Empress Wu Tse-tien
Dir: Li Han-hsiang
Scrs: Li Han-hsiang, Wang Yueh-ting
Prod Co: Shaw Brothers
Cast: Li Lihua, Chao Lei, Grace Ting Ning, Lo Wei
1963 / Colour / D Beta / Mandarin / Chi & Eng Subtitle / 112min
An early Li Han-hsiang palace chamber masterpiece in epic scale. Li Lihua, in her role as Empress Wu, puts away her seductive glance and replaces that with a pair of piercing eyes, ready to spark off contempt when she finds the right target. The chambers of the Great Dynasty of Tang might look gorgeous and extravagant, but hidden between the columns are the most complex conspiracies and deadly plots that one finds it hard to avoid. Emperor Gaozong (Zhao Lei) and the two princes are simply too weak and too immature to match the Empress’s ruthless exercise of power. Li Han-hsiang demonstrated his command over grand sets and big casts which synced well with the fine craftsmanship and spectacular sets of set designer Chan King-sam. The success of this film has greatly boosted Li’s confidence in shooting a series of films on Chinese beauties such as His Shih:Beauty of Beauties (1965) and The Story of Ti Ying (1971).
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