Reviewed by: Stephe
Three Swinging Girls begins with a trio of young ladies who
Reviewer Score: 6
become sworn sisters as tweens, attend school together all the
way to high school graduation, then diverge somewhat. Essie Lin
Chia is roommates with Jean Li Chih-An, but has a nebbishy steady
boyfriend (Chin Feng, made to look slightly goofy in eyeglasses)
which tempers their relationship. When the third sworn sister
(Irene Chen Yi-Ling) comes to visit them from Macao, Essie Lin
Chia sends Chin Feng out for flowers, whereupon we are introduced
to the shop's proprietor, Lee Kwan. The sisters have a nickname
for Chin Feng, which is Blockhead, and Irene Chen accidentally
says Block... and Mr. Block so many times that Chin Feng accuses
Essie Lin Chia of seeing someone else.
Distraught, Chin Feng crashes while driving and the sisters
visit him in the hospital, where Essie Lin Chia explains that he
himself is Mr. Block. Afterward, Essie Lin Chia encounters a
high school friend, Ha Yee-Chau, who is at the hospital with her
fiance Lee Kwan to visit her uncle Ma Ying, who owns the flower
shop that Lee Kwan runs and used to be the sisters' Phys Ed
instructor then became a martial arts movie star currently
recuperating from a movie set injury. Ha Yee-Chau gets angry
when Lee Kwan looks at Essie Lin Chia and accuses him of
flirting, whereupon uncle Ma Ying threatens Lee Kwan -- from his
hospital bed -- to not hurt his niece's feelings, or else.
Twenty-six minutes have gone by and now the movie shifts
gears for the remainder (seventy minutes) of the film's running
time to focus on Lee Kwan's smooth seduction of both Li Chih-An
and Irene Chen to the point where Essie Lin Chia and Chin Feng
become almost peripheral. The proceedings become increasingly
engrossing and suspenseful while, heart in mouth, you watch Lee
Kwan insinuate himself more deeply into Li Chih-An's and Irene
Chen's lives until you begin to doubt whether any good can come
from this. Things get even more complicated as Lee Kwan has to
evade his fiancee (Ha Yee-Chau) while wooing the two sisters --
who are both unaware that they have been telling each other and
Essie Lin Chia about the same man.
Lee Kwan most often plays broad comedic roles, but here he
is almost frightening as a silver-tongued ladykiller. I hadn't
really liked Essie Lin Chia too much until I saw A Taste of Cold
Steel and Swordswomen Three, but I found her animated facial
expressions and comedic chops in this film to be quite affecting.
Li Chih-An, wearing exquisite make-up in several scenes, is more
attractive here than she was in Mad About Music and The Rainbow.
It is strange then how Irene Chen, so scrumptious in We Love
Millionaires, Young People, and The Yellow Muffler, looks merely
cute wearing minimal make-up in this movie. After Jenny Hu, I
find Irene Chen to be one of the cutest Shaw Brothers actresses
(the others being Candy Wen Xue-Er, Li Ching, and Kara Hui
Ying-Hung), so it was odd to see Irene resemble her sister Agnes
Chan so much here.
The reason for this film's title eludes me. There are no
hippies in this film and no one wears Go-go boots; Lee Kwan is a
Lothario, not a swinger; and there is only one dance scene --
played strictly for laughs -- in the entire movie.