Xian he shen zhen (1961)

Adventure, Fantasy

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2 March 2020 | ckormos1
| Chinese opera begins the transformation into martial arts movies
This movie is certainly not the 1993 movie with Anita Mui.

I looked up some of these actors on HKMDB and I am amazed that most of them have at least 200 and up to 700 plus film credits. Though I am a hard core fan of martial arts movies I have never heard of any of these names. This black and white movie and three DVDs is the oldest Hong Kong movie in my collection. It opens with some actors posing for credits then cuts to a chase scene through the woods. I do not understand Chinese and there are no subtitles. The "Magic Crane" seems to be a girl riding a crane and she uses magic mischieviously against some of the characters.

Personally, this movie was an educational experience, not entertainment. At this time in Chinese cinema they were making film versions of theater. A movie was a stage play on film. The fights are all stylized Chinese opera choreography. The camera angles of almost every scene are framed as if watching a stage play. The only camera movement is a side to side pan or a bit of a slow zoom. Stage actors need to exaggerate their expressions so the folks in the back rows can see. These actors also do that, though close up on film it is not needed and seems bad acting. One of the lead actresses also sings a full length song, as expected in those times.

I noticed the late great Simon Yuen in the credits. He would have been about age fifty at the time. Unfortunately I could not pick his face out of the crowd.

Though this movie exists on DVD only a used DVD site would sell it. Anyone interested in the genre might come across it and check in here. I hope my notes are useful to that person.

Did You Know?



Adventure | Fantasy


Release Date:

9 August 1961



Country of Origin

Hong Kong

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