Dir: Yuan Qiufeng Scr: Ma Xu Weibang
Cast: Betty Loh Ti, Chao Lei, Paul Chang Chung, Li Hsiang-chun
1962 / B&W / D Beta / Dubbed in Cantonese / 92min
Since the publishing of the French serial novel The Phantom of the Opera in 1909, its story has frequently haunted the silver screen. Inspired by the Hollywood adaptation of 1925, horror film master Ma Xu Weibang shot China's first truly expressionist horror film in 1937, Songs at Midnight . After migrating to Hong Kong, Ma Xu rewrote the original script, but a tragic car accident thwarted his plan to do a remake. Yuan Qiufeng took up his work and finished it in 1962 as a tribute to his mentor. This new version has less of the expressionistic flavor of the original, and instead foregrounds the Westerninfluenced local culture of Hong Kong. This indigenization is obvious in the “Huangmei Diao opera”-influenced playwithin- a-play sequence, the setting of a teahouse theatre, as well as the costumes and decor. The 1930s message of revolution and class struggle is watered down in favor of the love story.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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