Hong Kong Nocturne ★★★★

Inoue Umetsugu directs a full-on Hollywood style musical starring Cheng Pei-pei, Lily Ho and Chin Ping as three sisters who work for their father, singing and dancing on-stage while he does magic tricks. The old guy keeps stealing their money to fund his relationship with a much younger woman (who is in fact Scarlet Streeting him) so they split off, each on their own professional and romantic journey. Lily Ho goes to Japan to get married, but her fiancé tries to cast her in porn instead, so she becomes a nightclub singer in love with a heartbroken trumpet player. Cheng Pei-pei falls in love with Peter Chen Ho's songwriting impresario and joins his musical troupe, only to retire when she gets pregnant. Chin Ping works herself to exhaustion trying to become a ballet dancer, and ends up falling in love as well with her teacher, Tien Feng.

More It's Always Fair Weather than On the Town, everywhere the women turn, things go badly. Neither work nor family nor love bring happiness, and with each iteration, the joyous refrain and gleeful dance of the title song becomes more devastating. This is high quality musical melodrama: Minnellian reds, pop art luminosity, the weirdness of so many familiar wuxia faces in a modern setting, and the rooftop from Mambo Girl remade in the Shaws' artificial city.

Sean liked this review