Body language and martial arts acts can easily be choreographed into rich and powerful film vocabulary on screen. Such visual imagery also carries a wealth of kung-fu formations, the aesthetic achievement of which deserves further analysis from a historical perspective. From its inception, Golden Harvest had already realised that action and comedies were the best genres that would cater to the international market. Action stars including Bruce Lee, Jimmy Wang Yu, Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan took on this legacy and tried out new approaches that would rejuvenate the action genre.
After the success of Games Gamblers Play , the widespread fondness of situation comedy prompted a series of Hui Brothers comedies that immediately found their way into the world market. John Woo, encouraged by the executives of Golden Harvest to produce comedies, also experimented with different ways of visual presentation to achieve the comical effect as in Follow the Star and Plain Jane to the Rescue. This section showcases 15 Golden Harvest comedies directed by various directors, covering a wide range of themes, styles and treatments.
Golden Harvest adopted a brand-new business concept totally different from big studio operations at the time. Besides establishing a strong distribution network, it ran its own cinema chain, allowed flexibility for financing, and created room for satellite companies that were fairly independent in their operations. This matrix of subsidiaries proved to be very successful in gauging talents, diversifying productions and maximizing profits. This innovative business model resulted in a string of such offshoots as Bruce Lee’s Concord, Michael Hui’s The Hui’s, Sammo Hung’s Bo Ho, Jackie Chan’s Golden Way, Johnny Mak’s New Hong Kong, as well as Alfred Cheung and Anthony Chan’s Mobile Film Productions.
The two films are part of the “100 Must-see Hong Kong Movies” programme.
Dare to Differ
As a special treat in this last chapter, we showcase some daring, cutting-edge and alternative works spanning from the 1970s to the 90s. Surprises include an awesome plot that turns the urban city into an international battle field, a sci-fi approach to the oriental period martial-arts genre, an undercover cop feature that reveals triad rituals, and a daring Category III movie that tries to bring ancient erotic paintings to live.
The contents of the programme do not represent the views of the presenter.
The presenter reserves the right to change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary.