MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 32,905 this week

The Last Princess of Manchuria (1990)
"Chuan Dao Fang Zi" (original title)

6.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 139 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Add a Plot

Writers:

(novel) (as Lillian Lee) , (screenplay) (as Lillian Lee)
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 338 titles
created 19 Jun 2012
 
a list of 17 titles
created 10 May 2013
 
a list of 214 titles
created 14 Oct 2013
 
a list of 307 titles
created 27 May 2014
 
a list of 56 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Last Princess of Manchuria (1990)

The Last Princess of Manchuria (1990) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Last Princess of Manchuria.
4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

An update of the 1960s Chinese martial arts story, Buddha's Palm, friends Charles and Chi (Andy Lau, Pak-Cheung Chan) visit Mainland China and discover an ancient cave that houses what is ... See full summary »

Director: Taylor Wong
Stars: Pak-Cheung Chan, Jing Chen, Szu-Ying Chien
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mid-level gangster Wah falls in love with his beautiful cousin, but must also continue to protect his volatile partner-in-crime and friend, Fly.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in 1960, the film centres on the young, boyishly handsome Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Hoping to hold onto him, she ... See full summary »

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau
Action | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A graying black-clad swordsman slays palace guards, as he flies through the air to an uncertain purpose. Centuries (or is it days?) later, gun-toting, Armani-clad super policemen -- Hong ... See full summary »

Directors: David Lai, Corey Yuen
Stars: Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Aaron Kwok
City Hunter (1993)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Extremely silly comedy about a self-indulgent private investigator who winds up on a cruise ship full of rich patrons, gorgeous women, murderous terrorists, and scarce food.

Director: Jing Wong
Stars: Jackie Chan, Richard Norton, Joey Wang
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A master gambler loses his memory, and is befriended by a street hustler who discovers his supernatural gambling abilities.

Director: Jing Wong
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Andy Lau, Joey Wang
Fallen Angels (1995)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit but first he has to overcome his affections for his cool, detached partner. Thinking it's dangerous and improper to become involved with a ... See full summary »

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leon Lai, Michelle Reis, Takeshi Kaneshiro
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Filmed in New York, story of naive young woman from Hong Kong who goes to New York to study. Street-wise cabbie cousin takes care of her in the big city

Director: Mabel Cheung
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Cherie Chung, Danny Bak-Keung Chan
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: Hideki Takeuchi
Stars: Juri Ueno, Hiroshi Tamaki, Eita
Comedy | Action | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After police officer Paio is murdered, his soul cannot be at rest for his murder has been written off as a suicide. Therefore the heavens send him back to Earth as a spirit to find his '... See full summary »

Director: Sze Yu Lau
Stars: Stephen Chow, Bill Tung, Shui-Fan Fung
Another (2012)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After a chain of deaths at a junior high school, new transfer student Koichi Sakakibara (Kento Yamazaki) turns to a mysterious girl (Ai Hashimoto) who holds the key to the dark mystery. In ... See full summary »

Director: Takeshi Furusawa
Stars: Kento Yamazaki, Ai Hashimoto, Yoshihiko Hakamada
Judge! (2014)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After taking the blame for another disastrous advertising campaign, Ota Kiichiro is asked by his arrogant boss Otaki Ichiro to take his place as a judge at the world's biggest advertising ... See full summary »

Director: Akira Nagai
Stars: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Keiko Kitagawa, Etsushi Toyokawa
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Yoshiko Kawashima / Kam Bik-Fai
...
Fook
Tung-Shing Yee ...
Amakasu
Lawrence Ng ...
Lam
Ken Lo ...
Tanaka's Assistant
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Summy Antonio
Fang Bao
Idy Chan
Su-yee Chow
Biu Gam ...
(as Piao Chin)
Sze-ya Kao
Blackie Shou Liang Ko
Mei-Yee Sze
Ching Tien
Yin Tse
Edit

Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama | Romance | War

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

28 July 1990 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

The Last Princess of Manchuria  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Yoshiko Kawashima died at age 40 (in 1948). Anita Mui, who plays her in this movie also died at age 40 (in 2003). Mui was 27 when making this movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cai shu zhi heng sao qian jun (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Restrained biopic of Yoshiko Kawashima, Chinese princess-turned-Japanese spy
10 May 2015 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

I came to the film KAWASHIMA YOSHIKO (1990) after reading about the actual person in a 2008 novel by Ian Buruma called "The China Lover" and reading a review of a new biography of Kawashima entitled, "Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army," by Phyllis Birnbaum. I was somewhat disappointed in this movie because of the distance it keeps from its central character, who was a member of the Manchu royal family and a cousin of Pu Yi, the famous "Last Emperor." The narrative touches down briefly on highlights of Kawashima's life from childhood in 1913 and her youth in Japan and throughout the turmoil in China in the 1920s and the war with Japan in the 1930s, right up to her postwar trial and sentencing in 1948, but it offers little in the way of social and political context that would allow western viewers to understand this complicated woman and the turbulent times she lived in. I first watched the movie before reading Birnbaum's book, so I felt at a loss in some scenes. Re-watching the movie after reading the book certainly helped a great deal. But there's still a lot missing here and I wish there'd been a director in charge who was more passionate about the material. The script by Lillian Lee (based on her novel) has several good scenes, although it compresses and conflates characters and events and omits a lot and also creates an unlikely central romance for Kawashima.

