The Wild, Wild Rose
Dir: Wong Tin-lam
Scr: Qin Yifu (aka Nellie Chin Yu)
Prod Co: MP&GI
Cast: Grace Chang, Chang Yang, Dolly Soo Fung, Wang Lai
1960 / B&W / 35mm / Mandarin / Chi & Eng Subtitles / 134min
The songstress is a vivid embodiment of Chinese women’s sorrowful fate and is an endearingly cherished figure in the first few decades of Chinese cinema, that of Hong Kong included. The Wild, Wild Rose, a musical noir in which cigarette smoke is a major character, is one of the best songstress films ever. The film’s memorable title character is played by Grace Chang, the always captivating star shunning her established wholesome screen persona, going literally wild to play a sultry temptress with yet a heart of gold, somewhat a reincarnation of the Li Lihua character in Blood in Snow (1956). The film is marked by director Wong Tin-lam’s stylish mise-en-scene, a tight script penned by Nellie Chin Yu and evocative music by You Min and the Japanese composer Hattori Ryochi, which features a fascinating marriage between Mandarin musicals and western opera, citing Bizet’s Carmen in the first half and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in the second. A work that represents the highest point of Mandarin cinema.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
* Post-screening talk with Peter Dunn
# Post-screening talk with Peter Dunn
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