Emperor Zhengde's Night Visit to the Dragon and Phoenix Inn
Dir / Scr: Wong Hok-sing
Cast: Yam Kim-fai, Lai Yee, Fung Wong Nui, Tam Lan-hing
1958 / B&W / D Beta / Cantonese / 105min
A year before Shaw Brothers’ The Kingdom and the Beauty (1959) moved audiences in Hong Kong and Taiwan, director Wong Hok-sing had already made a Cantonese version of the story. The iconic Yam Kim-fai stars as an emperor who falls in love with a beautiful commoner from a small village, played by Lai Yee. At the time of release, the film was considered daring in some ways for showing two lovers who could lay out their feelings in an explicit manner, from the emperor’s physical courtship to the village girl’s sudden willingness to fall in love with the emperor after discovering his true identity. In the end, the film chooses a more ideal approach to love, with the emperor choosing his beauty over his kingdom when he realises that the two cannot co-exist. Due to the damage on the film’s original color print, we will be screening the black and white version. However, the grand sets and elegant wardrobe created for the film can still clearly be seen on the big screen.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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