Brian Camp's review (which see) supplies an adequate summary of the film's plot and correctly lauds its excellent cast, whose performances, however, often verge on the overcooked. The leading male character is a complete schmuck as far as his approach to his three "lady loves" is concerned. Somehow, each time he meets a new one, his "love" for the previous one seems to fade away. That such clueless behavior cannot lead to romantic success should not surprise anyone. The enduring, close friendship of lady-loves #1 and #2 that follows their desertion by this cad is quite touching, probably the best thing about this overlong, soapy, shaggy, Chinese dog.
Camp's review, however, says nothing about the film's most glaring omissions. The invasion of China by Imperial Japan was legendarily brutal, especially in its treatment of civilians. The film shows no instances of destruction of houses, villages, towns etc. and no scenes of torture, rape or execution of captives. Indeed, we never even see the invaders themselves! (Why? So as not to offend the regime of leftover war criminals that, by 1961, had become a firm U.S. ally?) Any hint of Chinese suffering comes to us second hand, at best. But the real falsity of this epic can be grasped by its principal omission. Imagine a war story of China in the 1930s and 1940s which never mentions the Communists! The flags that are shown being held aloft during the war's-end celebrations (1945) are those of "Nationalist" China, i.e., the flag of Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuomintang. How, then, did the Communist Party of China take power only four years later, precipitating the wholesale flight of Chiang & Co. to Taiwan? Anyone who knows the history of that era knows that the Kuomintang's defeat was due largely to their persistent unwillingness to fight the Japanese invaders, expending most of their energy instead on attacking the Communists, which allowed the latter to don the mantle of "the true Chinese patriots." To give the impression that the Nationalists defeated the Japanese invasion by their own efforts is to perpetrate a colossal, historical fraud, one that even a rabidly anti-Mao Hong Kong audience must have found hard to swallow.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?