I initially thought Anita Mui looked quite out of place in those ill-fitting military uniforms, but it turns out that her look actually resembles the real Kawashima's appearance in uniform, judging from the pictures provided in Birnbaum's book. Granted, Mui is very good at capturing Kawashima's essential vulnerability and I wish they'd given her more scenes where she got to convey that and open up to the audience more. She's very good in the few dramatic scenes she has, including her debate with a Chinese revolutionary, her retorts to the court during her postwar trial and her breakdown in her prison cell. I just wish more had been made of these scenes. They seem curiously abrupt. Still, the film never quite captures the mercurial personality of the real woman and the true extent of her gender-bending, at least as conveyed in first-person accounts in Birnbaum's book and its photos of Kawashima.

There is an attempt to give Kawashima a romantic through-line with the recurring character of Ah Fook, aka Cloud, a Chinese opera performer played by Hong Kong star Andy Lau. Ah Fook is intimately connected with Chinese student radicals and participates in various anti-Japanese revolutionary activities. Kawashima, who actively opposed anti-Japanese guerrillas, only seems drawn to Fook because he bravely rescued her purse from a band of thieves in an early scene set in Shanghai. He hates her pro-Japanese stance but succumbs to her charms at various points. At some point there is a debate between them about the moral implications of her behavior, which led to her trial for treason after the war, and she actually delivers a stirring defense of her positions. (Alas, the film only hints at the extent of Japanese atrocities in China during the war.) Given Kawashima's tendency to associate exclusively with powerful men, I doubt that a relationship with a man like Ah Fook ever existed and I suspect it was created for the film to somewhat humanize Kawashima by giving at least a hint of a sincere romantic alliance. (To be fair, Birnbaum's book does mention that Kawashima befriended her favorite Chinese Opera performers in Shanghai.) The relationship with Ah Fook tends to shift the balance away from the more important relationships in her life, including that with her discarded first love, Masahiko Amakasu (Derek Yee), a Japanese officer who, in real life, headed the Manchukuo Film Association and supervised the production of Japanese wartime propaganda films, and Commander Tanaka, a high-ranking officer in the Kwantung Army who was Kawashima's protector and "godfather." Curiously, Amakasu is hardly mentioned in Birnbaum's book and it's not clear if he ever met Kawashima. (He's a major character in Buruma's novel and he appears with Kawashima in scenes in Bernardo Bertolucci's THE LAST EMPEROR.) In fact, he's used here as a stand-in for Toru Yamaga, a Japanese army officer stationed in China who, in Birnbaum's book, was Kawashima's first love and was ultimately treated by her the way Amakasu is here. I'm not sure why the screenwriter chose to substitute Amakasu for Yamaga. On the other hand, although the relationship with Tanaka is lightly touched on, it is treated accurately.

Hopefully, another, better film can be made from the life of this extraordinary figure and the controversy she created wherever she went, perhaps using Birnbaum's book as a source. Also, for a film about a collision of cultures, the decision to cast Chinese actors in all the Japanese roles and do the entire soundtrack in Cantonese, even in scenes where Japanese would surely be spoken, tends to offset the historical authenticity which the filmmakers made such an impressive effort to achieve in other aspects of the production, including sets, locations, costumes, props, period soundtrack songs, and dress extras. When Hollywood committed a similar casting offense in 2005 with MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, there was quite a backlash. (For the record, the Fortune Star DVD edition of this film also includes a Mandarin track.)

Kawashima is also a character in LADY KARATE (aka SPY RING AT KOKURYUKAI, 1976), the aforementioned THE LAST EMPEROR (1987), and the Hong Kong action film, THE RAID (1991), which was co-directed by Tsui Hark. I've reviewed LADY KARATE and THE RAID on IMDb and I recently re-watched THE LAST EMPEROR. Despite my criticisms, the Anita Mui film offers the most in-depth (and accurate) cinematic depiction of Kawashima Yoshiko so far.


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This complicated true story... Seaweed-2
Was Yoshiko Kawashima the inspiration for Brigitte Lin's character in... bcamphome
Another film on Kawashima Yoshiko... bcamphome
A difficult film to review... bcamphome
Discuss The Last Princess of Manchuria (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?