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Tracking the Peninsula's rich history and tradition

By Donna Mah in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-21 07:58

The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong has long been an icon for luxury and glamour. Built in 1928 across the road from what was the Kowloon-Canton Railway terminal, it has welcomed international travelers since opening its doors 85 years ago.

And now, the story of Asia's oldest hotel company, and of the Peninsula's owner, has been documented in a 45-minute film named Traditions Well Served. It traces the story from brothers Ellis and Elly Kadoorie, who started the company in the 1880s, to Elly's grandson Michael Kadoorie, the current chairman.

The film features archival footage, historical photographs and interviews, illustrating the long history and traditions of the family, the company and the hotels.

Tracking the Peninsula's rich history and tradition

The international production team of Traditions Well Served. Provided to China Daily

The original version of the film was made to celebrate the opening of The Peninsula Hong Kong's new tower in 1994. An updated sequel includes all 10 of the hotels in the group in Asia, North America and an upcoming foothold in Europe with the 2014 opening of The Peninsula in Paris.

Producer Elaine Forsgate Marden says: "My favorite part is the opening, with shots of Shanghai and Sir Michael Kadoorie on a yacht on the Huangpu river. It was the first image I had in mind when I was writing the outline two and a half years ago, and the film flows exactly along the timeline and program."

Marden is a self-proclaimed "Kowloon girl" who grew up in Hong Kong and has been involved in TV and film for more than 35 years. She wrote, produced, and directed the original Peninsula story. The updated version is directed by Libby Halliday Palin with Brian McDairmant as director of photography.

Palin came to Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1980 with the British Broadcasting Corporation, and met Marden soon after arriving. They have been good friends ever since.

Another friend involved in the film is Stephanie Powers, an American actress whom some will remember as one of the stars in the Hart to Hart TV series from the '80s.

Powers appears in the film and talks about The Peninsula in Los Angeles as the "in" place to be for the parties leading up to the Oscars. For Powers, the scenes from the film that depict the occupation of Hong Kong during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941 affected her most.

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