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Josef von Sternberg
George K. Arthur,
At the Edmonton Film Festival, I caught the second screening of this hidden gem. The print was unrestored, so I was pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous it looked on the big screen in Shawscope. Beautiful bright colours and clarity.
The English Language title is "Temptress of a Thousand Faces". Directed by Cheng Chang-ho, best known for "Five Fingers of Death", this movie is not so much a martial arts movie as more of a crazy Hong Kong crime comedy. The aesthetic of the movie is very, very 60s, and I mean that in the best possible way. However, this movie might be a little too campy for some.
The story is very multi-layered, believe it or not. It's a love story and a crime story laced with themes of morality and identity crises, but the Three Stooges style comedy and ridiculous action scenes take away all pretension.
The premise: An underworld leader, who uses masks and other forms of deception, is wreaking havoc on Hong Kong and aspires for world domination. Through a series of unfortunate events, a young woman is caught up in the crimes of this "Temptress" and ends up being hunted down by both law-keepers and law-breakers. Sounds familiar, and it is, but the execution of this premise make the movie much more than just a standard episode of "Batman" with Adam West.
The chances of one getting to see this movie are quite slim, so if you do get the chance, seize it. "Temptress of a Thousand Faces" is a rare treat.
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