Oldies with subtitles: is this a science-fictional dream?

Discussions about Hong Kong Movies

Postby dleedlee » Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:43 pm

I was reading the topic about Union Film. Translating the credits is for sure something that helps, an effort that I appreciate and welcome with joy.

Just to be clear, this is not the same Union Film that I was referring to.

But I was wondering: does somebody know if there is a little possibility that all those old cantonese classics, from the fifities til the early seventies, can get a chance to be issued with english subtitles?!

There are a very small handful, notably the Bruce Lee box set. Obviously they are pushing that aspect, but it so happens there are terrific films in their own right. So take advantage of it. Two of the three were produced by Union Film, and the third film, made in 1950, precedes Union but is as good. There are a few others but I will have to look them up to list here.

On one side, infact, these movies seem to be something out of the world that really does not interest the majority of people (or anyway they sell less than -say- a Johnnie To offer). On the other side, I have the feeling that there´s a big number of people sincerely happy that these old movies started to come again to the light. Is it so really science-fictional to hope that somebody will take care of adding english subtitles to these films? Does somebody know what are the difficulties with this kind of job, especially financially speaking, and if there is a little chance to have a market and a public for these movies or not... (just to know if starting to translate these movies would mean just a frustrating experience or something with a bit of real sense, beside a personal love for cantonese movies).


I don’t know about the financial aspects but let me relate something somewhat related. I happen to enjoy Chinese opera (oooh scarrry, huh?), Cantonese, Kunqu, Beijing, etc. I try to catch performances whenever they are available locally. Now, when I go to Kunqu performances, they are usually presented by the Smithsonian Institute (a national museum). They normally precede the performance with a lecture and technique demo so the audience can understand and appreciate the performance more fully. So, they are marketing specifically towards Westerners. No problem. If I go to a Beijing opera performance, normally, they are presented by a local opera troupe with guest stars from China, ex-pats living in NYC, etc. Geared toward Mandarin speakers, they almost always provide BOTH Chinese and English translations. The auditorium is full, maybe 400-500 people. But when I go to a Cantonese opera performance, again, locally presented with Guangdong guest stars in the lead, the translation is Chinese only. WTF! I look around at the audience, everyone but me is over 60 years old, closer to 70, maybe only 100 or so people. The younger Chinese have no interest but they don’t even try to market and expand their audience. Why is that? These people won’t live forever, where is the next generation of audience going to come from? Already, interest is low.

I’m not sure what it all means if anything but I thought I’d share it.
Last edited by dleedlee on Tue Aug 24, 2004 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dleedlee » Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:49 pm

The hkmbd lists it as Young and Idle, a comedy. I haven't seen it yet. It just came out. I will probably get it later. My strategy is to get the older titles first for fear of the them going OOP.

Btw, this might be helpful in figuring out titles, it's what I do since my Chinese is almost zero or zero + .00001: After finding a title you're interested in, switch to the Chinese version of the page, copy the Chinese title, then paste it into the hkmdb search engine (after you switch to the Big5 version). After you've found the title, you can switch back to the English version of the page. I had to start doing this after I found the English titles at layoyo were not always the same as the ones at yesasia and I'd buy two copies of the same movie sold under different titles. And those Universal DVD covers all looked the same, too.

re: Tang Wing Cheung aka Sun Ma Sze Tsang
I have tons of his films, I quite like him now though I have mostly comedies with him. I avoid the operas on film because a) the sound is terrible b) most are in black and white and c) it's too hard for me to understand without a plot summary to follow. However there are a few famous ones directed by Lee Tit: Snow in June, The Purple Hairpin and Butterfly and Red Pear all made in 1959 and all in colour I believe. They used to be available on DVD but may only be on vcd now. He also made The Tragic Story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai (the Butterfly Lovers story) in 1958. And Nymph of River Lo is also colour I believe. If I find any old colour operas, I ususally pick them up for my dad. (e.g.Legend of Lee Heung Kwan directed by Chor Yuen, 1990)

Sun Ma Jai recommendations:
A Wonderful Dream - comedy/fantasy, teamed with Tang Kei Chen his frequent comedic partner. A group of pals buy a lottery ticket and dream of travelling the world.
Teacher Who Knows Everything - comedy, again with Tang Kei Chen. Two ne'er do wells befriend a maid and blackmail her boss. They get fired and take on a series of jobs to get by.
Five Blessings In a Row - historical comedy. Two matchmakers scheme to make their commission. The brides get switched on their wedding day when their sedan chairs collide. He plays one of the grooms.
Rickshaw Puller and Orphan - drama. Rickshaw puller raises an abandoned baby
Madam Butterfly - tragic romance. A Hong Kong version of the famous story.

cheers.
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Postby ciakmull » Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:15 pm

Hi, I leave my usual place at "Data Additions & Suggested Changes" room to enter this topic. 8)

Why don't we start listing those few old cantonese movies on vcds with english subs?

They are few and the online shops often limit the item description to the chinese subs. But there are some vcds with unexpected english subs.

