Thursday, August 11, 2022


After napping for a while yesterday evening I watched clips from nineteen fifties Hong Kong movies on you tube. Great singers, pointless plots. Style, those clothes! and Mandarin lyrics. With subtitles, of course, because back in that day the native speaker of Cantonese needed to read what was on screen. Not being quite up to date in that Northern Language.
If they learned it from some of those movies, their diction was perfect.

If they learned the Mambo from Grace Chang (張玉芳 'jeung yuk fong'; stage name "ge lan", 葛蘭) that was probably icing on the cake.

Dammit, nobody mambos anymore! What is this world coming to?!?

I might need to borrow a copy of Mambo Girl (曼波女郎) from the library.

Grace Chang is still alive (89 years old), but has not been in movies since the early sixties. She made thirty three films, retired in 1964. No, I don't know why. Her filmography rather indicates that she could have continued acting well into the seventies or eighties.

One of the interesting facets of Hong Kong films made in that era, as also their predecessors from nineteen thirties and forties Shanghai, was that the actors and actresses were often shown in completely western style interiors, wearing western clothes. So for many in the audience, it was almost like watching a travel film showing exotic places and colourful natives good lord what is that thing can you believe it?!?!

Here's miss Yao Lee (姚莉) singing The Spring Breeze Kissed My Face ("chwun feng wen shang wo de lian" 春風吻上我的臉 in an interior that looks like it could have been Hollywood or the south of France. No indication whatsoever of anything Chinese.

春風吻上我的臉 -- 姚莉


The movie it's from was, obviously, from the fifties. And worth watching just for that voice. The theme song 那個不多情 "who doesn't want love" has been covered by singers of both genders numerous times since then. It does not appeal much to me, hence no link.

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