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How fleeting are the glories of the mighty!This is the theme of the film, but likewise,apparently, the moral of the production.After all this film(which ran in the States as The Magnificent Concubine) took a Cannes award and features what is possibly the finest and certainly the most voluptuous performance of Li Li Hua. Miss Hua(who gets only one listing at present on IMDb,a quite inferior vehicle called "China Doll") is to Chinese cinema what Barbara Stanwyck was to thirties and forties Hollywood.Show business was in her blood and even with her worst scripts(many of them) one always knew there was more to the lady than what the moguls were giving her to do. This time she has one of the greatest love stories of all time,the fatal passion of an aged emperor for a frivolous young woman, who matures too late into a truly great lady.It was previously done by Mizoguchi with the exquisite Machiko Kyo as the ill fated Lady Yang.Both versions are worthy of repeated watchings and both feature the collaboration of film mogul Run Run Shaw. This really deserves a reissue.
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