Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Wanchai Harbourfront, Hong Kong

The whole series of Yellowthread Street uses some great aerial shots of the territory and the next one is from Episode 3: Key Witness. We have a nice sweeping view that starts from the Wanchai Interchange (the big roundabout below) and then pans west towards Central.

 The Wanchai Interchange with a small glimpse of Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter to the north. Below we pan to the left (west) and can see Wanchai Sports ground with what looks like some javelin distance marking on it?

The flyover that crosses the main road (Gloucester Rd) towards the sports ground is Marsh Road. Just below we can see the black side of the Sun Hung Kai Centre.

The pool belongs to the Harbour Road Sports Centre and is called Wanchai Training Pool. All seem to have so far survived despite all the current reclamation going on.

This is the interesting bit (for me, at least) because it shows the area that is now occupied by Central Plaza (opened 1992) and where then small semi circle protrudes into the harbour is now occupied by the Convention and Exhibition Centre - the venue where the handover ceremony was held in 1997. The white building behind the Sun Hung Kai Centre is the China Resources Building and in front of that is a bare site which is where Central Plaza now stands. Despite all this redevelopment, I think most of these buildings still stand including the curved structure (next to the semi-circle) which is the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel.

 Th final few pictures looking over towards a rather misty looking Central, with HMS Tamar obvious (the square piece of water) at the harbourfront and for the more eagle-eyed of you should see the white with black stripes side of the Bank Of America tower and next to it the golden Far East Finance Centre.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Dumbarton Road, Kowloon Tong

Back to Episode 3 - Key Witness - for this post. A businessman has tried to fake his own death because the Triads are after him and Marenta (Robert Taylor) goes to his home to speak with his wife about his whereabouts.

The place he goes to is just off La Salle Road in Kowloon Tong as we can see from the following screencaps. Check out the plane doing its turn into Kai Tak in the top picture.

Sadly, he doesn't go into the rather elegant looking place on the opposite side of the road, but instead pulls in to Dumbarton Road (the west part on the west side of Kowloon Tsai Park). The plot he goes into has actually been completely rebuilt - a very common occurrence in Kowloon Tong because the plots of land are relatively huge - so we will have to make do with a picture of a much more modern building that now sits there called La Salle Court (the shiny one left of centre)

Far more interesting, in my humble opinion, is the building we see in the top two frames. By some sort of bizarre luck, this place is still around and so are its nice elegant iron gates.

It's called Hyde Park Villa and is probably an original building the 1950's (occupation date says 1957). It's very similar to the style of property we also can see over at nearby Yau Yat Tsuen which was developed in the 1950's. Very stylish I think, and nice to see that it hasn't changed for the past 25 years or so.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Former British Military Hospital, King's Park

This next one has had me literally chasing my tail because it has been really difficult to track down. The location is quite important because it occupies a large section of Episode 4 called Middleman which concerns a criminal taking Pak (Tzi Ma) hostage in a local hospital.

The film makers made quite a bit of effort to disguise the real location, more than is warranted, I feel, but here are a few examples...

A few red herrings here because, yes, there is a place called Central Hospital, but it's not this place. Secondly, there is the Chinese name 中央醫院 (Jung Yeung Yi Yuen), which is the original name of a venue now known as the Sai Ying Pun Jockey Club Polyclinic, and no, it's not that place either.

Then there is another red herring in the form of an address we see at one point (when Marenta - played by Robert Taylor - heads off to do some investigation on the 'Middle Man'). We see a hospital invoice. Check out the address below. It says 222 Waterloo Road.

This, coincidentally (or not, as I suspect is the case) is the actual address of the Baptist Hospital in Kowloon Tong. Hmmm.

So, why these guys went to so much trouble I don't know. But either way, it has had me scratching my head until I was doing some research on another matter (as is usually the case) and I discovered some great pictures on FLICKR of the old British Military Hospital on Wylie Road in King's Park.

