Shan ge lian
- 1h 45m
Hsiu Hsiu, a beautiful singing shepherdess, falls head over heels in love with a handsome boatman named Liu Ta Lung.Hsiu Hsiu, a beautiful singing shepherdess, falls head over heels in love with a handsome boatman named Liu Ta Lung.Hsiu Hsiu, a beautiful singing shepherdess, falls head over heels in love with a handsome boatman named Liu Ta Lung.
The misunderstanding involves Dalong and his friendship with an outcast woman of the village who'd been derided as a "whore" in a gossip song by the town boss. The film had been a romantic idyll up to this point, a soaring love fest designed to warm viewers' hearts everywhere. Instead, Xiuxiu's headstrong overreaction to this incident leads to a bout of impulsive behavior that borders on irrational and results in plans for an arranged marriage to Tiger Zeng, a brutish fur trapper from the mountains to whom the town boss has promised Xiuxiu after calling in her father's unpaid gambling debts. A lot happens in the second half and we haven't even gotten to the lone sea voyage and the threat of pirates.
The songs are beautifully sung, although I'm not sure if the on-camera performers provide the voices. The scenery is consistently beautiful, whether on location in Taiwan or recreated on the Shaw studio's lavish soundstages. The dance on Phoenix Mountain where the girls and boys sing back-and-forth at night around several bonfires is a joyous and spectacular number, as lovely in its own way as anything comparable you'd see in a Hollywood musical. However, the melodramatic tone of the overlong second half, culminating in a nasty, grueling fight between the boatman and the trapper, diminishes some of the good feeling of the first half and keeps this from being a great Shaw movie. But it's a compelling one nonetheless and makes a lavish showcase for the considerable talents of its star, Julie Yeh Feng, who plays Xiuxiu. She was beautiful, but not in a demure or delicate manner like the more typical Shaw Bros. leading lady of the time (e.g., Betty Loh Ti, to name one). She was aggressive and confident and had a strong, commanding screen presence that lent itself to less glamorous, more down-to-earth parts, such as the outspoken shepherd girl in this film and the student activist/nationalist soldier in Cathay's SUN, MOON AND STAR and SUN, MOON AND STAR PART 2 (both 1961 and both also reviewed on this site).
- Apr 10, 2012