Tai Kwun Movie Steps 2022

Tai Kwun Movie Steps

Tai Kwun Movie Steps

Tai Kwun Movie Steps

Date & Time

24 Apr - 26 Jun, 2022 4pm, Every Sunday

Location

Laundry Steps

Price

Free of charge

General

From the Small Screen to the Silver Screen: Classic Hong Kong adaptions

From the communal TV dinners of a bygone era to the one-person-one-screen of the streaming era, how has the meaning of "television" changed for you?

When Cantonese cinema began declining in the 1970s as television sets became commonplace (and then essential) in homes across the city, the silver screen began to consider ways of recapturing their old audience.

Beauty pageants became major events and series theme songs populated the charts, even commercials were the talk of the town. Illicit recordings of videotapes were sent overseas to friends and relatives to keep them company in their far-off adopted homes in the 1980s.

Beauty pageants and broadcast training programs became feeders for studios and producers. Popular series and gag shows were adapted into films (oftentimes with TV stars reprising their roles) in attempts to attract the at-home audience to go back to the cinema. Films, more than television series, also had the advantage of income from the diaspora communities across South East Asia. Beginning with the long-running variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight being adapted into the 1968 film We All Enjoy Ourselves Tonight, iconic TV characters such as Lam Ah Chun and Ar Chan also appeared on the big screen.

This summer, Tai Kwun presents a list of 6 rarely available adaptations of your (mother's) favourite shows, including Games Gamblers Play, the long-awaited cinematic debut of the multi-talented Hui Brothers who extended their TV sketch comedy show The Hui Brothers Show; Sunshine Friends, an adaptation of two gag shows from the then broadcast rivals TVB and ATV into a comedy in which two broadcasters battle it out; Mad Mad 83,  renowned director Chor Yuen's second attempt to adapt the long-running sitcom Hong Kong 83; The Bund I & II, recut from the 25 episodes starring Chow Yun Fat, Angie Chiu, and Ray Lui; and finally, Plain Jane to the Rescue, the iconic TV character Lam Ah Chun brought to screen by director John Woo.

Screening sessions might be subject to change, please refer to www.taikwun.hk for latest updates.

Date and Time: Every Sunday, 4pm
Venue: Laundry Steps
Free Screening
 

Date      

Screening

24.04.2022
12.06.2022

Game Gamblers Play (1974)

01.05.2022
05.06.2022

Sunshine Friends (1990)

08.05.2022
26.06.2022

Mad Mad 83 (1983)

15.05.2022

The Bund (1983)

22.05.2022

The Bund II (1983)

29.05.2022
19.06.2022

Plain Jane to the Rescue (1982)


Post-screening Sharings

In June, post-screening sharing will take place at Laundry Steps to share the context and behind-the-scene stories of the films selected in “From the Small Screen to the Silver Screen: Classic Hong Kong adaptions”. Stay after the screenings and let us know your thoughts after watching the films.

* All post-screening sharing will be conducted in Cantonese

Post-screening sharing of Sunshine Friends
Date: 5 June 2022
Time: 5:30pm (after the screening of Sunshine Friends)
Guests: Creative team of Sunshine Friends and William Yuen, curator of Tai Kwun Movie Steps

Post-screening sharing of Game Gamblers Play
Date: 12 June 2022
Time: 5:30pm (after the screening of Game Gamblers Play)
Guests: Seewai Hui, Conservator of Hui’s Film Production and Director of The Posterist, and William Yuen, curator of Tai Kwun Movie Steps

Talk: Back to the Ages of Checking Your TV Guide
Date: 19 June 2022
Time: 5:30pm (after the screening of Plain Jane to the Rescue)
Guests: Eric Tsang, film culture critic and William Yuen, curator of Tai Kwun Movie Steps

Post-screening sharing of Mad Mad 83
Date: 26 June 2022
Time: 5:30pm (after the screening of Mad Mad 83)
Guests: Steve Lee Ka Ding, martial arts instructor and actor, and William Yuen, curator of Tai Kwun Movie Steps






