Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Sister Ka Yin lost her front tooth in her childhood and called herself "Cigar Yin" and thus accidentally caught her mentor's eye
Nancy Sit started at age 6 as a child star and worked until young womanhood
COLORFUL YOUTH began the rise of musicals
Pak Suet Sin and Yam Kin Fai's HOW THE SCHOLAR TONG PAK FU WON THE MAID CHAU HEUNG has been adapted into films many times
Leung Sing Bo (left) was the king of comedy then
Kwan Tak Hing and Shek Kin's WONG FEI HUNG film series has become classic
Wu Fung was fan blown so often that he was known as "Electric Fung"
Wu Fung and Lam Fung were often paired as a couple
THE BURNING OF THE RED LOTUS TEMPLE special effects open the eyes of many
courtesy of

TVB Network Vision Limited released TVB Classic Movies that will air classic Cantonese films all day to pass on culture and art while everyone search for collective memory and savor the changes of times. Known as the classic movie channel chief, Nancy Sit Ka Yin remembered the most that her musical theme song was known all over the streets. When COLORFUL YOUTH was released, all of her fans sang along while watching it.

TVB will arranged for 1,500 valuable Cantonese films to air on the TVB Network Vision's "TVB Classic Movies". Ten classics among classic including TEN BROTHERS, BIG CLUMSY MELON, BUDDHA'S PALM film series, MY INTIMATE PARTNER, THE STORY OF A DISCHARGED PRISONER, WONG FEI HUNG, KING OF LION DANCE, SVEN PRINCESSES, BUTTERFLY AND RED PEAR, THE JUDGE GOES TO PIECES, and ROMANCE OF THE PHOENIX CHAMBER will be aired one after another for Hong Kong people to find their roots together. Through Cantonese films they could learn about Hong Kong's past scenery, appreciate the already vanished Star Ferry Pier, Yucca de Lac, Kai Tak Airport and other locations to savor the changes of times, understand the stories of Hong Kong people then, and learn about the hard days of "who tells you to be poor, tough it out" when the entire family was forced to live in a partitioned flat.

As the station chief Sit Ka Yin said, "With Classic Movies, everyone won't have to watch them in the middle of the night. I encourage my own children to watch them. Cantonese films are closely related to Hong Kong people, influence Cantonese opera and film development, and can display how Hong Kong changed over time. From the film you can see how life, buses and taxis used to be like and witness history."

Speaking of Cantonese films, Sister Ka Yin who started as a child star at age 8 counted them like family treasures. Back then she performed for her grandfather on his birthday and caught a producer's eye. Leung Sing Bo was considered her first mentor. She said, "My first film was FIFTEEN CHILDREN. Uncle Bo who was making a movie in the next studio asked me for my name. At the time my baby front tooth was out, so I said 'Cigar Yin'. He thought I was very cute, and a child star just happened to have a fever so Uncle Bo asked me to go over for the shoot. That big production was star studded, with Sister Yam (Kin Fai), Ng Kwan Lai, Lam Ka Sing, Lan Chi Pak, (Connie) Chan Bo Chu. After only a few days in the business I already made two films."

Working from her childhood to young womanhood, Sister Ka Yin remembered the most when her theme songs were sung all over the streets. With COLORFUL YOUTH, LADY SONGBIRD, EVERY GIRL A ROMANTIC DREAMER, viewers sang along while watching at the movies. Earlier when she attended a Hong Kong Film Archive event, viewers were already in their 50s and 60s. As soon as COLORFUL YOUTH played, the entire venue sang along. The popularity of musical back then could be imagined.

The current "King of Comedy" is Stephen Chow Sing Chi, back then was the "Clown Actor King" Leung Sing Bo. Aside from the later remade THE DUNCE ATTENDS A BIRTHDAY PARTY and the classic among classics HOW THE SCHOLAR TONG PAK FU WON THE MAID CHAU HEUNG, Uncle Bo's SILLY WONG GROWING RICH indeed accurately reflected the wishes of the poor general public. Wuxia films that never grew old naturally was one of the main pillars of Cantonese film. The WONG FEI HUNG film series in which Master Kwan Tak Hing vs. Shek Kin like WONG FEI HUNG, KING OF LION DANCE, HOW WONG FEI HUNG SUBDUED THE TWO TIGERS and HOW WONG FEI HUNG SMASHED THE FIVER TIGERS and others just kept getting made. The Kwan Tak Hing played Wong Fei Hung's righteous, honorable and gentleman image even served the purpose of civilizing the audience.

As the "TVB Classic Movies" chief Wu Fung (Brother Sau) has made over 200 Cantonese films and witnessed the golden age of Cantonese films. Brother Sau felt that Cantonese films naturally have a group of supporters, specifically their stories are neat, rational and different from the current style.

Brother Sau' was already the lead actor in his first Cantonese film MEN'S HEARTS, which also made him an overnight star. He said that getting into the business was very simple. "A film company was hiring lead actors and actresses, so I wrote a letter for an interview. Three days after the audition the film company already signed a contract with me." Having made many romantic films, Brother Sau has worked with countless female stars. Brother Sau had so many "girlfriends" that even he could not keep count. Brother Sau said, "On screen couples truly were countless, so many that even I can't remember them all. I can only say that I have worked with all Cantonese film female stars, the most with Lam Fung, Ng Kwan Lai, Nam Hung and others. So everyone has been my on screen lover."

Brother Sau had two nicknames, one was "Dance King Sau" that also originated from the Cantonese film era. At the time Brother Sau worked hard on musicals, on the set he kept rehearsing his dancing. The hard working Brother Sau thus was nicknamed "Dance King Sau". Brother Sau's other nickname "Electric Fung" came from Leung Sing Bo. Brother Sau said, "At the time the studio didn't have air conditioning. As soon as the cameras stopped rolling I would disappear to the fan, Uncle Bo then gave me that nickname."

With the advanced modern film technology, creators are more able to create fantasies. Before computer special effects, filmmakers had to use their brains. For example in the Cho Tat Wa, Yu So Chau starred wuxia film BUDDHA'S PLAM series, THE BURNING OF THE RED LOTUS TEMPLE created martial art special effect that left the audience in awe and began a wuxia film wave.

Back the Cantonese films were in full bloom, aside from domestic productions, film companies also imported foreign films. Their subjects were even more daring and innovative. TVB Classic Movies imported ten Filipino black and white films from that era, in one Filipino actors played male and female superhumans who could fly with their special abilities and rescue people who were under attack from the giant. The superheroes later even battled the giant.

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