7.4/10
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2 user 5 critic

Street Angel (1937)

Malu tianshi (original title)
In old Shanghai, two sisters, a prostitute and a singer, tried to escape from the local scoundrels with the help of a trumpet player and a newspaper seller.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Zhao ...
Xiao Chen (Musician)
Heling Wei ...
Lao Wang (Newspaper Seller)
Xuan Zhou ...
Jiting Wang ...
Qin Player
Zhicheng Feng ...
Gangster
Yiting Chen ...
Henchman
Qianli Qian ...
Barbershop Worker
Chaofu Tang ...
Barbershop Owner
Jun Shen ...
Young Peddler
Yuanyuan Qiu ...
Unemployed Person
Meishao Yuan ...
Young Widow
Huishen Zhao ...
Xiao Yun (Prostitute)
Jinyu Liu ...
Brothel Madam
Jing Sun ...
Lawyer
Jun Xie ...
Misfortunate Man
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Storyline

In old Shanghai, two sisters, a prostitute and a singer, tried to escape from the local scoundrels with the help of a trumpet player and a newspaper seller.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

7 December 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Les anges du boulevard  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in Electric Shadows (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Warmth and playfulness in an early Chinese classic
1 September 2003 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Two sisters having fled from the war in northeast China come to Shanghai looking for a better life. Xiao Yun (Zhao Huishen) is forced into prostitution while her younger sister Xiao Hong (Zhou Xuan) becomes a singer and dancer at a local brothel. Though enslaved to the musician Wang, they are aided by the friendship of a young street musician Xiao Chen (Zhao Dan) and his friend Xiao Wang (Wei Heling) who help the sisters fend off the brothel owner and local thugs. Considered an early Chinese classic, Yuan Muzhi's lyrical Street Angel depicts the daily struggles of those who made up Shanghai's underclasses in 1935 at the time of the Japanese occupation: the street walkers, news vendors, fruit sellers, musicians, barbers, and the like. The film blends comedy with social realism and shows Chinese women as victims of a ruthlessly commercial society.

Unlike Flowers of Shanghai by Hou Hsiao-hsien which depicted the world of the courtesan behind closed doors, Street Angel shows the open world of Shanghai's street prostitutes, girls that have no status, are bought and sold, and allowed little individuality. Like the prostitutes in Hou's film, however, they are equally entrapped and their only escape is by marrying or running away. In spite of its theme, the film is never heavy handed but comes alive through the superb acting of Chen and the magnificent singing of then 18-year old Zhou Xuan. Zhou's songs and Chen's trumpet playing and magic tricks give the film a warmth and playfulness that transcends the bleak conditions and makes it universal in its appeal.


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