aka 千面魔女 aka Qian mian mo nu aka Temptress of 1000 Faces 1969 Written by Song Jin
Directed by Jeng Cheong-Woh
This sexy Shaw Brothers crime caper has influences from the classic female-lead action films of yore, the 1960s Jane Bond films, James Bond, Eurospy, and even Fantomas! Temptress of a Thousand Faces meshes these sources all together into a terrific crime caper. One of those films where there are master thieves who can be anywhere and disguised as anyone. Even your mom! Okay, probably not your mom. Or is that just what they want you to think? You better call your mom an make sure, just in case. It’s the old master of disguise story, but with no need to worry about people being turtlely enough to join the turtle club. Because none of them are! Freaking lack of turtle love in Temptress of a Thousand Faces…
The big switch is this time the thief is a woman. The thief being female throws the entire police force for a loop, as everyone is looking for a male master thief. I’m not sure why, almost every crime shown involves women, maybe the police have all taken stupid pills. It’s girl power, but only sort of. Of course, only another woman can take her down. Further continuing the gender bending, the police officer hero is the female Ji Ying, while her boyfriend Yuk Dat plays the Torchy Blane role of reporter who is on the case. But unlike Torchy, Yuk Dat doesn’t contribute to the solving of the case, just becoming yet another chess piece to be played by the mastermind and the detective. Temptress of a Thousand Faces was discussed before during our Infernal Brains episode covering the Jane Bond films. If you prefer your reviews in audio format, that’s your best bet, along with a whole history of the genre that won’t be repeated here. But if you love things written down, then feel free to read on! Or just look at the pretty pictures. Either way, hopefully you are convinced enough to track down a copy, because you will not be disappointed!
Ji Ying (Tina Chin Fei) – Police office who is tired of all this Temptress of 1000 Faces crap and directly challenges her. Which turns out to be a big mistake. The only bigger mistake is when Temptress makes destroying Ji Ying’s life personal instead of just killing her. Ji Ying is a fierce fighter and crack shot, and often is fighting while in her underwear because stuff like that just happens in Temptress of a Thousand Faces.
Yuk Dat (Chan Leung ) – Journalist boyfriend of Ji Ying. While the media influence on Temptress is a theme, Yuk Dat is less of a driver and more of a cog in the machine, something that makes his character less important. In fact, it’s hard to remember much in particular about him.
Molly (Pat Ting Hung) – Newspaper reporter and photographer, and a major female character who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere in the grand schemes of the regular characters.
Temptress (It is a mystery…) – Who could this mysterious female villain with a thousand faces be? It is a mystery, a mystery that only a mystery movie could solve. Luckily, this is a mystery movie, so expect it to be solved by the end of the movie!
Join Tars, Todd, and Dave as we discuss one of our collectively favorite world movie subgenres, Cantonese female focused action films that became known as Jane Bond films! We chat about Connie Chan, Josephine Siao, Suet Nei, So Ching, Fanny Fan, Lily Ho, Chor Yuen, masked heroines, James Bond influences, theater singing, the genesis of the genre, and many films that you’ll be hunting down for the next few years! It’s an infotainment explosion of knowledge that will pack your brain with so many cool facts that they’ll start leaking out your ears and drip on the carpet! The Infernal Brains are not responsible for any carpet cleaning bills.
As usual, we got more listening choices than you can shake an unsubtitled vcd at: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link. So many choices, you’ll have to call in your secret evil gang to select them all!