All the following titles, e.g., have english subtitles:
SUPREME SWORD (in the blue Connie Chan Pearl City vcd box)
THE WEDDING GOWN (still in the blue Connie Chan Pearl City vcd box)
THE MAGNIFICENT FIVE (by Winson)
THE LIAR (by China Art)
MOTHER WANTS ME TO GET MARRIED (by China Art)
MY SWEETHEART (by China Art)
HER TENDER LOVE (by China Art)
DRAGON FORTRESS (by Mega Base)
WHITE DRAGON (by Mega Base)
TUNG HSIAO WAN (by Mei Ah)
SO SIU SIU (by Mei Ah)
THE JADE BOW (by Mei Ah)

Could anyone post other titles?
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Postby dleedlee » Thu Sep 02, 2004 4:23 pm

Yes, 'unexpected' is the key word. I never expect them so they don't even register in my mind when they show up. Of the ones you listed above that I've seen, I forget that they even had subs.

I've mentioned elsewhere but the Bruce Lee box set is all subbed:

MY SON A-CHANG aka THE KID
THE GUIDING LIGHT
AN ORPHAN'S TRAGEDY
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2 others VCD with english subtitles

Postby abbot » Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:12 am

"Girl Wanders Around" A.K.A. "The Young Girl Dares Not Homeward" (1970)
Nice drama wrote by Szeto On ("Big Brothers Cheng", "Magic Blade"...) starring Connie Chan, Nancy Sit, Kenneth Tsang & Bowie Wu.

ImageImage
ImageImage

The other movie, i suppose it's "I Want to Sing" (1971) starring Teresa Tang, even if the chinese title is different from the one of HKMDB (http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?id=5211&display_set=eng)

ImageImage
ImageImage[/url]

Both movies are available on China Art VCD
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Postby dleedlee » Sat Sep 11, 2004 12:52 pm

Oooh, oooh, I didn't know about the Teresa Tang title! Thanks much. Hopefully, it's not hard to find.
I just received Girls Wander Around this week, the pics look a lot like I Will Remember You Always! In that film Connie and Nancy Sit are schoolgirls who become bar girls at night to earn money. For Nancy, fun things like a sports car, Connie, of course, for a righteous reason, to support her family.

re: Sze-To On, I've been noticing lately how many films I've enjoyed that he's associated with, e.g. the Buddha Palm series, Violet Girl, Lady Black Cat Strikes Again, etc.

edit: I couldn't locate I Want to Sing at yesasia or layoyo. link?
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"Girl Wanders Around" is "I Will Remember Yo

Postby abbot » Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:47 pm

The VCD of "Girl Wanders Around" (distributed by China Art) and the VCD "I Will Remember You Always" (distributed by Universe) are in fact THE SAME MOVIE (i have both and the Universe VCD have a better image quality but no subtitles).

On the VCD cover of "Girls Wanders Around", the chinese title is the same of "The Young Girl Dares Not Homeward" according the HKMDB (http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?id=5115&display_set=eng) but, as you can see on the movie capture, the chinese title is different from the cover title. Very confusing...
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Concerning the Theresa Tang VCD

Postby abbot » Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:53 pm

I found the Theresa Tang VCD in Hongkong, not on Internet. I think this one is now very rare (maybe out of stock) cos' i found only one item in one store. In fact, it looks like a China Art VCD (same design), but there is no mention of China Art on the cover. Only a serial number : No. V049. I hope it'll help...
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Postby dleedlee » Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:22 pm

Argh and Double Argh!

Oh no, not this again! At least tell me that the China Art disc is widescreen and not cropped like the Universe disc. (note to self: fix entries in the db!)
Now I have to worry about reissues for the oldies?

re: I Want To Sing, I figured as much. I remember now that I came across the entry in the db a while back and wondering why I hadn't heard much/anything about this film...you teaser, you :wink:
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"Girl Wanders Around" / "I Will Remember You

Postby abbot » Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:45 pm

VCD quality comparison between "Girl Wanders Around" (sub) & "I Will Remember You Always" (no sub)

ImageImage

ImageImage
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Postby ciakmull » Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:46 pm

edit: I couldn't locate I Want to Sing at yesasia or layoyo. link?


I think it could be this vcd, the cover title and the screenshot characters seem the same:
http://global.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/pid-1002839604/did-0/code-c/section-videos/
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Teresa Tang VCD

Postby abbot » Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:54 pm

Thanks ciakmull. You found the good link. This is the VCD i have. So the alternative title of the movie is "The Legend Of Teresa Teng". Interesting...
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Postby dleedlee » Sat Sep 11, 2004 4:34 pm

Excellent, thank you, ciakmull. I passed right over it thinking it was a music video. (images load so slowly at yesasia anymore, at least , for me).

And abbott, thanks for the screen captures. You're right, the Universe picture is much better. What the hell is China Art doing to their releases? I guess it must be a different source if they have subs, though.
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Postby dleedlee » Sat Sep 11, 2004 5:40 pm

Abbot - Hmmm. Now I see what you are saying.

