The House of 72 Tenants

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© 1973 Shaw Brothers − All right reserved.
Poster for the movie "The House of 72 Tenants"

The House of 72 Tenants (1973)

98 min - Comedy - 21 September 1973
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Adapted from a popular stage comedy, Chor Yuen’s The House of 72 Tenants became a landmark release in the1973 cinema schedule. Shot in Cantonese several years after Mandarin cinema took over the industry, the film topped the charts for the year and reinvigorated Cantonese comedy in the 1970s. The 72 Tenants of the title live in a rundown tenement area on To Shan Street.

Director:  Chor Yuen

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Storyline

Adapted from a popular stage comedy, Chor Yuen’s The House of 72 Tenants became a landmark release in the1973 cinema schedule. Shot in Cantonese several years after Mandarin cinema took over the industry, the film topped the charts for the year and reinvigorated Cantonese comedy in the 1970s. The 72 Tenants of the title live in a rundown tenement area on To Shan Street.


Collections: Chor Yuen

Genres: Comedy

Details

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Country:   Hong Kong
Language:  Cantonese
Release Date:  21 September 1973

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Company Credits

Technical Specs

Runtime:  1 h 38 min

Adapted from a popular stage comedy, Chor Yuen’s The House of 72 Tenants became a landmark release in the1973 cinema schedule.

The House of 72 Tenants Movie Trailer

Shot in Cantonese several years after Mandarin cinema took over the industry, the film topped the charts for the year and reinvigorated Cantonese comedy in the 1970s. The 72 Tenants of the title live in a rundown tenement area on To Shan Street. The colourful bunch are low in cash but high in neighbourly spirit, helping out each other and staying unselfish in spite of challenges like rationed water. But all is not idyllic – the bad eggs in the small community are landlords Chow Bing-ken (Tien Ching) and Pat Koo (Hu Chin), who exploit the tenants at every opportunity. When the pair bully their serving girl Ah Heung (Ching Li), use corrupt cops to help rid the area of confrontational characters like cobbler Fat Chai (Yueh Hua) and try to sell their building, the tenants band together to plot their comeuppance.

As a co-production between Shaw Brothers and Television Broadcasts Ltd, The House of 72 Tenants overflows with star power, from the neighbours themselves through to a steady stream of cameo appearances. Each character is named as he or she appears on screen yet the fast-moving comedy holds back from being too cluttered as a result. The entire production is shot in studio sets that offer a theatrical impression while focusing goings-on at several fixed locations, and the script allows space for the lead characters to develop. Though the stage-like sets are clearly removed from reality, Chor Yuen nonetheless grounded The House of 72 Tenants in Hong Kong’s current situation with current affairs snippets like an outrageous corrupt cop caricature and a hilarious scene with firefighters employing a dollars-for-water scheme. The mix of characters meanwhile present a colourful cross-section of society, from hawkers to new migrants to unemployed graduates – people the initial audiences could have possibly related to as they watched them stand against adversity and crooked authority.

Tim Youngs

Thanks to Far East Film Festival