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Private Eyes revolves the characters in a private detective agency headed by Wong Yuk-See (Michael Hui) with two employees, a stuttered, easily bullied Pighead (Ricky Hui) and secretary/receptionist, Jacky (Angie Chiu). The agency was soon joined by an out-of-work bottling plant employee Lee Kwok-Kit (Sam Hui). Among them, they took on various cases, mostly involving adulterous men and women. Comedic adventures occurred when Wong and Lee carried out these investigations. In the movie's finale, the two were trying to capture a blackmailer to a local theater and it ties several earlier sketches together. Written by
A ground-breaking comdey of Hong Kong Cinema of 1970's. After Bruce Lee, Hui's Brother, Michael Hui and Sam Hui, dominated the Hong Kong show business for about a decade and "The Private Eyes" represents the peak of their career.
Some scenes are still very funny. Something like Mr Bean's style. Simple setup and no visually attractive cinematography but the content is the name of the game. Other than something funny, this simple detective story also reveals the innocence of Hong Kong people at that time, perhaps more important, the bright-side of capitalism.
The message is very positive. Don't be an escapist and only the fittest can survive. But surviving itself is not the ultimate objective of life and in fact just a condition to achieve that ultimate objective. In other words, we earn money for living but not live for earning money. It is also a belief of Hong Kong people at that time.
The consistency between the message of the movie and the belief of the people made The Private Eyes become a very influential comedy in HK cinema. Educating audience is something very important in Michael Hui's films. In fact, we can also find such kind of style in Jacky Chan's movies, but of course at a level very different.
The box office of The Private Eyes is about HK$ 8 millions in 1977, but measured at today ticket price, is about 120 millions. Titanic's box office in HK is only about 116 million and Jacky Chan's "First Strike"(1996), the most successful Chan's movie in HK in sense of box office, is nothing but about 58 millions. Of course the competition they faced is different and my calculation may not be absolutely valid. But the popularity of Hui's Brother in 70's is something definitely unquestionable.
A warmhearted comedy with significant insight is a short but full description for this movie. I like the ending very much. To the people who are interested in HK cinema's development, it is a must-see. To the people who just want a movie entertaining, also worth seeing.
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