Best recognised for his bumbling yet largely good-hearted characters, Yee Chau-shui (1904-1955) was one of the most popular comedians in Hong Kong cinema. Fondly nicknamed as the "Oriental Chaplin", Yee gave delightfully messy performances in comic roles, from the working class everyman to the hilarious cross-dresser, and was always an attraction. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Morning Matinee" will feature four of Yee's films at 11am on Friday mornings in July to showcase his likeable onscreen persona.
With years of experience in Cantonese opera, Yee offered a humorous singing style and eccentric body movements that often stole the show from the leading stars. Apart from being the comic highlight in the wide range of films he took part in, he was also widely known amongst colleagues including comedian Ko Lo-chuen for his benevolence.
The series "The Messy but Endlessly Delightful Yee Chau-shui" will be screened on July 5, 12, 19 and 26 at the Cinema of the HKFA. The films to be shown are "New White Golden Dragon" (1947), with Yee posing as a finance minister; "Flower Girl" (1952), which is based on a Chaplin classic; "Lucky Gathering" (1953), with Yee as the henpecked landlord; and "Turning Upside Down" (1956), in which he is paired with Cheung Ying.
In "New White Golden Dragon", Yee plays Sit Kok-sin's servant, who helps his master to win love with some well-timed slapstick and mime-like movements. "Flower Girl" retains the spirit of the tramp in this remake of Chaplin's classic "City Lights" as he plays the kind-hearted vagrant who helps the blind flower girl Hung Sin Nui.
In "Lucky Gathering", the two tenants Cheung Ying and Hung Sin Nui begin a romance while posing as rich folks to each other. Yee spices up the film with his hilarious acting as the amiable henpecked landlord. In the farcical comedy "Turning Upside Down", Yee steals the show by playing the bumbling buddy of Cheung Ying, and is stuck between a pair of twin brothers and their mistaken identities.
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 URBTIX. 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 68" 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/Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:55
A film still from "New White Golden Dragon" (1947).
A film still from "Flower Girl" (1952).
A film still from "Lucky Gathering" (1953).
A film still from "Turning Upside Down" (1956).