HK Cinema - 1949

The Chinese civil war comes to an end with the Communists as the victors and the Nationalists driven to Taiwan. This clearly had a huge impact on what was left of the film industry in Shanghai. Fearing for their lives and their freedom, there was a large exodus of artists to HK. This was the final blow to the Shanghai film industry and allowed HK to become the main center for Chinese films.
In HK it was almost as if two film industries existed side by side. The Shanghai contingent was producing more lavish films in Mandarin while the Cantonese group was making smaller more social type films. Between both camps though they were producing over 200 films a year through the 1950’s. And there were all kinds of films – from historical dramas to costumed fantasies to comedy to kung-fu to musicals to socially relevant films.
In some of Teo’s descriptions of the films, they sound absolutely fascinating. For example I would love to see a film like Mambo Girl that combines the musical strains of Chinese opera and Hollywood to produce a gloriously ornate Mandarin musical that Teo calls “the first HK musical masterpiece”.