The House of 72 Tenants
Dir/Scr: Chor Yuen
Set Design: Chan King-sam
Cast: Elliot Yueh Hua, Ching Li, Hu Chiu,
Ivan Ho, Lydia Shum
1973 / Colour / D Beta / Cantonese / Chi & Eng subtitles / 98min
This film made history. By 1971, all Cantonese films had practically stopped production and Hong Kong Cinema was largely monopolized by Mandarin-speaking films produced by Shaw Brothers. Most Cantonese actors were forced to move into television. It was Chor Yuen, once a prolific director of Cantonese Cinema, who proposed to Shaw Brothers to adapt The House of 72 Tenants , a hugely popular play in Shanghai during the war, for the screen with a mixed cast comprising Shaw’s own contracted actors (most of whom spoke Mandarin) and TV artists (from Cantonese Cinema). He also insisted the film be released in (dubbed) Cantonese. The result: a film that broke all previous box office records (including Bruce Lee’s) and revived the Cantonese Cinema hereafter. The comedy has its action taking place entirely in a single tenement that contains 72 tenants. Chan King-sam’s set is purposely theatrical, but is also flexible enough to allow Chor Yuen’s camera to move around its corners and corridors.
Licensed by Celestial Pictures Limited. All rights reserved.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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