Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Three Charming Smiles (3) - Smiles Since 1926

Chen Sze Sze and Xiang Qun in Three Charming Smile (1964), still captivting and entertaining after 40 years

Classic Chinese moviesgoers would definately remember or notice these two versions: The Great Wall version(1964), and the Shaw Bros version (1969).

Dazzlingly memorable : THREE CHARMING SMILEs (1964)

Directed by the veteran filmmaker Li Ping Qian, the chief director of Great Wall that has been active in showbiz since silent era, this version would surely always be remembered by Mainland Chinese of middle age and above, as it has been truly a massive hit upon it's release soon after cultural revolution.

VIDEO CLIP: The First Smile of Qiu Xiang (Chen Sze Sze) in temple, has made Tang Bohu (xiang Qun)fall in love at first sight, and thus starts showing affection and flirting Qiu Xiang

This feature, whom established the darling Chen Sze Sze as the immortal sweetheart of China, was a rather interesting musical that appear to be one of it's kind for entire Chinese film history.

Instead of falling into the endless ruiness competition between Shaw Bros and Cathay's in Huang Mei Costume musical, Great Wall Studio has actually come out with this one, adapting different genres of Jiang Nan (inclusive of the ancient Wu dialect speaking area -Zhe Jiang province, Jiangsu province, Shanghai) region folk musics and opera, with customized lyrics, this appear to be so unique yet ensuring the commercial success of the film.

VIDEO CLIP: Qiu Xiang (Chen Sze Sze)has been so irritated with Tang Bohu (xiang Qun)fall in irritation, yet tang Bohu seems to become even annoying~~:)

It was indeed a splnedid creativism that combined commercial value, entertainment quality, while preserving the essential cultural sgnificance by employing various chinese folk music, as well as some of the genuine Chinese opera technique in emotional expression, compare to the rather repetititve Huang Mei musical style of that era.

Up to date, this has been the best screen adaptation in my eyes, and both Chen Sze Sze and Xiang Qun has given a marvellous and unforgettable performance...

Note: Miss Xiang Qun of Guang Dong origin, was born and brought up in Shanghai as Chen Xiu Ping. She first joined a Shaoxing Oepra Troupe in Shanghai and has been trained to play the "sheng (male)" role, before involved in Hong Kong' Great Wall's prouduction of Three Smile (1964).

She was once dubbed the Yam Kin Fai of Shaoxing Opera by Screen and Stage Pictorial, and only has two films in her filmography. Xiang Qun was a professional Shaoxing opera actress, and she has established her very own Opera troupe in Hong Kong named Golden Phoenix, with quite a number of successful performances in Hong Kong and singapore, in collaboration with Great Wall actress Li Qiang.

Special thanks to earlymoon for Xiang Qun information, Yin Niu Si and Shuesik for San Xiao's Clips...

VIDEO CLIP: Old maid Shi Liu (Qiu Ping) whom secretly admiring Tang Bohu, has finally decided to make the first move !

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