224 notes to chapter one
Chapter 1. a songstress is born
1 Sue Touhy notes that the film was accompanied by a record released by Pathé (“Met-
ropolitan Sounds,” 205).
2 Jones, Yellow Music, 6.
3 Zhang Z., An Amorous History of the Silver Screen, 317, 308.
4 Li and Hu, Zhongguo wusheng dianying shi, 6.
5 An advertisement for Pleasures of the Opera declares: “All talking and singing picture
topples fake dubbed wax disc sound films . . . leading the way to real sound- on- film
pictures (Shenbao, October 28, 1931, page 9). The claim to realness echoes the mar-
keting rhetoric used for Peace after Storm, which described the film as “a first real
talkie of China” (quoted in Zhang Z., An Amorous History of the Silver Screen, 306).
6 Li and Hu, Zhongguo wusheng dianying shi, 7.
7 Local supplement, Shenbao, May 25, 1931.
8 To offer another example, a full- page ad for Pleasures of the Opera includes a sum-
mary of its story, about an affair between a married man and a singing girl, and a
listing of six of the songs, each accompanied by the name of the star who performs
it in the film and a few stanzas of the lyrics (local supplement, Shenbao, October 28,
9 For a richly detailed discussion of Two Stars in the Milky Way as a “metafilm” dra-
matizing the relationships between “fiction and film, art and life, stage and screen,
silent and sound film, opera and film, players and play, motion pictures and still
photographs,” see Harris, “Two Stars on the Silver Screen,” 193.
10 Even if live transmission accounts but for a small fraction of broadcasting practices,
the idea of “liveness” has been embedded ideologically in the very definition of tele-
vi sion, as Jane Feuer argues in “The Concept of Live Tele vi sion.” Her argument can
be extended to radio as well.
11 Quoted in Xu, “Dianyingyuan yu yinyue” (translated by Hsinyi Tiffany Lee).
12 Zhang Yiwei, “Shengyin yu xiandaixing: mopian zhi youshengpian guodu shiqi de
Zhongguo yingyuan shengyin shi wenti,” 89.
13 Xu, “Dianyingyuan yu yinyue” (translated by Hsinyi Tiffany Lee).
14 Bu Wancang would go on to direct some of the most acclaimed silent films of the
1930s, including Lianai yu yiwu (Love and Duty), Taohua qi xue ji (Peach Blossom
Weeps Tears of Blood), and Yijian mei (A Spray of Plum Blossoms,).
15 Yang Naimei was a member of an early generation of film stars who, even before
entering the movie business, garnered public notoriety as a flamboyant modern
girl with a penchant for outrageous fashions and scandalizing antics. Often cast as
a vamp, she eventually founded her own production company. For a discussion of
Yang’s career, see Zhang Z., An Amorous History of the Silver Screen, 39.
16 Qiu, “Ping Liangxin fuhuo.”
17 Gui, “Wanren zheng ting ‘Ru niang qu.’
18 Jones, Yellow Music, 73.
19 Lu, “Ji Kelian de Qiuxiang.” The gramophone record produced by Great China
included “Putao xianzi” (“The Grape Fairy”), a runaway hit among Li Jinhui’s
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