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冤枉相思 (1947)
Love with No Result

Reviewed by: dleedlee
Date: 06/10/2004

Well, if I had known the sound was so bad I might not have bought the vcd. It's that bad. Still, it's worth it for at least one reason: I'm pretty sure I spotted a very young Sai Gwa Pau in the wedding party scene! This would make it his film appearance that I’ve seen of him.

Here's a recap of the plot with a big assist from HKFA's Hong Kong Filmography:

Sit Kok-Sin's character Mung and his lover Fong (Hung Sin Nui) are separated at the onset of the war in Guangzhou. Mung, now works in Hong Kong, where Man (Lam Mui Mui) is the sister of the company boss.
As a condition of borrowing money to save his dad, Mung agrees to marry Man. On the eve of his wedding, Fong shows up as a singer/entertainer at the party. The summary lists two songs and I’m guessing that this is where the second song was. Afterwards, Mung's father persuades Fong to lie and tell Mung she is married to prevent problems. In a brief flashback, we see the residents fleeing the war. That night Mung and Man quarrel, Mung leaves her and Man wants a divorce when she discovers the truth about Fong.

Mung's father is again in financial trouble. Man tells her brother to marry Fong as a condition for lending him money. On the eve of her wedding, Fong takes poison. Mung arrives and he too takes the poison. Somehow, they two recover and the two are reunited in a happy ending.

I don’t know anything about opera star Sit Kok-Sin (any relation to Nancy Sit, I wonder?) but he has the looks for radio as they say. Hung Sin Nui looks quite young and fresh. Lam Mui Mui is not the full out shrew Lam Mui Mui will typically become yet. And it’s nice to see Fung Ying-Sheng, who died too young, as a manager for Man’s brother.

The vcd I have runs 78 minutes, the filmography list the running time as 80 minutes. As it is, the film itself feels like the director cheated and left gaps in the storytelling or else more than just one song was cut out or lost. The picture quality is quite acceptable for such an old film but the sound really is that bad.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 06/09/2002

Oh how I loved these old Cantonese movies! This is probably the oldest film I have in my collection, and the quality is quite honestly awful! If you know the quality of 40’s films already (or seen news clips from the war or something), then imagine that, but 10 times worst. It’s sound is awful too (and I'm not talking about your average bootleg either!), and without subtitles to help me, I had to put up with the rather echoed and distorted Cantonese, and I probably only recognized about 20% of dialog which I understand, so the rest I had to guess. Still it’s not all bad, though I almost didn’t review this as I can garentee that nobody will see this, and is probably one of those movies you will never in a million years be able to get your hands on…though to a certain extent that’s probably a good thing, but it’s on the database, so I thought why not.

The story, is basically your typical early romance film, with a hint of Chinese opera throughout, just like those old US musicals that most people would have seen some time, which is set in the present day (1940’s that is), but unfortunately due to the very poor sound I am not really able to shed much light on the actual story.

As for the acting, well it’s actually a lot better than some of the rubbish that comes out these days, especially from Lam Mui Mui, the most professional of actresses in early HK films, and Sit Gau Sin (although I’m not really familiar with most of his other work) was also pretty good. Chan Pei though, the director, didn’t impress me in this film at all, as a lot of the camera work especially was very poor (even taking into account equipment used back then), though some of his later films were pretty good.

As I said before, the sloppy filming, poor production (mostly editing) and poor sound is probably the worst I have ever seen in a film, and although just a few years later during the 50’s I have some pretty good films, it just seems that more could have been done to improve this. So as I can’t really compare this to other films at this time (as I don’t think I have seen another one done during or before the 40’s), then I can just compare it to some which were made a few years later, which may seem wrong in a way I suppose, but it’s all I can do, and I think this is probably a fair rating for what this is. Though it's probably a good thing that the whole film lasts little over 60 minutes.