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金玉滿堂 (1963)
House of Prosperity

Reviewed by: dleedlee
Date: 06/10/2004
Summary: A fedual drama

As So-Fung (Pak Yin) leaves, she recalls the 15 years she has spent in her aunt's family after she is orphaned. Under her uncle's feudal household, her cousin Man-Ching (Cheung Ying), whom love each other, is married against his wishes to a daughter (Wong Man-Lei) of a friend of her uncle's. Man-Ching's sister, Man-Choi (Ha Ping) also has an arranged marriage and finally, 15 years later, Ching's son Ting is married off to an older woman to continue the cycle.
Needless to say, everyone is miserable in their marriages. Son Ting's marriage to the older woman is particular painful to watch as he is clearly still a boy while his wife, Siu-Jing, implicitly deserves better. When a tenant's delightful daughter appears the audience sees what was obviously meant to be.

Wong Man-Lei is wonderful as the fierce wife of Man-Ching. Cheung Ying is the tortured soul once again. But what did they do to Pak Yin's hair? Looking part geisha and part Princess Leia she's got big bad hair in this one. Ko Lo-Chuen appears as the money lender. Lai Man plays the aunt and Ma Siu-Ying is the 'naai ma'.

As is typical of these types of films, the family eventually falls to ruins. See the Family/Spring/Autumn trilogy for an earlier classic take on the casulties of feudalistic society.

** spoilers **

In the novel which this story is based,
Man-Ching dies of opium smoking instead of happily reuniting with his true love So-Fung.
Also, on the video, when Man-Ching's wife dies, it's not clear that she has _accidently_ poisoned herself.

Another moving scene is the one where due to their reduced cirmcumstances, the daughter-in-law sells the uncle's elaborate burial coffin to repay loans.

Reviewer Score: 7