A tragic love story set against the always volatile and often violent backdrop of Shanghai during the Japanese occupation and at the opening of the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. A nightclub singer becomes involved with both a member of the Chinese resistance and an officer of the Japanese army. [from the Rim Films Catalog]
Mui-Yi (who sings four songs) and the patriotic Sum were lovers in their student days. But just as their love blossomed, the onset of WWII took Sum away. Their paths cross again, years later, when the war is at its height. Mui-Yi is now a sultry nightclub songstress, and witnesses Sum fight with and shoot dead a Japanese national. Mui-Yi hides the wounded Sum with the help of her aunt. The ruthless secret police chief Tieh suspects this, and has Mui-Yi's father arrested and takes over his nightclub. The aunt despises Tieh but, with her old (and impotent) husband out of the way, becomes drawn to the violent Tieh.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Consul does all he can to protect Mui-Yi while failing to conceal his obvious passion for her. He also helps the two lovers stay in contact, and Mui-Yi falls pregnant to Sum, who inevitably must go away again, but he promises that, when the war is over, he'll find her again.
There's much gritting of teeth and stoicism and patriotic self- sacrifice all round. To protect Mui-Yi, Sum even shoots the Consul in the knee, to give him a reason for invalid discharge, to get him and Mui-Yi out of the war zone. Ouch. And, as in all sweeping romances where the lovers are kept apart, when they are together they're always at crossed purposes......