 


Promotion Video


Games Gamblers Play

[The Multi-talented Hui Brothers Made the Jump from TV to the Silver Screen]

Games Gamblers Play (1974)

Produced by: Golden Harvest, Hui Film Company
Director: Michael Hui
Screenplay: Michael Hui, Lau Tin Chi, Tang Wai Hung
Cast: Michael Hui, Sam Hui, Betty Ting, Sammo Hung

Colour | Cantonese | Chinese and English subtitles

  

Since the 1970s, the Hong Kong cinema and TV industries have been closely tied. Some superstars made the leap from TV to cinema, from Richard Ng and Josephine Siao of an earlier generation to Chow Yun-fat, Stephen Chow, Andy Lau and Louis Koo who are still standing on top today. But to count the No.1 TV-to-movie icons, the Hui Brothers are not to be missed.

Joined TVB in the late 1960s, Michael Hui and Sam Hui co-hosted The Hui Brothers Show in the 1971 Chinese New Year, a smash hit sketch comedy TV show mixing a fresh comedy style with English pop music. The duo was invited by the two major film studios, Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest from 1972, but their movies failed to show their talents; during the decline of Cantonese cinema, their performances were dubbed in Putonghua.

Seeing Chor Yuen’s House of 72 Tenants bringing a revival of the Cantonese cinema in 1973, Michael Hui propose to Raymond Chow (the founder of Golden Harvest) to convert their TV comedy show into a movie, with the theme of Hongkonger’s favourite – gambling. The film, named Games Gamblers Play, grossed 6 million HK dollars at the box office, featured two Sam Hui's songs which hugely influenced Hong Kong Cantopop development later on. Since then, they moved their sketch comedy from TV to the big screen. With record-breaking blockbusters The Private Eyes and Aces Go Places, the brothers set a new path for the local comedy.

This time, we will screen the 1974's original version of Games Gamblers Play. In 1979, The Private Eyes was renamed "Mr.Boo" in Japan and gained popular appeal; even Ricky Hui (another Hui brothers) were beloved by the Japanese fans. When Golden Harvest was to screen Games Gamblers Play in Japan, new footage with Ricky Hui was shot to fit the Japanese market, and the robbing scene of Sammo Hung and Billy Chan was deleted. From then on, the new edition became the widely circulated version. We will screen the original version without Ricky Hui's appearance, coupled with "Sam's 9 Minutes" - Sam Hui's music video which was aimed to boost the box office when the film was screened in theatres!

Film and stills licensed by Fortune Star Media Limited. All rights reserved.


Sunshine Friends

[Real-life Rival TV Comedians Join Hands in Movie]

Sunshine Friends (1990)

Produced by: Golden Harvest, Friend Cheers Limited
Director: David Wu
Cast: Liu Wai-hung, David Wu, Eric Tsang, Andrew Lam, Elizabeth Lee, Gabriel Wong

Colour | Cantonese | Chinese and English subtitles

 

When two rival ace gag shows collided, a "non-sense" alliance of TV stations was formed!

In 1990, TVB aired the hugely popular sketch comedy programme The Funny Half Show. Hosted by Liu Wai-hung (nicknamed Ah Chan) and David Wu, it satirized Hong Kong's social issues in a comical form and made its characters popular, such as the iconic "Mrs. So and So" and even Gabriel Wong, a side-kick role whose head got slapped by the other actors in the show. The ending song "Charlie Charlie Chit Bom Bom" was a smash hit heard on the street; they also released a record and held a show at Hong Kong Coliseum.

Around the same time, ATV struck back by another comedy sketch show, The Mad Mad Comedians, hosted by filmmaker Eric Tsang and lyricist Andrew Lam with puns inspired by Japanese comedy programmes. They played on Cantonese words and created the classic session "Happy Dictionary", coupled with Andrew Lam's gag songs. The show became the talk on everybody's lips.

