The Private Eyes
Dir / Scr: Michael Hui
Prod Co: Golden Harvest, Hui’s
Cast: Michael Hui, Samuel Hui, Ricky Hui, Agee Chiu, Richard Ng
1976 / Colour / D Beta / Cantonese / Chi & Eng Subtitles / 91 min
Call it the funniest comedy in the history of Hong Kong Cinema and few would disagree! The Private Eyes, Michael Hui’s third solo effort (wearing the hats of the screenwriter, the director and lead actor), avoids the over-complicated plot and the philosophical theme of his sophomore film. It abandons the narrative structure and concentrates only on a number of side-splitting situations. The result? A more than impressive study of one of the most loathsome yet simultaneously and incredibly charming and sympathetic characters on the screen, the selfish, covetous, preposterous, bossy and largely exploitative private gumshoe played by Hui himself. Although made mostly on location, the film still relies a great deal on the intricate and effectual set-design by Chan King Sum. Of particular mention is the scene in which Michael and Sam try to escape the police by climbing outside the building. In a time when green screen technology was still non-existent, the successful composites of shots had to rely heavily on well-designed and precisely-scaled sets. Here Chan has more than duly accomplished his task.
(This film is part of the “Chan Kei Yui/Chan King Sum: Father & Son – Two Magnificent Set Designers” programme.)
© 2010 Fortune Star Media Limited. All rights reserved.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
* Post-screening talk with Michael Hui
# Post-screening talk with Chan Suk Yi
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