Here's the ink:

A wiki entry can also be found here:,_Hong_Kong#King.27s_Park

Anyway, suffice to say, the other major reason I had so much difficulty is because this building has been replaced by a huge apartment complex called Parc Palais. You can read a bit more on wiki but the upshot is that the hospital was decommissioned on 30th June 1996 and eventually demolished in the early 00's before Parc Palais was built (opened in 2004).

Anyway, enjoy a few more screen grabs because this is pretty much all that seems to be left.

 If anyone can point me to more photos of the place then that would be very welcome.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Here's a bit of a stumper from episode 2 - The Lost Man. It features Pak (played by Tzi Ma) following a fellow Vietnamese Boat refugee because he thinks she has something to do with the disappearance of a bar girl. His mark works in a place called The Players Club and Topless Bar. Now, try as I might to get a hit off both the Chinese (花花世界夜總會) and English name of this place, all I get is a bit of a red herring over in Soy Street. Here are the grabs...

All well and good, but I'm going to take a giant leap of faith here because of something I noticed in the last screencap. It's a leap of faith because it is making a rather big assumption and that is that all these shots were done in the same location. If you look to the left by Pak's head there is a rather distinctive red sign by his hair. This is the rather famous sign of the Red Lips Bar - a well known bar in TST that was in an alleyway off Peking Road (it was situated halfway between Hankow and Lock Roads).

This scene follows the Bottoms Up club scene I covered a few posts ago, so it is quite feasible that the production crew got all these bar shots out of the way in one fell swoop rather than hopping from one side of the harbour to the other. So I am going to assume that The Players Nightclub was along Peking Road (or thereabouts), but I am sure there is someone who can give me a more accurate position.

I await your feedback...:-)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Contagion - Matt Damon (2011) - Tsing Ma Bridge, Tsing Yi

An easy spot this one and probably familiar to anyone who has visited Hong Kong since 1998 will have passed over this bridge at least once.

Judging by the angle, it seems as though the filmmakers pulled in some favours and actually managed to get the camera up onto one of the uprights of the bridge.

Here is a similar angle I took from the Tsing Yi Nature Trail a couple of years ago. It's pretty high from up there but I think confirms that the filmmakers did in fact make it up the actual bridge (or perhaps used a drone). Anyway, an impressive view from either angle.

Contagion - Matt Damon (2011) - Tung Choi Street, Kowloon

One of the more easily identifiable street scenes as the kidnappers are driving Dr Orantes around in their black van. In this case we are travelling south along Tung Choi Street in Mongkok - perhaps more commonly known to visitors as "Ladies Market". If you look closely at the floor in the screencaps you can see the yellow line markings that demarcate each of the stall holder's selling spots.

The street looks so deserted because this scene was filmed before all the stalls had been erected. The large brown and yellow sign with the words: 沙嗲王 on it (see top left of the last screencap) is at the junction with Shantung Street and is a branch of the local food chain Satay King. When I first wrote this post I had yet to visit for food, but I did try once and discovered to my great disappointment that not a single bit of satay chicken skewer was available - its main fare seems to be spicy soup. You have been warned.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Contagion - Matt Damon (2011) - Chinese Permanent Cemetery, Tsuen Wan

This is the location of the handover of Dr Orantes by her Chinese kidnappers - although an obvious case of Stockholm Syndrome seems to have taken a hold of her. The exchange takes place above Tsuen Wan in the Chinese Permanent Cemetery. As the camera sweeps around the scene we get a good glimpse of some of the buildings in Tsuen Wan, including an opening shot of Riviera Gardens.

Riviera Gardens

The van drives south towards the meeting point, the southern hill of Tsing Yi in the background.

Dr Orantes with the cemetery slopes behind her. The building far left is the Sunley Centre

This bottom screencap is a nice wide view of the cemetery area showing Nina Tower back left. Almost at its base is the low rise white ship-like shape of the cemetery columbarium. The blue glassed building is the previously mentioned Sunley Centre and you can just see the red colour of the Shun Hing Centre on the far right. The mountain in the background is the slopes of Tai Mo Shan - HK's highest peak.