Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cinemas @ Great World

Since so much hype has been generated about the Great World; I think I should also indulge in a bit of Great World nostalgia. As I mentioned before in my post about the New World Amusement Park, I did not go to GW Amusement Park as a kid but rather to New World. I only went to GW when I was already quite big; and it was to the cinemas; namely Globe and Sky, and not the amusement park.


I remember two movies that I saw at Sky.

The first was the famous 射雕英雄传 (The Brave Archer). This is an extremely popular Wuxia classic that has been made to countless television serials. The movie version that I saw was produced by Shaw brothers and it starred the late Alexander Fu Sheng. I remember the pace of the movie was so fast that we had great difficulty following the story. I think it was unwise for the producer to try and cram such a long and well-know story into a single 2-episode movie.

As I think about this classic, I believe there used to be an even earlier black and white version of it; in Cantonese of course. Can anyone remember?

The other movie which I remember seeing at Sky theatre; and probably my last, was another Shaw Brothers sword-fighting movie by the title of 流星蝴蝶剑. The director was a new generation director by the name of Chor Yuen. What I remember about this movie was the sounds made by the swords when they clashed. It does not produce the usual metallic clanging sound but a very nice ringing sound.

I remember watching a show at Sky (probably 流星蝴蝶剑) with some colleagues from Philips. So the year has to be around 1980 or even later. Hence I find it rather strange that during the interview at the Channel News Asia Primetime Morning show the other day, Director Kelvin Tong kept saying that Great World closed down in 1978.

I also remember two movies at Globe. One was The Graduate which starred a very young Dustin Hoffman. I enjoyed the Simon and Garfunkel songs more than the movie itself. The other was an extremely dull movie titled Catch 22. It starred Art Garfunkel in one of his rare starring roles. I fell asleep midway through the show and cannot remember what the show was all about.

15 comments:

Andy Young* said...

Great memory to remember great details.

Anonymous said...

During CNY the game stalls will give away cigarette packs as prizes. Something I frowned as a teen back then.

Brian and Tess said...

Shame on you Chun See for falling asleep during Catch 22! Its an inconic book that all 60s students used to read (although I will be the first to admit that it has its boring bits) but I always find the film very worth watching. Its a satire on war, the madness of the bombing campaign and in the Milo Minderbender character one of the greatest portrayals of a war racketeer. But of course it won't be for everyone.

peter said...

The amusement park closed down much earlier than the 2 cinemas

Redstorm said...

As a kid staying at nearby Bukit Ho Swee, I watched a lot of shows at the four cinemas there - Globe, Sky, Canton and Atlantic. Globe cinema was my favourite and I loved the war movies like, Dirty Dozen, Longest Day, Guns of Navarone, Kelly's Heroes, etc. Another memorable show was SWALK with many songs by the Bee Gees played in the background.

fr said...

I just found out that Brave Archer, 射雕英雄传, has 3 chapters. They were produced in 1978, 1979 and 1981.

Killer Clans, 流星蝴蝶剑, was produced in 1976.

Zen said...

A taiwanese script writer named chang cheh requested shaw bros boss to let direct a kungfu film with an all male cast featuring new style of sword fighting, which he promised would yield good returns. The boss was quite doubtful but allowed him to try on a low budget black and white film production. So chang produced his first film 'tiger boy' a new approach to sword fighting, lot of swift and nimble action accompanied with a variety of deadly weapons and of course prenty of blood letting as a result. I saw the show which was an instant hit sometime in 1964 at the rex cinema. Subsequently he produced a series of kungfu blockbusters which revolutionised chinese kungfu films. He and his charges, among them wang yu was the top-dog, acting as the famous one-arm swordman. Chang called the shot in shaw film kingdom and everyone had to obey him. Even the boss would give him a free hand, why? In hongkong there is a slang in the movie world red always triumps over white, meaning that box office record is the ultimate, money making is topmost in the boss's mind and chang's films were self explanatory, they broke one record after another.

Lam Chun See said...

Last year I saw a very good documentary on Discovery Channel about the history of Chinese wuxia/kungu movie as an artform; beginning all the way at the silent movies right up to Crouching Tiger. If I remember correctly, the first wuxia complete with 'special effects' was the one about the famous Burning of Shaolin Temple.

The documentary traced the different trends that occurred over the years. In fact I still have this documentary in my (old/previous) dvd recorder's hard disk.

peter said...

I think "special effects" went back earlier than that. Rememebr those black & white Cantonese Period movies? Imagine you stick out your hands and out comes lightning. You blow something from your mouth and out comes rings. The best part when rings fight with lightning.

Anonymous said...

There was a Hokkien dialect film of "Burning of the Shaolin Temple" which consisted of about four or five parts (shows) produced in the late 50s or early 60s. Back then the films produced in Hong Kong included Hokkien ones. Remember the famous actress Ling Por who was known by her screen name of Sio Kuan in her earlier films in Hokkien before she switched over to Mandarin and Cantonese movies.

Zen said...

Chun See could be referring to shaw film 'burning of the red lotus temple'. Early cantonese so-called kungfu films were really considered 'sissy' compared to today's high tech stuff. The actors were literally kicking butts but did it softly. Ling Por aka sio kuan in her early years acting hokkien films. We saw her acting 'na cha' shown in an open air cinema. At the height of her career, she was promugated to stardom in her role of chu yin tai in shaw film 'liang chu' because of her fantastic rendition of wang mei teow songs. She was such a hit in taiwan that just her mere appearance in taipei caused a pandemonium. It was reported in the press that a crazy fan had seen her show (liang chu) for nearly a hundred times! On reaching the half way mark, the cinema decided to let her in foc. Could it be a publicity stun by the press?

Zen said...

Sorry for the above error. Ling Por actually acted the male role of liang san po not chu yin tai in liang chu.

Lam Chun See said...

Zen is right. It should be Lotus Temple, not Shaolin Temple. Did some checking. This movie, 火烧红莲寺, was produced in 1928. Details here

Anonymous said...

Thanks, it was "Burning of the Lotus Temple"' Saw this movie as a kid at the open air cinema known as Peking Theatre located off MachPherson Road, near Kolam Ayer.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching Jesus Christ Superstar at Globe around 1976/77. This was my second time watching the movie after its first run at Golden Mile Cinema (I think that's the name of the cinema although I can't be sure).