There actually are two different films called I Will Remember You Always (10/7/70) and Girls Wander Around/Young Girl Dares Not Homeward (4/25/70),but what yesasia is selling as Girls Wander Around incorrectly has the cover/title of Young Girls but the movie is actually Remember..i.e., it is mislabelled. I thought they were the same film with different titles! ...not sure what I said was any clearer but I see what is going on.
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Postby dleedlee » Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:15 pm

Thanks, fekeewee, I will lower my expectations, but I _will_ get it. I do enjoy Teresa's sing a lot. Welcome back!
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Postby isfahani » Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:15 am

SUPREME SWORD (in the blue Connie Chan Pearl City vcd box)
THE WEDDING GOWN (still in the blue Connie Chan Pearl City vcd box)
THE MAGNIFICENT FIVE (by Winson)
THE LIAR (by China Art)
MOTHER WANTS ME TO GET MARRIED (by China Art)
MY SWEETHEART (by China Art)
HER TENDER LOVE (by China Art)
DRAGON FORTRESS (by Mega Base)
WHITE DRAGON (by Mega Base)
TUNG HSIAO WAN (by Mei Ah)
SO SIU SIU (by Mei Ah)
THE JADE BOW (by Mei Ah)

Thanks for the list, if someone could specify the MA and non MA films here
I would be glad. I keep hoping before I die I'll be able to see some of the old B & W WFH films with subs...
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Postby dleedlee » Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:11 pm

Thanks for the list, if someone could specify the MA and non MA films here I would be glad. I keep hoping before I die I'll be able to see some of the old B & W WFH films with subs...

THE WEDDING GOWN (still in the blue Connie Chan Pearl City vcd box)
- romantic comedy, very funny but cropped to fullscreen
THE MAGNIFICENT FIVE (by Winson)
- martial arts, cropped but enjoyable
THE LIAR (by China Art)
- romance comedy? don't have it...yet
MOTHER WANTS ME TO GET MARRIED (by China Art)
- romance comedy, haven't seen yet, in the pile
MY SWEETHEART (by China Art) aka LOVE HONEY
- romance comedy, haven't seen yet, in the pile
HER TENDER LOVE (by China Art)
- romace comedy, haven't seen yet, in the pile
DRAGON FORTRESS (by Mega Base)
- martial arts, very good
WHITE DRAGON (by Mega Base)
- martial arts, lousy print, subs cut off, cut? I don't care for Fung BoBo
TUNG HSIAO WAN (by Mei Ah)
? not sure which film this is
SO SIU SIU (by Mei Ah)
- excellent! period drama
THE JADE BOW (by Mei Ah)
- in the pile for a long time now

Hope this helps.
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Postby isfahani » Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:35 am

thank youuuuuu
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Postby ciakmull » Thu Sep 30, 2004 6:41 pm

THE LIAR (by China Art)
- romance comedy? don't have it...yet


An enjoyable cheapie.

MY SWEETHEART (by China Art) aka LOVE HONEY
- romance comedy, haven't seen yet, in the pile


Not a masterpiece but quite entertaining. With Connie Chan, Kenneth Tsang and Helena Law Lan in her classic funny role.

TUNG HSIAO WAN (by Mei Ah)
? not sure which film this is


An historical drama co-directed by Zhou Shilin. It seems much interesting, not seen yet.

I forgot... there's also Lee Tit's The Legend of the Purple Hairpin (on Universe dvd with burned eng / chi subs), a 1977 chinese opera based on the classic Purple Hairpin tale, with Yam - Pak protégés Lung Kim Sang - Mooi Suet Si as main actors.
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Postby dleedlee » Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:22 am

Incredible Rumour - another Connie film with English subs, picture is cropped and co-stars Petrina Fung Bo Bo and Ha Ping as their mother.
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Postby dleedlee » Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:52 pm

Recent Winson releases on DVD:

Four Darling Daughters (1969) in colour
vcd also subbed
w/Josephine Siao and Lui Kei
http://www.hkwinson.com/newweb/dvddetai ... ilm_id=531

Sad Wife with a Grand House (1956) b/w
w/Cheung Wood Yau,Mui Yee,Tsi Lo-Lin
http://www.hkwinson.com/newweb/dvddetai ... ilm_id=529

I haven't watched either one, yet.
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Postby dleedlee » Sat Mar 26, 2005 4:10 pm

Another Winson title with subs, looks like an upcoming release:

Magic Head of Princess (1960) 飛頭公主滴血救親夫
http://www.hkwinson.com/newweb/PromoDet ... ilm_id=569
A historical drama with:

d. Fung Chi-Kong

Mak Bing Wing
Chui Lai Jan
Lam Ka-Sing
Fung Wong Nui
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Teresa Teng Movie(s)

Postby STSH » Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:02 pm

There is another movie featuring Teresa Teng, which I found in my rental DVD store last week, called Everybody Is Laughing, probably made in 1972 or 73. I'll be adding this film to the Db when I can get back and check the Chinese title. It has nearly an all star cast.


abbot wrote:"The other movie, i suppose it's "I Want to Sing" (1971) starring Teresa Tang, even if the chinese title is different from the one of HKMDB (http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?id=5211&display_set=eng)

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