The two gag shows had their huge fanbase in the early 1990s. David Wu and Eric Tsang, the hosts of the respective programmes who were showmen in both the TV and film industry, decided to work together – to combine the successful elements of the two shows in an attempt to make another success in the film industry. To remedy the lack of drama, the main plot of the film was set in a TV rating war between the strong "Mars TV" and the weak "Earth TV" to make a complete storyline.

In the film, the iconic "Mrs. So and So" becomes a villain boss of Mars TV, and the four hosts are to assist the owner's daughter of Earth TV to revive the business. With comedic plots like those in 5 Lucky Stars (a popular Hong Kong action comedy film series) and the cameo appearance of the renowned filmmaker Ann Hui as a stern  Mainland advertiser, the film is a hilarious comedy that witnessed the prosperity of Hong Kong cinema and TV industries.

Film and stills licensed by Fortune Star Media Limited. All rights reserved.


Mad Mad 83

[Cast of Hong Kong 83 Plus TV stars All Come Together for a Mad Comedy!]

Mad Mad 83 (1983)

Produced by: Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Ltd.
Director: Chor Yuen
Cast: Johnny Ngan, Anita Mui, Tong Leung, Barbara Yung

Colour | Cantonese | Chinese and English subtitles

The Hong Kong 81 series was at one point TVB's longest-running sitcom, aired for six years from Hong Kong 81 to Hong Kong 86. Derived from Commercial Radio Hong Kong's drama programme 18/F Block C, it adapts the news of the public’s attention into a half-hour drama series at 7pm every weekday night. Its characters also won great popularity among the masses.

In 1973, director Chor Yuen revived Cantonese cinema in the Hong Kong film scene with House of 72 Tenants, a movie that gathered actors of the TVB variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight and film stars of Shaw Brothers Studio. In the early 1980s, having tired of making martial arts films, he shifted his interest to Hong Kong 83 – the sitcom starring his wife, Nam Hung. He adapted it into a movie within one month and had it screened in the summer of the same year. Besides the cast of Hong Kong 83, new TV idols such as Tony Leung, Anita Mui and Barbara Yung also made an appearance on the big screen for the first time.

In Mad Mad 83, Jack Chan (Johnny Ngan) is the main character. He is hired by a mysterious lady (Yiu Wai) to disguise as her husband for the 100-million-dollar inheritance but at the same time under secret surveillance of the police's special team, and a series of misunderstandings set off a load of funny scenes. Filming beyond the eatery set in the original TV version, the movie jokes about the times by playing with "bad luck", names and places that mean "death" and an uncontrolled trick chair, which is full of the director's trademark wittiness.

Film and stills licensed by Celestial Filmed Entertainment. All rights reserved.


The Bund, The Bund II

[Sensational TV drama and theme song of nostalgic mania]

The Bund, The Bund II (1983)

Produced by: Television Broadcasts Limited
Director: Dennis Chiu
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Angie Chiu, Ray Lui, Lau Dan, Susanna Au-yeung

Colour | Cantonese | Chinese and English subtitles

   

The Bund, an all-time classic, is a 1980 TVB drama inspired by foreign gangster films and mob history of China. The romance triangle of Hui Man-keung (Chow Yun-fat), Ting Lik (Ray Lui) and Fung Ching-ching (Angie Chiu) captivated the audience's hearts throughout Southeast Asia in those days. Its theme song, with the opening lines "the wave rushes, the wave flows", took the audience by storm, and its Thai version also became a great hit in Thailand. TVB filmed The Bund II and III in the same year, and the character Ting Lik was parodied by Stephen Chow and Wong Jing's comedy film God of Gamblers III: Back to Shanghai in 1991.

To extend the craze, Sir Run Run Shaw (founder of TVB) decided to make its movie version in 1983, but the film was not shot with the actors. Instead, the original 25-episode TV version was sent to the UK, remade and edited into two features. Screened by Shaw's cinema chains in January 1983, the movies were re-dubbed by voice actors (including Lam Pou-chuen, the voice of Doraemon in Hong Kong's version) to connect the deleted scenes. Having been screened for just about a week with only a cumulative box office of about 1.5 million HK dollars, the two features were not regarded as a huge success. Yet, because the production cost was lower than shooting new films and there was an income of overseas distribution, they still made a profit.

