Based on the mid-eighteenth century novel by Cao Xueqin, Beijing's CCTV's version of "A Dream in Red Mansions" (aka Dream of the Red Chamber) is known by many to be the ultimate and best ... See full summary »
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1987  
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Jie Deng ...
 Wang Xifeng (35 episodes, 1987)
Feiqiang Ouyang ...
 Jia Baoyu (34 episodes, 1987)
Xiaoxu Chen ...
 Lin Daiyu (32 episodes, 1987)
Ting Li ...
 Grandma Jia (31 episodes, 1987)
Xianzhen Zhou ...
 Madam Wang (30 episodes, 1987)
Mei Yuan ...
 Xi Ren, Maid (28 episodes, 1987)
Li Zhang ...
 Xue Baochai (28 episodes, 1987)
Zheng Zheng ...
 Yuanyang (28 episodes, 1987)
Wenying Dongfang ...
 Jia Tanchun (27 episodes, 1987)
Lin Shen ...
 Miss Ping'er (27 episodes, 1987)
Meng-quan Sun ...
 Madam Li Wan (26 episodes, 1987)
Ze-hong Hu ...
 Jia Xichun (25 episodes, 1987)
Ming-hui Xia ...
 Madam Xing (21 episodes, 1987)
Jing-lin Zhang ...
 Qing Wen, Maid (21 episodes, 1987)
Hong-liang Gao ...
 Jia Lian (20 episodes, 1987)
Cai-hong Sun ...
 Zhou Rui's wife (19 episodes, 1987)
Gui-e Wang ...
 Miss You (19 episodes, 1987)
Li-xia Xu ...
 Zi Juan, Maid (19 episodes, 1987)
Yi Mou ...
 Jia Yingchun (18 episodes, 1987)
Xiaozhen Guo ...
 Shi Xiangyun (17 episodes, 1987)
Liu-liu Han ...
 She Yue, Maid (16 episodes, 1987)
Jun-yong Yang ...
 Jia Rong (16 episodes, 1987)
Feng-ying Li ...
 Aunt Xue (15 episodes, 1987)
Jia-qi Ma ...
 Jia Zheng (15 episodes, 1987)
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Storyline

Based on the mid-eighteenth century novel by Cao Xueqin, Beijing's CCTV's version of "A Dream in Red Mansions" (aka Dream of the Red Chamber) is known by many to be the ultimate and best adaptation of the story either on TV or film. It is a story about the tragic love of Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu, and the prosperity and decline of the four notable feudal ruling-class families of Jia, Shi, Wang and Xue. Daiyu is a beautiful and talented girl, but prone to ill health. The intelligent and carefree Baoyu, nonetheless, shows love toward her over the years and puts up with her sensitivity and ill-tempered personality. They, along with their family-favored and tactful cousin Xue Baochai, reside in the Grand View Garden. The garden was built to honor the visit of Baoyu's sister, Imperial Consort Jia Yuanchun, whose installment marked the height of the families' status, prosperity and power. This story also gives praise to the work and revolts of the many servants and nurses in the Grand View ... Written by Oliver Chu

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love | based on novel | See All (2) »

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Drama

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1987 (China)  »

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A Dream in Red Mansions  »

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User Reviews

 
The best Dream of the Red Chamber ever - unlikely to be surpassed
29 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

Many people who have read the novel "Dream of the Red Chamber" will know that it is the definitive Chinese classical novel. Cao Xueqin's 18th-century novel was written in blood and tears, and even though the book was never completed, what remains is enough for most scholars to call it China's greatest novel ever. It has given rise to numerous opera adaptations and films, and here, a Mainland Chinese TV series.

Granted, the book is extremely long, and no film except the longest can do its story justice. However, a TV series is something different. This 1987 TV version can lay claim, after more than two decades, as perhaps (in my honest opinion) still the finest TV series ever produced by Mainland China. It really lifts TV series (usually the domain of soap operas and clichéd dramas) to the realm of art. The authenticity and the precision the producers, set decorators, art designers and the director have in realizing the classic novel is simply astonishing. The entire Prospect Garden was built from scratch and actresses were handpicked from thousands of applicants to choose the ones deemed most suitable for the roles. The actresses lived together for a year in a cloistered environment, underwent extensive training to learn how to walk and conduct themselves, to laugh, drink tea and to read the novel. The hairstyles, the make-up, the clothing and the sets were all meticulously researched. The result is a Dream of the Red Chamber series that will unlikely ever to be matched, let alone surpassed.

Are there any flaws to this TV series? Yes, but they are almost all technical. Back in 1987, the best broadcast recordings were still a far cry from what HD can do nowadays. Some might cavil at the fact the adaptation is in 4:3 rather than 16:9. Another more likely criticism (the only probable shortcoming of the series) is that it really is still too short - at 36 episodes, it adapts almost all the major incidents in the earlier 80 chapters of Cao Xueqin's novel, but for the later (probably 28 chapters), it does not use the Gao E and Cheng Weiyuan version. The screenwriters extrapolate the story's ending, but do so in only 6 episodes or so. Considering it takes about 30 episodes to cover 80 chapters, it should take about 11 episodes instead of the 6 to cover the remaining 28 chapters.

But still, this is a minor quibble. I believe there are English subtitled DVDs of this marvellous adaptation to be found. Buy them, and enjoy this first-rate adaptation of a classic Chinese novel.


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