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The Phantom Lover (1995)

Ye ban ge sheng (original title)
In 1930's China, an opera troupe arrives at an abandoned theater, haunted by the spectral figure of it's previous owner - a once great opera singer - who now seeks to turn the company's young leading men into a great star like himself.

Director:

Ronny Yu

Writers:

Roy Szeto, Raymond Bak-Ming Wong (as Bak-Ming Wong) | 1 more credit »
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6 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Leslie Cheung ... Song Danping
Chien-Lien Wu ... Yun Yan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Xiaolin Geng Xiaolin Geng
Lei Huang ... Wei Qing
Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok ... (as Philip Kwok)
Lin Liu ... Lan Di
Tianchi Liu Tianchi Liu
Fong Pau ... Zhao
Roy Szeto Roy Szeto ... Zhao Jum
Bing Wang Bing Wang
Ruoli Wang Ruoli Wang
Lan Xie Lan Xie
Yan Xie Yan Xie ... Troupe performer
Liwen Yu Liwen Yu ... Agent in 1926
Yankai Yu ... Master Zhao's henchman
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Storyline

In 1936 China, a nearly bankrupt drama troupe starts performing in a burned-out theater where the great actor Song Danping was killed. One of the actors, Wei Qing, starts seeing strange apparitions that could revive his troupe and deliver him to the same fate as Song Danping. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong | Singapore

Language:

Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

22 July 1995 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

The Phantom Lover See more »

Filming Locations:

Beijing, China

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This epic Leslie Cheung vehicle is one of the most elaborate and expensive Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions for its time. The time-tested material was adapted from classic horror-mystery writer Szema Wei-Bang's Chinese interpretation of "The Phantom of the Opera". Curiously "Phantom Lover" is the fourth screen remake of this classic tragedy/love story with a screen lineage dating back to the early days of pre-World War II Shanghai film studios. In modern Hong Kong cinema, the last telling of 'Ye ban ge sheng' prior to Ronny Yu's version was produced over 30 years ago by none other than Sir Run Run Shaw in his lavish black and white widescreen adaptation in "The Mid-nightmare" starring Golden Age screen idols Betty Loh-Ti (Love Eterne) and Chao Lei (Kingdom & The Beauty) in the lead roles. That version was released in two parts in 1962 and 1963 respectively. See more »

Connections

Remake of Song at Midnight - Part I (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Lose You Always
Lyrics by Man-Ting Lee
Music & Performed by Leslie Cheung
Arranged by Chris Babida
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent, absolutely magnificent
5 March 2005 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

THE PHANTOM LOVER (Ye Ban Ge Sheng)

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: DTS

China, 1936: An impoverished acting troupe restores a ruined theatre with the help of a mysterious figure who haunts the backstage area, reopening old conflicts with local villains who want the theatre to remain closed forever.

The late and much-lamented teen idol Leslie Cheung toplines Ronny Yu's superb Gothic melodrama, a uniquely Chinese reinterpretation of Gaston Leroux's 'The Phantom of the Opera'. Cheung plays a famed actor in 1920's China whose affair with the daughter (Jacklyn Wu) of a scheming industrialist is opposed by their respective families, culminating in a terrible disaster that consumes the magnificent theatre in which Cheung made his fortune. Ten years later, an impoverished theatre troupe restores the now-derelict building, and the principal actor (Huang Lei, from Chen Kaige's LIFE ON A STRING) finds Cheung living amongst the ruins, a phantom-like recluse who hides his disfigured face from the world which once adored him. But the villainous factions which drove the ill-fated lovers apart are still active, and history begins to repeat itself, with potentially tragic consequences...

THE PHANTOM LOVER ranks alongside John Woo's BULLET IN THE HEAD (1990) as one of the crowning achievements of Hong Kong cinema. With spectacular Gothic sets designed by the late Eddie Ma and swooping camera-work by world-class cinematographer Peter Pau (whose expansive images demonstrate the full potential of the wide Panavision frame), this sublime masterpiece represents a sensational marriage of old-fashioned storytelling and cinematic technique. The fast-moving narrative is heightened by director Yu's operatic film-making style, a style he perfected two years earlier in the acclaimed fantasy THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR (1993), providing a near-perfect synthesis of plot, characterization and technical virtuosity. The script (by Roy Szeto, Raymond Wong and director Yu) is essentially a reworking of SONG OF MIDNIGHT (1937), an early effort by pioneering Chinese horrormeister Ma-xu Weibang, though Yu's film emphasizes atmosphere and melodrama over outright horror, and the film's central section - the heartbreaking disintegration of Cheung's relationship with Wu - is played to perfection by an attractive cast, underscored by Chris Babida's melancholy score. The only false note is sounded by Cheung's contribution to the soundtrack, a handful of feeble songs which fail to convey an appropriate sense of heartache and tragedy. Otherwise, this is the best adaptation of Leroux's novel to date, a shining example of Pure Cinema. Original title: YAU BOON GOH SING (Cantonese) or YE BAN GE SHENG (Mandarin).

NB. The film was recorded in sync-sound (a rarity for HK movies at the time) with the actors speaking Mandarin, but it was dubbed into Cantonese for domestic theatrical release. However, most DVD versions contain the original soundtrack, along with its dubbed alternative.

(Mandarin dialogue)


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