The Prince Incognito
Nikolai Gogol's The Inspector General is a satire play well-known around the world. In the period between the end of World War II and the 1960s, the play was adapted in Hong Kong cinema a total of six times. Director Huang Yu alone adapted it twice, as a Republic era story and a period comedy, respectively. The 1955 Republic era-set film is more faithful to its source material, following a spoiled rich brat who is mistaken as a government inspector in a small town and ends up being wined and dined by a corrupted local official. The film pokes fun at the ugliness of bureaucracy in old society, calling back to renowned Qing Dynasty novel Officialdom Unmasked while keeping the original play's artistic style.
The Prince Incognito turns the story into an uproarious Chinese New Year comedy, giving its veteran cast a chance to stretch their comic muscles as bumbling corrupted officials. Yam Kim-fai is a travelling scholar who poses as an imperial envoy after he's been robbed on the road. However, he refuses to take bribes and even orders the local government to help the poor. In a new plot twist, Yam also plays the real envoy, who turns out to be a prime and not surprisingly, the scholar's long-lost twin brother.
|4/8/2019 (Sun)||5:30pm||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive|
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