Directed by Cheung Wai-Gwong
As the female-focused action films that later became collectively called Jane Bond films evolved, other studios quickly jumped into the action to capitalize on the Black Rose/Connie Chan mania. Besides the already reviews Dark Heroine Trilogy, another entry is Gold Button. Gold Button features mysterious star So Ching and shows off some of the James Bond spy influences that helped shape a good number of the Jane Bond films. We have such wonderful things as doomsday weapons, an all-powerful secret gang, female agents, gunfights, punching, gangs of girls in swimsuits, dozens of nameless henchmen, a masked boss of the evil gang, spy gadgets, a film named after a flower/characters named after a flower, and stolen theme music (including the James Bond theme!)
Things get a bit more sleazy than the female-audience targeted Connie and Josephine flicks. Fanny Fan is naked in the back, while female characters are forced to disrobe and threatened with rape, and we see undies tossed on the floor. But even the sleaze is held back, the women wear one-piece swimsuits instead of bikinis! I am not sure if Mingxing Film Company is imitating 1966’s Golden Buddha with the extra sexiness, or if these films began production before Golden Buddha and it is ramping up things for another reason. Gwan Jing-Leung did the stunt work, and Wong To produced.
So Ching displays not nearly as much charm as Connie Chan and Josephine Siao in her appearances in front of the camera, probably due to her not growing up while making movies like those two. But she does have that beauty contest winner appeal and serious tone (contrasted by Fanny Fan playing the sexpot here!) After making several Jane Bond type films and a few other pictures, So Ching seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth. So Ching, if you have ever returned to Earth, please let us know!
Fanny Fan Lai started acting in 1957 after winning that often entry point into Hong Kong cinema, a beauty contest. Acting under the name Wan Li-Hong in Shaw’s Cantonese division, she failed to achieve much success until she joined Shaw Brothers’s Mandarin division as Fanny Fan, and became a star with 1959’s The Pink Murder. She became known as a sexpot and bad girl, probably best for her role in The Golden Buddha. Her nickname was the Oriental Brigitte Bardot. She retired from film in 1969.
As you can probably guess from the craptacular images included in this review, Gold Button is not available on in any sort of format you can find acceptable. I scored this from a Hong Kong tv broadcast someone uploaded to a Chinese YouTube site, complete with the station’s squashed picture due to the widescreen not being anamorphic. The uploader took it upon himself to blur out the station logo, so the top right of the screencaps look like someone smeared vasoline all over them. There is also a small segment of the film missing, and the very small compression on YouKu means if I blew the images up any larger than I have, they’ll just look like a bunch of blurry squares. As there is little information on Gold Button out there, it is currently unknown of the three other films So Ching made that feature many of the same cast are also part of this series or their own thing. TarsTarkas.NET will let you know the second someone uploads squashed tv recordings of the film for us to gawk at and write lame jokes.
|Miss Peony Pai No. 1 (So Ching) – Her full name mentioned in the subtitles is Miss Peony Pai No. 1. As there are other Pai No.s and other Miss Pais, I guess her real name is Peony? The character is as mysterious as anything else. Her character is engaged to Chief Lin and calls Miss Pai No. 2 her sister, though probably in a sisterhood sense and not blood sisters.
|Miss Pai No. 2 (Fanny Fan Lai) – The sexpot member of the Pai crew who is kidnapped and replaced by a prototype from Mistress of 1000 Faces. Because her sexy double was sexy and sinful, Miss Pai No. 2’s character doesn’t live to the end of the film.
|Chief Lin Wen-Tsu (Wu Fung) – The Interpol Chief ho just can’t seem to catch those rascally Devils Gang members. Luckily, he’s engaged to one of the hot spy babes his unit outsources, which is totally not a conflict of interest that should be investigated by higherups at Interpol. Actor Bowie Wu Fung was a leading man for decades in Cantonese film, and has popped up in Lady Black Cat and The Red Wolf
|Yim Lam (Seung-Goon Yuk) – Interpol doesn’t outsource all their female talent, and officer Yim Lam is competent and confident enough to save the day and catch Interpol traitors.
|Assistant Chief (Roy Chiao Hung) – I’m sure this guy is an honest cop and is in no way evil… Roy Chaio Hung also shows up in The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa
|Devils Gang Boss (It is a mystery…) – The villainous boss of the Devils Gang, who doesn’t get a cool name. He does get a cool costume, which looks like they stole it from a local high school band, gave him a cape and eyeless ski mask.
|No. 2 (Fung Ngai) – Fung Ngai shows up again in a film as a villain’s henchman, like he did in Spy With My Face. He does get to lead for once in Lady in Black Cracks the Gates of Hell