Singapore Film Locations Archive

Istana Impian / Dream Palace (1953)

Original film title in Malay: Istana Impian
Literal English translation of film title: Dream Palace

Directed by V. Girimaji
Written by V. Girimaji
Language: Malay
Starring: Mariani, Neng Yatimah, Saadiah, S. Shamsuddin
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)

Film Locations:
Victoria Memorial Hall and vicinity
Malay School
Soap factory


When Sulong, a penniless man, strikes it rich by winning the lottery, he begins to lead a high life and is duped into a friendship with a gang of swindlers. Their maneuvers to cheat him of his property are thwarted by their own internal rivalry. Apologetic for his earlier behaviour, Sulong decides to invest his riches in a “kong-si” soap factory.


_01-Istana-Impian-Victoria-Hall-Spore-Cricket-Club _02-Istana-Impian-Malay-School


_03-Istana-Impian-Soap-Factory _04-Istana-Impian-Soap-Factory _05-Istana-Impian-Soap-Factory


It isn’t clear in the film which soap factory was used for the location shoot, but we thought we could render a guess by searching through the newspapers archive to find out if any soap factories were operating in Singapore in the 1950s. We realized that the soap-making industry was pretty active then in Singapore, was even producing a surplus beyond local consumption to export to regional markets. Leader players in the industry included Lam Soon (at Robertson Quay and Jurong Road), Ho Hong that produces the ‘Double Arrow’ and ‘Palm Tree’ brands (at Peng Siang Quay, expunged; its site near the Singapore River is now occupied by Copthorne King’s Hotel), and Gim Cheong which manufactures the ‘Ayam’ brand (at No. 359 Holland Road; now a condominium). So, which one of these was Istana Impian filmed in?


Further Reading:
1. ‘They have Malaya’s most modern factory: Lam Soon keep up with progress’. The Singapore Free Press. 7 August 1950, p. 3.
2. ‘This is how soap is made’ (at Ho Hong Soap Factory). The Singapore Free Press. 29 October 1955, p. 3.
3. ‘Firm plans a switch from soap to condominium’. The Straits Times. 5 August 1980, p. 31.

Film Images:
© 1953 Malay Film Productions


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