My beautiful picture

In 1979, while I was based in Tokyo, I spent a week in Hong Kong, which at the time was still under British administration. And while I was in Hong Kong, I made a day trip to Macao, which at the time was still under Portuguese administration. I wanted to visit Macao chiefly because I was smitten with the 1952 RKO film noir of the same name, starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell, and directed by Josef von Sternberg (who was fired by executive producer Howard Hughes about a third of the way through filming and replaced with Nicholas Ray).

Of course, I wasn’t expecting the real Macao to be anything like the moody black and white movie, which was mostly filmed on a Hollywood sound-stage, with only stock footage shot on location in Macao and Hong Kong. And so it proved. But the journey there, by hovercraft, was exciting, because we threaded our way past lots of islands that looked

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