These two features disappeared for 34 years, but then reappeared in the Celestial Movies On Demand section on its pay-TV channel in 2017 and also on a streaming platform only for a brief period.

Film and stills licensed by Celestial Filmed Entertainment. All rights reserved.


Plain Jane to the Rescue

[Plain Jane Lam Ah Chun, Precious like a Jewel!]

Plain Jane to the Rescue (1982)

Produced by: Golden Harvest, Hi-Pitch Co. Ltd
Director: John Woo
Screenplay: John Woo, Lau Chun Wah
Cast: Josephine Siao, Ricky Hui, Charlie Cho, Li Ming-yang, Bowie Woo

Colour | Cantonese | Chinese and English subtitles

      

Lam Ah Chun, with her iconic bowl-cut hairdo, checkered shirt and large coke bottle glasses, is a beloved TV character in the 1970s. Opposite to this quirky look, Josephine Siao who plays the role is a brilliant star known for her modern chic.

Josephine Siao started her acting career from a talented child star in the 1950s to a youth idol in the 1960s and turned to pursue her studies in the US in the early 1970s. Before studying abroad, she had joined the emerging industry at that time—television—and hosted a variety show, The Rhythm of Fong Fong. After completing her studies, she returned to the Hong Kong TV scene and created the comedy character of Lam Ah Chun with TV director Ricky Chan Ga Suen, and her comedy career was thus begun.

The role of Lam Ah Chun comes from the second series of the TV comedy show It's not so Simple. The first series hosted by Richard Ng was a success, but due to the quarrel over the treatment issue, Josephine Siao became the host of the second series. The 13 episodes of the TV show revolve around celebrity interviews, farces, songs and dances, with a part of Lam Ah Chun's session which gained a wide appeal. Lam Ah Chun is designed as an educated university graduate from the US, a goofy girl prone to silly mishaps. Considered overqualified by her employers and wacky by the people around her, Lam Ah Chun is always in between jobs—a dig at university students who become useless in the commercial world.

Lam Ah Chun also steps onto the silver screen. Josephine Siao self-funded the film version of Lam Ah Chun in 1978, which became a big hit at the box office. She then made two sequels, Lam Ah Chun Blunders Again (1979) and Plain Jane to the Rescue (1982), of which the latter is most peculiar.

This time, Lam Ah Chun is passionately pursued by Ricky Hui, the loser who is always bullied among Hui's Brothers, while on the other hand, the two have to deal with the "real estate villain" (Charlie Cho), who at the same time invites Lam Ah Chun to teach his father (Li Ming Yang) social manners. Under such an awkward situation, the protagonists are all struggling to make a living in this self-contradictory circumstance. John Woo, who had not yet become a romantic hero film director at that time, made this ever-new prophetic comedy. In the film, the wage earners have to work for the boss in the form of robots just like in Charlie Chapling's classic scene, and even the film director starred by John Woo himself has to go to the labour department to find a job. The ending scene of the cross-harbour tunnel traffic jam—with famous singer Roman Tam called to perform in the tunnel under the pressure of the crowd—conveys a sense of wry humour with a surreal tone.

Film and stills licensed by Fortune Star Media Limited. All rights reserved.


Biography

William Yuen

Curator

Since 2012, William Yuen Wing Hong (Wei-gor) has been at the helm of “Wei-Gor Club”, a popular Facebook and Youtube channel focusing on Hong Kong films and televisions at the 1970s to the 1990s. He has interviewed major filmmakers such as Lawrence Cheng, Manfred Wong, Gordon Chan, Teresa Mo, Carrie Ng, John Shum, Stephen Tung Wai, Chin Ka Lok, Fennie Yuen, etc. He has guest-lectured and given talks at the Hong Kong Film Archive, the Film Culture Centre (Hong Kong) and the Broadway Cinematheque. He began programming "Tai Kwun Laundry Steps" since 2021.