Over the past couple of days I have been nursing a strained knee ligament by lying about like an over ripe mango taking naps and watching movies and old Perry Mason episodes. It was finally time I thought to get to some of the racier Shaw Brothers films that I had picked up ages ago for days like this in which my brain was on official hold. It certainly helped with the naps.
It always feels more than a bit incongruous when the majestic Shaw Brother’s logo appears on the screen accompanied by the heralding trumpet blare only to be followed by scenes of frolicking women in the nude, but that was often the case beginning in the early 1970’s. Rules regarding on screen female nudity were eased considerably soon after the turn of the decade and the Shaw Brother’s happily jumped into the melee with a number of productions that were marketed as “mature content”. Interestingly, in Japan a similar trend was taking place with the growing popularity of the “pinku” genre, but the adult genre in Hong Kong never approached that of Japan’s in either imagination or excess and for the most part was very mild in comparison (even though full frontal nudity was allowed while in Japan it was not).
Many of Hong Kong’s films that fell into this category were puerile comedies or bland moral lessons and only a few had the hard edged gritty realism (i.e. “Kiss of Death”, “The Sexy Killer”) or simple audacity (i.e. “Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan”, “The Bamboo House of Dolls”) that has allowed them to withstand the test of time. Thirty years later most of these films seem hopelessly out of date with a shock and titillation value that is negligible. At the time though they were very popular and helped keep the Shaw Brothers afloat for a number of years. The films were not underground fare by any means and many of the actresses who dared to bare their assets became very popular starlets and the films sometimes had top directors such as Chor Yuen and Li Han Hsiang at the helm, but unfortunately most often it seems that Lu Chi was running the show. A popular actor in the 1960’s who was often teamed up with Connie Chan, he switched over to directing and made a boatload of adult films during the 1970’s into the early 80’s. Obviously, these must have made money but I can’t for the life of me understand why. He is in love with odd camera angles, has no sense of narrative and perhaps most damning makes sex and nudity seem boring, silly and claustrophobic.
Below are short reviews of four so called “adult” films that in truth range from ones with oodles of nudity to others that may have been intentionally titled to make one think so but are extremely sparing in this regards. As bad as one expects these to be, it’s still hard to resist films with idiotic titles like “Sexy Playgirls”, Sexy Career Girls”, “Sugar Daddies” and “The Foxy Ladies”! Sadly, three of the four turned out to be directed by Lu Chi and I believe all of these are available only on VCD which indicates that they aren’t selling too well – for good reasons.
The Foxy Ladies
Sexy Career Girls