Saint Jack, the 1979 movie based on the 1973 novel by Paul Theroux, is probably one of the better known films that was filmed in Singapore. The movie was often cited as an example in which Singapore of the past can be seen on film.

If you are interested to catch a glimpse of the Singapore of the past on film, you can do so soon. Between 23 – 30 January 2013, The Art House will be screening another American film titled Wit’s End with Singapore as backdrop. The 1971 movie was supposedly the first American movie to be filmed in Singapore.

The film follows a jaded American Marine and journalist Dave Dearborn who chases down mobsters, prostitutes and a mysterious substance called “anti-matter”. Perhaps of more interest to local audience is that the film features rare historic footages of places such as Clifford Pier; the Ellenborough Market, now Central Mall; the old Raffles Institution, now Raffles City mall; and one of only two public toilets that once stood in the middle of traffic, now the Clarke Quay area.

As part of the screening, The Arts House will be organising a photo trail, guided by Alex Tan of the Singapore Heritage Society, retracing scenes from the film. There will also be a photo exhibition featuring behind-the-scenes making of the film, rare film stills, as well as newspaper reportage in The Straits Times on the movie which was then known as No Visa for Singapore (“Lead roles going a-begging in ‘No Visa’ film”; “Shooting begins soon, but still no Mei Lee”).

The movie’s producer Marvin Farkas will launch his memoir on 26 January, where a discussion with film historian Ben Slater and director Joel Reed over Skype is being planned. The photo trail will take place on 27 January. Tickets to the film and photo trail can be purchased on

Here’s the title sequence to Wit’s End:

Wit’s End in Singapore
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