Saturday, 13 September 2014

State Theatre - King's Road, North Point

Time to start rolling out some short but sweet posts that were quite fun to do, I have a whole bunch of them to do in no particular order but I was reminded of this place recently so it's as good a place to start as any. I've also been spending more and more time in North Point on Hong Kong Island recently so I'm getting to know the area a bit better. There are some great points of interest all over but one of my favourites is this old cinema building that sits on King's Road. 




It turns out that this place, originally known as the Empire Theatre, has a rather illustrious history and the so-called "Flying Beam" in the roof was and is still unique in Hong Kong. But anyway, rather than regurgitate everything here, it’s much better if I simply provide a link to the Cinema Treasures website where the ever-reliable Raymond Lo has also contributed some information about this theatre. I notice Raymond often posts comments on Gwulo.com so he really does appear to be one of Hong Kong's top cinema history experts.

Me on the other hand, well, this is of particular interest to me not just because of its interesting design but also because I happened to notice it made a brief appearance in the 1978 release of Game of Death. You can see the post I did for it on my film locations blog here.

Of additional interest is the interesting mural relief that adorns the wall above the main entrance. It's hard to see what it is in my photos because of years of accumulated dirt and grime, but if you follow the link to the Cinema Treasures website I provided above you can see some snaps of what it depicts. Reader "C" also left some useful links in the comments that I shall put here which show some more pictures of it: Link 1 and Link 2.


As you can see from the old photos on the links provided, the mural seemed to portray a naked lady with some rather fantastic pendulous breasts. Knowing how much the local population seems to be shocked at the mere hint of publicly displayed nips, I bet the artist responsible for creating this raised some eyebrows when he had to shape those into the sharp points they seem to have originally had.


I originally posted this about a two years ago and haven't really passed this area for several months now, so I am hoping the place is still there an hasn't been ripped down and replaced by a Starbucks since my last visit. The scaffolding was a bit worrying but usually only implies moderate works to be carried out rather than a demolition. You know when a place is going to be demolished because the first thing that gets put up are iron girders covering the footpath.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Phil --

    Yes, the place is still there -- but with large advertising covering much of its upper exterior walls, alas!

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  2. argh! it was bound to happen sooner or later. New World Development is trying to force a compulsory sale by buying up all the units and for some reason the State Theatre is included in the plot. It doesn't look like the place will be there much longer :-(

    http://www.timeout.com.hk/big-smog/features/75097/state-theatre-building-to-close-after-63-years.html

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