uploaded and image from wikipedia (link:

From what I can see in the Cleopatra Jones screen grab, the temple has definitely undergone a renovation and it looks like the pictures at the front wall of the building have been changed. I think they might be tiled mosaics so I guess it's not too much of a job to change them - but the positions of the pictures haven't changed and neither has the general appearance of the place.

Just after she leaves the temple, Jones heads down the nearby street, in reality it's not too far away at all on Shek O Village Road. It's a night time shot, so not the clearest but some recognisable buildings can be seen.

The Streetview grab below shows the same place with the Chinoiserie-style white building on what, I think, is 405-407 Shek O Village Road (corrections welcome).

After this, Jones is cornered in a courtyard that, actually, could be anywhere but I have a sneaking suspicion it might still be in Shek O. The reason I say this is because one of the shots of the courtyard shows an archway at the back that looks like it says Ming Yuen. The Chinese characters are: 明苑 and you can see them at the back in the picture below (read R->L).

Now, there is still a building in Shek O that goes by that exact name. It's at #23 Shek O Headland Road but the area around it is rather now more developed so I can't confirm either way. So if there are any Shek O old-timers that can shed some light on this place it would be greatly appreciated and I have included a few more pictures of the courtyard below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Ladder Street, Sheung Wan

Not just Ladder Street but several parts of it including the area around Man Mo Temple. This, believe it or not, is still the same foot chase that started in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The above pictures are of the junction with Hollywood Road above. The antique shop with the round door/window is still there. The shots below though I'm not so sure - I think they might be the part of Ladder Street that joins with Caine Road - however, the block at the back has recently been redeveloped so I can't confirm.

However, if I'm right and the above bit is the Caine Road section, then this bit below, where the steps get quite wide, could be the section of Ladder Street between Caine Road and Bridges Street.

Anyway, after all that the sequence ends up back at the junction with Hollywood Road with Man Mo Temple making yet another film/TV appearance. I think it must be one of the most-filmed places of worship in HK.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Following on from the beginning of the chase scene at Blenheim Avenue, the bad guy next runs up Hanoi Road. Fans of Bloodsport will remember a very similar scene with JCVD and Forest Whitaker.

If you click through to the Bloodsport link you'll see a Streetview capture of how the road has changed. Unfortunately this is one street that looked much better before redevelopment. The trees and colourful signs have all gone to be replaced by fairly sterile looking glass.

Here are the Cleopatra grabs.

If anyone has any recollections of the shops that used to be here, please feel free to share in the comments.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Lyton Building, Blenheim Avenue

At the start of one of those crazy movie chases that start off in one part of Hong Kong and inexplicably jump to another we find our intrepid agents following a baddie from a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Luckily for us the building involved is still around - it's the Lyton Building on Mody Road, but the entrance we are interested in is the side one on Blenheim Avenue.

Our first clue is the image of John Cheung waiting patiently outside with a sign behind him saying 'Chow Bar Kee'. As luck would have it the business as well as the building is still around - this is the Mody House on the southwest corner of the Blenheim/Mody junction, which puts John well and truly in Blenheim Ave.

The next two shots are less helpful despite the Manna Korean restaurant showing us an address on 32B Mody Road. It turns out that the B refers to the fact that this small  business is actually behind number 32 Mody Road, even though its front entrance is on Blenheim Ave.

Not to worry, here is a recent Streetview (captured in 2009 because it was the clearest picture) which shows that the girls were running out of the Lyton Building entrance. The Manna Korean Restaurant was located in the shop with the black front and as you can see the entrance the girls run from has since had some brown tiling put on it.

Of course the clincher though was the next shot which shows our chasee (is that even a word?) running up Blenheim Towards Mody and the junction where several roads meet - Hanoi Rd, Hart Ave, Mody Rd and Blenheim Ave all meet at the odd junction. Look at the background below and you will see the building that used to sit between the meeting point of Hanoi and Hart. We've seen this building before and regular readers may remember it from Bloodsport a while back. Coincidentally, the Bloodsport scene also involved a chase on foot.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - The Peninsula Hotel, Kowloon

Unlike Susan Hayward's experience of the Peninsula Hotel lobby for the film Soldier of Fortune back in 1955 (it was a US studio set), Tamara Dobson actually gets to walk through the real thing in Cleopatra Jones 2.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Blake Pier, Central

Although not the original (which has been recreated/reconstructed in Stanley next to the recreated Murray House) the 1970's version of Blake Pier (actually built in the mid-60's) was angled and had an open air restaurant at the end. We've seen it several times on this blog already - though that's not surprising given its prime waterfront location. The view was nice, as you will see, but apparently the food left a lot to be desired.

Several things to note on these few screen caps. The first thing of note is the vehicular ferry in the background. We know from those previous blog posts that the ferry was right next to the old Central Vehicular ferry pier. In the second picture the things that stands out for me is the old Central Fire Station - the white building in the background. A very grand affair that has now, sadly, been replaced by the Hang Seng HQ building.

