From playing antagonist characters like womanisers, traitors and thugs to acting in comedies in everyman roles, like the nice guy in romance films and the sidekick strategist who helps the hero formulate schemes, Yu Ming gave extraordinarily performances in a wide range of acting styles. As a tribute to the genre-crossing actor, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Morning Matinee" series will screen four of Yu's films at 11am on Friday mornings in June.
"The Wonderfully Humorous Yu Ming" series will be screened on June 7, 14, 21 and 28 at the Cinema of the HKFA. The films to be shown are "Red Lips of May" (1968), featuring Yu as the hero's strategist; "A Fool's Luck" (1961), in which Yu plays an evil eunuch; "Beware of the Husband" (1964), with Helena Law and Yu as a hilarious couple; and "Making a Living in a Blind Way" (1967), featuring the comic pairing of Yu and Sun Ma Si-tsang.
Today an 89-year-old veteran actor, Yu Ming entered the film industry with his elder brother Yu Leung. Yu Ming has acted in over 300 films and has been popular in both film and TV. He played a wide variety of roles - from antagonists to everyman characters - and his style of playing the bumbling, over-the-top comic relief became a signature style that audiences loved.
"Red Lips of May" is one of Yu's favourite films, and he showed off his great comic timing as the strategist of the film's hero. To help his boss to woo Josephine Siao, Yu poses as a rich businessman. A comic chase scene with a security guard is the comic highlight of the film. In "A Fool's Luck", starring Yam Kim-fai, Law Yim-hing and Mak Bing-wing, Yu plays an evil eunuch attempting to usurp the throne. Yu plays the conniving villain with his distinguished style and captures the audience's attention.
Uproarious comedy unfolds in "Beware of the Husband" after Yu, playing a driver, engages in an act of debauchery. He visits a prostitute but is exposed in the end by his feisty wife, played by Helena Law, and gets a well-deserved beating from her. Yu's scene with Law is the comic high point, and it marked the beginning of a great acting partnership. In "Making a Living in a Blind Way", Yu and Sun Ma Si-tsang are paired as good friends. When Yu wins the lottery, he abandons his friends, only to have his fortune scammed away by con artists. From portraying an honest labourer to playing a heartless man consumed by greed, Yu displays the wide range of his acting talent in this film.
All films are in Cantonese without subtitles. "The Morning Matinee" series is guest-curated by film researcher Yuen Tsz-ying.
Tickets priced at $20 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999 or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the "ProFolio 67" leaflet, which is distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011mm/2011mm_film.html.
Ends/Monday, May 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:56
A film still from "A Fool's Luck" (1961).
A film still from "Beware of the Husband" (1964).
A film still from "Making a Living in a Blind Way" (1967).