Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11.17.2010 - News

FBA: Wong Tin-lam (1927-2010)

Wong Tin-Lam and Leung Suk-Man married in 1954.

With a young Wong Jing, Kitty Ting Hao (right)(Thanks, Dave!)

In 1958, Wong Tin-Lam joined MP&GI (Cathay) after meeting Stephen Soong while filming in Thailand. He was signed because he was willing to shoot films in Cantonese for the Chinese overseas market even though the predominate films at the time were in Mandarin dialect. So Wong began in the Cantonese film group which had less than half the budget of the Mandarin films.

Still from All in the Family (1959)

Wong Tin-Lam, Ouyang Shafei, Lucilla Yu Ming (Thanks, to Dave)

1960, All in the Family won 3 awards at the Asian Film Festival Best Director, Best Actress (Lucilla Yu Ming), Best Screenplay

Wong Tin-Lam's self-admitted life masterpiece Wild Wild Rose (1960) was awarded then disqualifed from the Asian Film Festival after Shaw's complained that it was plagiarized from Bizet's Carmen.

With Liza Wang

Wong Tin-Lam switched to televsion after a brief stint in Taiwan. He joined TVB in the '70s and even cowrote one of the earliest serial theme songs. Writing gags for 8 dollars a joke, he worked on the program Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Wong produced, directed and wrote for some of TVB's most popular series during the TVB's golden age often collaborating with his son Wong Jing (e.g., Shell Game, Book and Sword, Legend of Condor Heroes). Wong Tin-Lam began under a 3 year contract with a six month probation period earning 2500 yuan per month. 5 years later,  his salary rose to 40,000 per month.

Still from series Dark Heroine Hua Mulan, a Johnnie To collaboration

In 1990, Wong Tin-Lam announced his official retirement. His disciples decided to pay tribute to their mentor. This became the classic A Moment of Romance. The lineup included producer Johnnie To, Ringo Lam and Wong Jing planning, Andy Lau, Wu Chien-lien, and next generation director Benny Chan. (Wong executive produced Benny Chan's 1985 TVB Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain.) Johnnie To explained the significance of the film: "The aim was to recognize Wong Tin-Lam but they couldn't make it the Wong Tin-Lam story. So, instead, the idea was to just make money and donate all of the profits to Wong Tin-Lam as a retirement gift. So story had nothing to do with Wong Tin-Lam just as long as it made money." Still considered a 'rivers and lakes' romantic classic, that's the story behind A Moment of Romance.

 After retiring in the '90s, Wong Tin-Lam appeared in many of Johnnie To's films to avoid the boredom of retirement.
Photo with Ringo Lam, Johnnie To

 Wong Kar-Wai invited Wong Tin-Lam to appear in '2046' but because it took so long to film and his wife's recent death he had to decline.

An aged Wong attended the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 with the cast of  'Election'. Despite the 12 hour flight, Wong said, 'I held up, it was fun.' Also, Simon Yam cursed out a young reporter for not knowing who Wong Tin-Lam was. 

2002 Golden Bauhinia Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hong Kong Film Critics Association

Variety: Let the Wind Carry Me
Documentary on cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing

FBA: HHH calculates 10+10=100

Director Hou Hsiao-hsien announced 10+10=100, a new omnibus project initiated by the affiliated Golden Horse Film Festival.

FBA: Unstoppable begins China BO train wreck
At number three in the charts last week, Gao Qunshu's Chinese westernWind Blast added RMB9 million ($1.4 million) for a current box office gross of RMB61 million ($9.2 million) after 18 days on release.
Two new entries from China performed poorly on release, Alexi Tan's romantic comedy Color Me Love starring Yao Chen and Liu Ye and Love Tactics , a star vehicle for popular comedian Liu Hua.

