notes to chapter two 231
50 See Law, “Shaw’s Cantonese Productions and Their Interactions with Contemporary
Local and Hollywood Cinema”; Li C., “A Look at mp&gi Cantonese Films through
the Work of Tso Kea.”
51 Taylor, Rethinking Transnational Chinese Cinemas, 11.
52 In this regard, the postwar Hong Kong film industry’s investment in Mandarin can
be distinguished from the promotion of guohua pian, or national- language films,
in the 1930s. In this earlier period of filmmaking, the privileging of Mandarin as
China’s official standard language was bound up with the project of modern nation
building. Until 1937 the Nanjing government even imposed a ban on dialect films.
See Xiao, “Constructing a New National Culture.” Although the complex cultural
and ideological valences of Mandarin filmmaking are beyond the scope of the pres-
ent discussion, my understanding of this issue has been considerably deepened by
the research of Janet Y. Chen and Robert J. Culp.
53 Gan, “Tropical Hong Kong,” 19.
54 Gan, “Tropical Hong Kong,” 20.
55 In “Under Western Eyes,” S. N. Ko argues that this cycle of American films began
with Hong Kong (1952), a war time thriller starring Ronald Reagan, and ended with
The Road to Hong Kong (1962), the last of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s international
road movies.
56 For instance, The World of Suzie Wong begins with a ride on the iconic Star Ferry and
contains many images of real street scenes and public markets filled with working-
class residents of the colony as part of its setting in the Wanchai neighborhood
(though many of these were shot in other parts of the island). The film also shows
the typhoon shelter in Causeway Bay and even a hillside squatter community.
57 The bulk of these musical extravaganzas were Mandarin productions, made by Shaw
Brothers and (to a lesser extent) mp&gi. See S. L. Li, “Embracing Glocalization and
Hong Kong– Made Musical Films.”
58 Taylor, Rethinking Transnational Chinese Cinemas, 88.
59 Taylor, Rethinking Transnational Chinese Cinemas, 89–90.
60 G. Hong, Taiwan Cinema, chapter 2.
61 Yung S., Yueyun liusheng, 23, and chapter 4.
62 Yung S., Xunmi Yueju sheng ying, xxvii.
63 A comprehensive listing can be found in D. Chen et al., “Filmography of Cantonese
Cinema (1946–1959).” Film production of Cantonese opera tapered off in the follow-
ing de cade, with about a hundred films made during the 1960s.
64 A special issue of Opera Quarterly explores the intersection of operatic aesthetics
and film practices, focusing on PRC- produced opera films from the 1950s to the
Cultural Revolution (see Iovene and Zeitlin, “Chinese Opera Film”). Chris Berry
and Mary Farquhar posit opera as a national cultural form that constitutes the early
substrate of Chinese cinema, yet their elaboration of this thesis fails to account for
the specificity of opera’s forms, instead conflating xiqu with Tom Gunning’s idea of a
“cinema of attractions” (China on Screen, chapter 3; see also Gunning, “The Cinema
of Attraction.”).
65 B. Yung, Cantonese Opera, 6.
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