Why the Soft Film blog drives me crazy…

[adrotate banner=”1″]There is a blog called SoftFilm run by duriandave that posts artifacts from movie days gone by of Chinese cinema. The webmaster has a rather large collection of movie memorabilia and usually pictures and biographical information is posted about various actors and actresses from 50 years ago. The problem that causes the SoftFilm blog to drive me crazy is that every week or two, he will post images or information about some awesome-sounding Chinese film that probably no longer exists! Imagine finding out that there is a Chinese Female Robin Hood movie? Well, there was, but I will probably never get to see it! Gah! Here are some of the treasures that tempt you in their delightfulness, but then punish you with their wickedness of not existing:

The most recent mentioning was of a Shaw Brothers production of Ali Baba and the 40 Robbers. I can find evidence of this film in various databases, but nothing mentioning it exists in some sort of video format. Here is the IMDB.

Secret Agent 101

So what’s up with this film?… Secret Agent 101 (also known as Magic Fire 101), a Shochiku production shot in Hong Kong with the help of MP&GI and released the same year as The Golden Buddha.

The poster for this one is listed in a lot of internet poster dealers, but the film itself is not.

Oriole, the Heroine
Oriole, the Heroine

Oriole, the Heroine (also known as Miss Nightingale, the Flying Fencer), a Cantonese crime thriller starring Pearl Au Kar-wai as the titular heroine and Fanny as the trusty sidekick.
The character of Oriole (or Wong Ang) the Flying Heroine first appeared as the protagonist of a popular series of pulp novels in 1940s Shanghai. Written by Siu Ping, an intelligence worker during the Sino-Japanese War, these stories depicted the social injustice and inequities of the era and gave the people a hero who fought on their behalf. In 1950s Hong Kong, the Wong Ang novels remained as popular as ever.

This was a precursor to these:

Previously, I had assumed that the first film adaptation of Wong Ang was How Oriole the Heroine Solved the Case of the Three Dead Bodies (1959), which featured reigning martial-arts queen Yu So Chow in the title role. Yu played the crime-fighting heroine seven more times in the next few years. Her final Oriole film was The Blonde Hair Monster (1962)

Eight Yu So Chow Oriole movies, and one Pearl Au Kar-wai entry. Of those, I know The Blonde Hair Monster still exists, it is even on the top ten list of movies I am trying to get and will as soon as I can afford it.
For more information on Yu So Chow, I found a good biography here. Here is the HKMDB

Double Pistol Heroine
Another Yu So Chow (or Yu So-Chau) film is Double Pistol Heroine, of which nothing is known at all. Gah!
Double Pistol Heroine

The Steel-Arm Girl Knight-Errant
The Steel-Arm Girl Knight-Errant
This one is a Thai film, but stars a Chinese actress. Since Thailand has an even worse record of preserving its films than Hong Kong, there is even less of a chance this is still around! =(

[Carrie] Ku Mei, the little “Skylark”, becomes very popular in Thailand as she leads the cast of the Siamese picture “The Steel-Arm Girl Knight-Errant”. She speaks now fluent Siamese and has adapted herself to the customs of the land. Her kiss scene in the picture boasts to be the longest, the hottest, the wildest and the most tempting kiss in the history of Siamese movies.

Red Heroine
red heroine
Hey, this one actually still exists!

Hound Murder Case (1961)
Another one that exists, yet I don’t have it, thus must get it. We have classic film villain Sek Kin as some sort of were-animal thing.
Hound Murder Case

Bat Girl!!!! Second link (alternate title: The Lady Killer (1967))
Why doesn’t this still exist? Why? Why? WHY???
bat girl flyer

Blue Falcon (1968)
A Josephine Siao starring that is also no longer among us. I weep for the loss of this awesome film.
Blue Falcon
Blue Falcon
Blue Falcon

Wu Lizhu starred in the Lady Robin Hood movie. She has nicknames Lady Robin Hood and the Oriental Female Fairbanks. Some biographical information is available via Electric Shadows, another blog that drives me bonkers! More info here.
Lady Robin Hood wu lizhu
Lady Robin Hood is well known enough to have made it into the Inaccurate movie database. In fact, a print of this might still exist, but who knows? I haven’t run across it yet.
Here is a Movie summary:

Title: Lady Robin Hood
Pinyin: Nu Luo Bin Han
A sick king instructs his loyal minister Luo Zhengqing to guide and install the crown prince as king after his death. However, the minister of the army, Situ Yangming, makes a grab for power after the King’s death and incarcerates the crown prince. Luo Zhengqing leaves the government, unhappy about Situ’s dictatorship and the heavy taxes levied on the people. Unknown to Luo, his daughter disguises herself as the male bandit Robin Hood, robbing government offices to help the poor. Meanwhile, Situ orders captain of the imperial guards, Zhang Zhonggeng, to kill the crown prince. Zhang is a loyalist and conspires with Lady Robin Hood to save the crown prince. When Situ discovers that the prince has escaped, he falsifies the late King’s will and has himself crowned as king. However, the female Robin Hood has stolen the original will, thus exposing Situ’s false claim to the throne. The female Robin Hood kills Situ and instals the crown prince as the ruler. Only now does Luo Zhengqing discover that the Lady Robin Hood is none other than his own daughter. (Based on viewing the film and the film synopsis.)

Director: Yam Pang-nin.
Scriptwriter: Yam Pang-nin
Wu Lai-chu (as Lady Robin Hood),
Wang Hao (as Situ Yangming),
Ren Yizhi (as Xiaolan),
Tso Tat-wah (as Zhang Zhonggeng),
Meng Na (as Mrs Situ),
Hu Siao-fung (as Zhang Xiao Er),
Cen Fan (aka Tsen Fan) (as Inspector Chen),
Chen Jian (as Zhao Da),
Jiang Rui (as Luo Zhengqing),
Gao Dian (as tax officer),
Che Xuan (as Brigadier Tang)

The hits keep on coming, so I applaud SoftFilm blog and DurianDave, and tell him to keep up the good work, and keep driving me crazy. Because a little bit of crazy never hurt anyone. The world needs to know about Chinese Batgirl films, lady super heroine flicks, and Jane Bond mania.

6 thoughts on “Why the Soft Film blog drives me crazy…

  1. Hi Tars! Thanks for the love!

    I’m just as crazy as you, not being able to see these films.

    BTW, Lady Robin Hood is in fact safe and sound in the Hong Kong Film Archive and is available for viewing in their resource center, if you ever find yourself in that awesome city.

    I was happy to see it during one of my trips to HK, but the danger with “holy grail” movies is that sometimes the real film inevitably fails to live up with the one created in your head.

    Still, it’s a shame that so many of these films will never be seen again.

    Thanks again for the kind words! I’ll try to dig up something special for you guaranteed to drive you extra crazy!

  2. Some of these films are on YouTube under their Chinese names. If you search the English title in the Hong Kong Movie Database (http://www.hkmdb.com/) and copy the Chinese characters and then search YouTube, you may find them. For example, if you search “Bat Girl” you’ll find an entry for “The Lady Killer,” which in Chinese is 玉面女殺星. Copy that into the YouTube search bar and the first item is the full film. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1izI_5TzB18)

    I’ve found over a dozen of the “Jane Bond” films from the 60s this way.

    • Thanks, Kevin! I had done something similar recently but had somehow not searched for Bat Girl under it’s Chinese name, which has been rectified now. Also, anyone else interested in tracking down many of these films, HKMDB is great for finding the Chinese names of films and youtube-dl is great for “archiving” what shows up on youtube!

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