Lady Black Cat (Review)

Lady Black Cat

aka Haak Ye Maau aka 女賊黑野貓

1966HKMDB Link
Directed by Cheung Wai-Gwong
Lady Black Cat
One genre from older Chinese films which is barely known today despite how awesome some of the films are is the Jane Bond genre, which are films with tough female leads who are either spies or thieves or super-heroines who beat the tar out of evil dudes. Women as central figures has a long history in Chinese opera/film, and some of the earliest surviving Chinese films have female fighters as leads. The popularity of James Bond translated to female leads wearing slinky outfits, disguises, and beating up lots of dudes. There was a whole ton of these films produced in the 1960’s, many starring Connie Chan Po-Chu and/or Josephine Siao Fong-Fong. Sadly, many are lost today.
The Jane Bond films were proceeded by films based on the Oriole, the Heroine (Wong Ang) stories, a series of books which were first shown on film in the 1950s. Even those came from the Nuxia (swordswoman) genre, which dates back to at least 1928’s The Burning of Red Lotus Temple, the first martial arts blockbuster and which spawned 18 films total in the series. Here is some more information.
Lady Black Cat
There is also an article I wrote on Jane Bond films here, which references several other good articles written on the subject. The most famous of the Jane Bond films is probably the Black Rose films (also starring Connie Chan Po-Chu), which produced a complicated string of pseudo sequels after the one official sequel, which eventually lead to the Protege de la Rose Noire film. Michele Yeoh’s Silver Hawk is also a modern update of the old source stories. The two classic Black Rose films are only available on old VHS tapes, thus we don’t have them.

We do have this old film that made it to DVD, thanks to Chinatown DVD shops and the cheap prices there-in. Lady Black Cat is a heist film starring a thief who is a girl dressed as a cat who steals from the evil rich guy and beats up his goons single-handedly. It has an unrelated sequel, Lady Black Cat Strikes Back, starring essentially the same cast with the same plot (except instead of a diamond being stolen it is a role of microtape.) Director Cheung Wai-Gwong is also credited as Jiang Weiguang depending on your translation methods, he directed the sequel and many many other films from the mid-1940’s until the 1970s. He was also a prolific writer for films during that period.
Lady Black Cat
The internet is helping shed light on this forgotten classic films. Good links in addition to the ones above include Connie Chan – Movie Fan Princess, The Lucha Diaries, Teleport City, Electric Shadows, SoftFilm Blog, Illuminated Lantern, and probably many more unsung sites that I don’t have links to at the moment. There is not much written about this genre, it has much to discover and reviews are much needed. Do your duty and locate films today, write up reviews tomorrow, and sign up for the Mobile Infantry. Service guarantees citizenship!
Lady Black Cat
There are no subtitles on the DVD, wife translated some of the names and some of the plot, so I have some of the character’s names (but not the main two) My Cantonese is sub-elementary school, but I am slowly but surely catching on to a bit. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles, but will accept help from out lovely wife!

Lady Black Cat (Connie Chan Po-Chu) – Lady Black Cat robs from the rich and helps the poor, she’s like Robin Hood except a girl, dressed as a cat lady, and doesn’t lead a band of outlaws in fighting a corrupt government. Besides helping a nice family in this film I am not even sure she gives to the poor that much. But she does stand up to Tong Long, who is somehow considered a respectable businessman despite being a corrupt lecherous theif and killer.
Girl Friday (Connie Chan Po-Chu) – Connie Chan Po-Chu’s name is sometimes written as Chen Baozhu. She starred in a bajillion films and was one of the reigning Hong Kong cinema queens in the 1960s (the other was Josephine Siao Fong-Fong.)
Detective (Bowie Wu Fung) – Bumbling detective who is as sharp as a Jello basketball. Bowie Wu Fung was a constant onscreen partner of Connie Chan Po-Chu, they were in too many movies together for me to count, because I am lazy.
Tong Long (Sek Kin) – The movie’s bad guy. He is a rich evil guy, I don’t know how he got so much money, why everyone in the city seems unemployed except by him, and why no one seems to punish him for being evil except Lady Black Cat. Sek Kin’s name is sometime written as Shi Jian or Shih Kien. He also costarred with Connie Chan in dozens and dozens of films. He usually played the villain character, or people with evil intents. We will give a better biography of him in another review where there is more room in the introduction. As of this writing he was still alive at the age of 95.
Lisa (Yu Mei-Wa) – Mistress of Tong Long who does some of his evil doings, and seems oblivious to his hound dog ways. Or she doesn’t care. Or it excites her. Who knows? Manages to get kidnapped at some point.
Lam Suk-Ying and husband (Fong Sam and Do Ping) – Lam Suk-Ying is in trouble, she and her husband are awash with money troubles. Lam has a sick mom and her father, Ah Cheung, is framed for theft and later killed by Tong Long. And you think you had a bad day!

Lady Black Cat
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