Friday, June 4, 2010

Comrades, Almost A Love Story. Harold L. Lee & Sons Inc. Insurance.

May 8, 1995. The day that famed Taiwanese songstress Teresa Teng suddenly died of a severe asthma attack while on vacation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She was only 42. One of Teng's most popular songs, "The Moon Represents My Heart", was used to endearing affect in Peter Chan Ho-sun's 1996 romance film COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY. I've featured this wonderful film on the blog before and have also showed you guys a few of the NYC locations where some of the scenes took place. And here is another one. Harold L. lee & Sons Inc. Insurance. Located on Pell St. in NYC Chinatown. In the below series of photos, you can see the name 'Harold L. Lee & Sons Travel Service' stenciled on the door that Maggie is about to exit. Circa the mid 90's, the place appeared to be a travel agency for the c-town folk. From travel agency to insurance company. I guess Harry and his boys knew where the money was? At the bottom of the post you'll find one of my cheesy little videos that I know you all love so much.

In the scene, my lover Maggie Cheung Man-yuk is inside of Harold L. Lee & Sons and is informed that she has finally received her green card and can now return home to China without incident. Upon exiting the establishment (pictured above and below) she overhears on the radio of the passing of Teresa Teng.

Teng's "The Moon Represents My Heart" is a beautiful song that once heard is unshakable. Even if you don't understand the language, the lovely melody coupled with Teng's shimmering voice really takes hold, and, if you are so lucky, make you happy to be in love. In the film, the song serves as a connection between the two main characters, Maggie and Leon Lai Ming. It also serves to link them back to a time and place that seems so distant and almost forgotten, as the two struggle to root down and make meaning of their lives in foreign surroundings.

Maggie. Dreaming the reality.

Maggie and the Bloody Angle.....again.

COMRADES, is one of many HK films that attempts to portray strangers in a strange land. Whether that land be Hong Kong and the odd disconnect that seems to exist between various Chinese denizens there or the fish-the-way-the-heck-out-of-water attempt to fit in in New York City. It's a film that, though populous and only ankle deep in meaning, is far reaching to a large Chinese diasporic population, and appears to get the feeling of it's characters, and their time and place, right.

Above is an up to date photo of the outside of Harold L. Lee & Sons establishment. The outside is never shown in the film and I suspect has transformed over the last 14 or so years into what you see here. There is also a gwailo heroin hooker doing her best gangster lean up against the facade. While an idiot gwailo HK film geek takes a photo of her. Gotta love C-town. Below is one of my award winning documentaries that I made of the outside of Harold L. Lee & Sons Inc. Insurance. Enjoy.

If your memory is a bit fuzzy, below you can find the above mentioned scene from COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY. The scene runs from the 10:57 mark to the 11:52 mark. But if you want to hear a little snippet of Teng's "The Moon Represents My Heart", let the video run to the end. And, again, enjoy.


  1. Great Hong Kong movie location spotting in New York! :)

  2. Thank you YTSL. I am going on vacation to San Francisco this week and I am hoping to do some Hong Kong movie location spotting there as well.

  3. Great job--"Comrades" is one of my favorite HK movies. I get a kick out of seeing the locations.

    By the way, Maggie Cheung couldn't really be your lover since she has been my pretend girlfriend for years.

  4. So that's where she has been going on the weekends? To your place. I fogive her. haha


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