The Wild, Wild Rose- -
Grace Chang delivers an eye-opening performance as a lusty nightclub singer climbing the social ladder in seedy Wanchai. Borrowing story and song elements from Georges Bizet’s CARMEN, this Wong Tin-Lam directed musical has flair and polish to rival Hollywood, and a superstar leading lady that would any film industry would have a tough time matching! A key film from the celebrated Cathay Film Studios.
Wild, Wild Rose is one of the best musicals in the history of Hong Kong cinema.
A musical noir in which cigarette smoke is a major character, the film is noted for its expressionistic mise en scene and sharply staged set pieces realized by director Wang Tianlin. It also features a sophisticated use of music that marks the maturity of Hong Kong musicals. Jazz, blues and western opera are integrated into the popular songs, written by composer Hattori R., who was imported from Japan as part of Hong Kong cinema’s effort to spice up its products with foreign help.
The tale of a nightclub singer who seduces a straight-laced piano player and then falls fatally in love with him, the film is a revival of the songstress films that were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Yet the title character is nothing like the generic lasses of sad melodies and feeble dispositions that had dominated Mandarin cinema just a few years back. Instead, the Wild Rose is every bit her name evokes. She is a tempestuous temptress – beautiful, openly sexual, romantically aggressive but cynical. Her glorious exploits take her through a ride as tumultuous as the ferocious swings of the film’s tunes, eventually landing her in a fate as tragic as the songstress of old, returning the film to the genre’s humble beginning. Grace Chang turned in a remarkable performance as the updated songstress, her animalistic and erotic interpretation of a pop song adapted from the Habanera number of Bizet’s Carmen is among the most memorable moments in the history of Mandarin films.
Thanks to Far East Film Festival