The approximate location of where these guys were sitting is currently around where Man Cheung Road passes the southern side of the IFC2.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Ferry Street, Mongkok

There's a car chase in the film that takes place along the former waterfront in Yau Ma Tei. Of course these days the waterfront has been extended significantly west (nearly 1km in places) courtesy of the West Kowloon Reclamation - the change is quite astonishing. Ferry Street marks the former waterfront and the location where some of the chase takes place and we know this because despite all the changes there are still some reasonably old buildings around. The first picture below was the most helpful in pinning down the actual location because just to the right of the kid's head is a building with some characters written vertically at the edge.

This is the Yuen Fat Building on the northern corner of Ferry Street and Nelson Street and can be seen on the following Streetview with the same writing down the side. It's had a change in colour since the film though.

Looking south we can see another building that is still with us, although I can't explain what has happened to some of it - it looks as though some remodeling has occurred. It's the yellow building below and it's called the Kwong Wing Building.

This northern end of it is barely recognisable today because the lower storey windows have all been remodeled and it looks like some of the exterior wall has been removed. However, I can assure you it is the same building.

This is the junction with Shantung Street and the building extends the whole block down to Soy Street.

The car chase moves into Yau Ma Tei territory as the vehicles speed down the road and we get a quick glimpse back up the road where both the Yuen Fat Building and Kwong Wing Building can still be seen.

I'm not sure quite how far down the road this later screen grab was made but I will say that all the buildings on the right hand side have well and truly long gone. Just looking at the Streetview below you will see that the road itself now has the West Kowloon Corridor running over the top of it.

To illustrate how much this place has changed, the following shot from the same road shows the former unfettered view down to the Ferry Point Estate - a familiar set of buildings on this blog - but this view is impossible from ground level these days and the Streetview show that follows had to be grabbed from a spot high up on the flyover and you can only just make out the buildings in the middle - now completely surrounded by all kinds of mess.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shatter - Stuart Whitman (1974) - O'Brien Road, Wanchai

Another identification courtesy of Thomas. I think, in all honesty, I would never have found this one alone, the changes are just too great since the film was made. But anyway, thanks to Thomas and his rather vast local knowledge we now know that one of the opening scenes of Shatter - which is displayed in the title credits - is the corner of O'Brien Road and Lockhart Road in Wanchai.

As Thomas noted in his reasons for the ID, two of the buildings seen in the screen capture below are still around today.

As you can see by the Streetview below, the road now sits underneath the Wanchai walkway which joins Wanchai MTR station with Immigration Tower on (what was) the harbourfront. It's a familiar walk to anyone who has had to apply for a visa or permanent residency in HK (I myself had to do multiple trips courtesy of various visas for myself and children followed by our ROA applications).

Anyway, the buildings Thomas noted as still standing are the two on the left hand side of both pictures. They've changed a bit but you can still make out the same aspect and dimensions as they were back in 1974. The closer one is the Hong Kong Building and was built in 1966, the one next to it further away is Mercantile House built a year later.

Once again many thanks to Thomas Ngan for the ID.

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Onboard the Tai Pak, Aberdeen

A new angle for the Tai Pak as we get to take a quick peek inside the famous floating restaurant. Initially I wasn't sure whether this was the Tai Pak or the Sea palace, but closer examination reveals that the windows, red pillars and curved end are those of the former.

If you look closely on the above picture, you can see the old Police Station building (now known as 'The Warehouse') on the hill on the right hand side.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Waterloo Road, Kowloon

This one was a bit of a headscratcher until I realised the bridge in the back of this shot was actually the previous version of the KCR railway bridge where it crosses Waterloo Road near Wylie Road.

This is the Honda motorcycle shop where John Cheung's character works and where the Chinese agents have their training room.

I don't think the section of building we can see above containing the Honda dealership is still around, I have a sneaky feeling it has already been replaced by a newer building called Nelson Court (built 2001). Of course, the camera angle may be deceiving my eyes because the section of store front does look very similar to Tsui Yuen Mansion which is still around today. Anyway, feel free to offer opinions on how far down the road the camera is positioned. There are some other things still around including some of the buildings at the background behind the track/bridge. The nearest one (yellow, on the right) is Gay Mansion (built 1966), and just behind that is the Tsan Yung Mansion (built 1964) - this was the same building that used to house the Blue Taxi Cab Company Limited seen in David Chiang's The Taxi Driver. It's the one with the curved lower floor facade and small red balconies. Following that, just behind the red balconies is the slightly older Liberty Mansion (built 1962). There is another older building still standing but it is hidden on the far side of Liberty mansion in this screen shot. Here is the modern Streetview for a reasonable comparison.

The KCR track has been upgraded to a double track in the late 70's and I suspect it was this event that saw the replacement of the bridge with its current much larger version.

In the film we get a brief glimpse of the view from the shop and the greenery on the other side of the road. This is the grounds of the Wylie Road garden and that space currently has a basketball court on it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold - Tamara Dobson (1975) - Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City

It's not the first time we have been down here, but it's a different angle this time so worth including.

The market on the right has since been replaced by the Kowloon City Municipal Services building. There's only a sprinkle of the older buildings remaining here (I think I counted 3 blocks), all the others have since been replaced.