Poster outlines the cast of characters in Let the Bullets Fly

CRI:  Sun Li Named Best Actress at Canadian TV Awards
Sun won the award for best leading actress in a dramatic program or miniseries for her performance in the film "Iron Road", a 2008 Sino-Canadian co-production that aired in Canada as a television miniseries.
Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Peter O'Toole also starred in the film.
MSN: Jack Neo returns to the big screen with D-cups
After being plagued by his extra-marital affairs earlier this year, Singapore director Jack Neo is back as a woman in his latest Lunar New Year film Homecoming.
The Hong Kong veteran actress is rumoured to be pregnant again as she rushes filming for new movie I Love Hong Kong.
CRI: Barbie Hsu Registers for Marriage: Report


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the coverage of Wong Tin-Lam!

BTW, the young lady on the right in that second photo with little boy Wong Jing is Kitty Ting Hao (looks like on the set of Riots in Outer Space (1959).

And I was very interested to read about the disqualification of Wild Wild Rose. Boo Shaw Brothers!! That was a pretty underhanded maneuver. I guess that's also why Lin Dai won Best Actress (for Shaw's Les Belles), when it should have gone to Grace Chang.

dleedlee said...

Thanks, Dave, for the ID. You have a good eye!

The article was pretty interesting.
I tried to glean what I could from the article and pass it along. Hopefully, some of it is accurate!

I've also added a paragraph on A Moment of Romance that's pretty interesting.

It also mentioned that Wong's wife was a heavy mahjong gambler and had to hide out from money collectors for a while. :D

Anonymous said...

I'm curious now to see A Moment of Romance. It somehow escaped my viewing all these years.

BTW, here's another ID for you: that's Ouyang Shafei standing between Wong and Yu Ming in the 1960 award photo. She also starred in All in the Family

Jeez... now I feel really bummed that the HKFA didn't put out an English edition of their Wong Tin-lam book.

dleedlee said...

Updated, thanks!

I forgot about the HKFA book. Aaarrgh! It must be right next to my virtual English version of their Yam Kim Fai volume. :D

I'm curious now to see A Moment of Romance. It somehow escaped my viewing all these years.

It was one of my early-ish acquisitions...on vcd. I need to see if I can find it again. Andy Lau recently sang the popular theme song at the Jiangmen Star Park opening. And here's a recent self-parody of the famous motorcycle scene in Taipei here

Anonymous said...

LOL... love the fans!

Anonymous said...

A Moment of Romance is an absolute classic. Andy Lau is at his charming bad-boy best, Wu Chien-Lien is at her beautiful ingenue best, plus the soundtrack by Beyond is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation! And just my luck -- it's available from Netflix. :D

YTSL said...

Hi Dennis --

Thanks much for including the "A Moment of Romance" story in your Wong Tin Lam tribute. And I definitely think that movie is recommended viewing for Hong Kong film fans -- not least because of the frequent references to it in other films (e.g., "Needing You..." starring Andy Lau and directed by Johnnie To! ;b).

Also, I know the Panorama DVD of "The Wild Wild Rose" is less than perfect but, again, it's another recommended movie because of the frequent references to it -- usually in the form of the "Jajambo" song/cry (e.g., in "Tom, Dick and Hairy").

dleedlee said...

I pulled out my dusty (full framed!) vcd last night and rewatched Moment for the first time in a _long_ time. It still holds up. Wu Chien-Lien takes my breath away all over, Ng Man-Tat gives a very good performance. The art direction at times reminds of a WKW film, too (e.g., Andy's home, the Bamboo Hill hotel).

V - I didn't realize that was Beyond. Are you a big Beyond fan? I must admit I'm not familiar with them except by name and reputation. Need to fill in that gap some day. Baidu - I'm counting on you!

Y - I remember busting out laughing when I saw the Needing You scene the first time. And yeah, Wild Wild Rose needs to be put on replay on my machine sometime soon (if I can find it again). The whole Cathay/Panorama series is a treat. For all the knock on Panorama's picture quality, they put out some great film series on DVD that no one else would touch, e.g., the classic Cheung Ying film's, Tora-San, et al.

Dave - Let me know how you like. I hope we didn't overhype it for you. :D

Mental note to self, find out what Wu Chien-lien is up to these days.