(aka 'Peking Opera Blues' or 'Do ma daan ')

Directed by Tsui Hark
Hong Kong 1986

 

  Tsui Hark directs Peking Opera Blues, an entertaining and lovingly realized period action caper that ranks as one of the key experiences of eighties Hong Kong Cinema! Brigitte Lin is Cao Yan, the daughter of corrupt General Cao (Kenneth Tsang), who secretly plots against her father with a band of Chinese revolutionaries. But her plans to upset the corrupt order are set astray by a variety of unlikely events, all centering around an all-male Peking Opera troupe. Bai Niu (Sally Yeh), the daughter of troupe leader Wu Ma, wants to become an actress, but is denied by male-centric rules. Meanwhile, gold-digging musician Hong (Cherie Chung) shows up in the Peking Opera House chasing a box of jewelry. When General Cao decides to attend a performance at the Opera House, a chain of events is set in motion that simultaneously brings the three women together and even pits them against one another! Heartwarming drama, over-the-top action, charming Peking Opera, and even some screwball comedy combine as the Peking Opera Blues begin!

A virtual pinata of Hong Kong Cinema themes and signifiers, Peking Opera Blues is a dazzling spectacle and a multi-layered movie wonder on more subjects than you could possibly imagine! History, drama, action, romance, comedy, gender roles, loyalty, honor, and just plain entertainment value combine to maximum cinematic effect - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Peking Opera Blues is must-see Hong Kong Cinema, and quite possibly the defining work of director Tsui Hark.

***

A delightfully frenetic comedy-adventure, PEKING OPERA BLUES serves as a terrific introduction to the energetic popular cinema of Hong Kong. Set in China circa 1913, the fast-paced and complicated story centers on three young women from different social classes who become embroiled in a revolutionary plot to overthrow the military government. Surprisingly, one of the key players in the revolution is the beautiful Brigitte Lin (aka Lin Ching-hsia), the daughter of China's most powerful general. She and a male accomplice are ordered to steal some secret documents from her father's safe. Through a series of slapstick circumstances, a winsome but dim-witted street performer, a disaffected soldier, and the attractive daughter of the local opera house owner become involved in the plot and wind up comrades of the revolutionaries. Together, the five do battle with the army, the generals, and the secret police, with most of the zany action revolving around the colorful opera house. After a series of nonstop seductions, disguises, gunfights, kung-fu skirmishes, gymnastics, chases, double crosses, separations and reunions, the heroes succeed in getting the valued documents to the revolutionary leaders. The film ends with the five on horseback vowing to meet again someday before going their separate ways.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE.

Poster

Theatrical Release: January 25th, 1989

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DVD Review: Joy Sales (HK) - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Joy Sales (HK) - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:45:00 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.19 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Cantonese (Dolby Digital 2.0), Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1) , Cantonese (DTS) , DUB: Mandarin (Dolby Digital 5.1)  
Subtitles English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Joy Sales (HK) Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Original and re-edited trailers
• Two interviews: James Wong (film's composer) - 8:07 and actress Sally Yeh - 7:42
• Photo gallery and slideshow

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2007

Keep Case inside cardboard Box
Chapters: 20

 

 

Comments:

This digital image is surprisingly good - a progressive, anamorphic image on a, rare for HK, dual-layered DVD with decent sharpness and colors. There is a very slim border circumventing the frame slightly limiting horizontal resolution but the original aspect ratio of 1:85 is supported.  It is fairly clean and the subtitles appear to be relatively faithful (according to my wife).

The supplements include some trailers, a photo gallery, a slideshow and two interviews. One with James Wong (film's composer) - 8:07 and one with delightful actress Sally Yeh - 7:42. 

The film gained some attention in the west as it was touted by Quentin Tarantino on a few occasions but it already had a faithful cult status prior to that. This new digitally remastered DVD from Joy Sales is a very pleasant surprise for Peking Opera Blues fans who have had to exist on sub-standard releases until now.

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

Distribution Joy Sales (HK) - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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