水觀音三戲白金龍
How Shui Guanyin Thrice Tricked Bai Jinlong (1962)


Reviewed by: dleedlee
Date: 10/30/2004

A musical comedy filled with deception and hidden roles.

Wealthy Bai Kam Lung and his aide Wong decide to investigate the new manager of his hotel. They meet two sisters (Lam Yim and Suet Yim Mui) from the countryside living at the hotel. They are trying to make their way as singers after losing their livelihood due to hotel manager Cheng. The two men pose as hotel employees, Bai, as Sun, a clerk, Wong in drag, as a maid. Another maid, Lo, tips off Cheng (Lam Daan?) that there's a spy in their midst. When Cheng learns who the spies are, he tries to convince the sisters that Sun/Bai Gam Lung is a rich but dangerous predator of women, or, worse yet, a procurer. The sisters return to their village to escape Sun. But Sun, now smitten with one of the girls and Wong follow them to the village in order to prove his good intentions. After helping out the villagers recover from a disaster, Cheng arrives and gets into a contest trying to show off his wealth. When Cheng learns Sun's true identity as his boss he concedes.

Both Sun-Ma Sze Tsang (as Bai Gam Lung/Sun) and Tang Kei-Chan (as Wong) take their turns disguised as women. Sai Gwa Pau, as a waiter, briefly falls for Sun when he poses as a female job applicant to the lascivious Cheng.

There are a dozen or so songs in the film, both traditional, opera influenced and modern songs are included. One is sung to the melody of 'Song of the Volga Boatmen' while Sun lifts heavy sacks of rice up to the girls eight floor village house. Lam Yim and Suet Yim Mui perform a couple duets together and sound fine.

The story alternates between scenes in the village and at the hotel. I found the village scenes particularly well executed. The overall look of the film is impressive, not harsh and overlit as is too often the case.

There are quite a few humorous little bits of comedic business and overall the film is enjoyable.

Reviewer Score: 7