Before becoming a film star in his brother Michael’s
films, Sam Hui had already established the film persona that was to remain
his for many years afterwards. Sam made four films for director Lo Wei
from 1973 to 1974 beginning with Back Alley Princes and then Tattooed Dragon,
Chinatown Capers and this film Naughty, Naughty. In the three films I have
seen – Back Alley Princes, Chinatown Capers and Naughty, Naughty – Sam
takes on the role of an irresponsible and irrepressible charmer with a
touch of larceny in his heart. In the end though he always does the right
Lo Wei was of course also responsible for bringing
Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan to the screen, but his directorial abilities
have often been criticized for their lack of innovation and flair – in
other words he has been labeled as a hack. Still, he was clearly someone
who could recognize talent even if he wasn’t necessarily the best at utilizing
it. Both Back Alley Princes and Chinatown Capers are enjoyable films in
my mind – the two co-stars, Sam and Polly Shang Kwan are extremely ingratiating,
but the films do feel poorly paced and unfocused at times. This film is
more of the same.
The main pleasure of this film is simply getting
to see a large number of actors on the screen – some in the early part
of their career, others that I have not seen enough of from this time period
and others whose faces are familiar but that I can’t put a name to. Otherwise,
the film wanders about like a stray dog in search of a meal. There is a
bit of charm to the film, but very little structure or energy and one eventually
continues watching only to see who will show up next.
Sam is living by his wits on the island of Macau
– trying by various means to come up with the money for his over due rent
at the hotel he is living at. He scams a wealthy businessman into buying
his “hotel” and intends to pay him back after winning at the casinos with
his sure-fire gambling method. Needless to say he is soon broke, skipping
town and leaving behind his girlfriend, Nora Miao.
In Hong Kong he soon comes across a chap trying
to kill himself because he doesn’t think his young wife, Tanny (Cleopatra
Jones and the Casino of Gold), loves him anymore. He would be right – as
she takes his money and leaves him for another man. He and Sam begin commiserating
with one another but eventually figure out a way to scam tourists by selling
them fake antiques. After one big sucker goes down they retire to a hostess
bar where Sam leaps upon the stage and belts out three songs – one an impersonation
of Tom Jones and another an Elvis grinding hips take off. Sam was of course
a big singing star at the time and he sings in a couple of his early films.
He also falls into the clutches of another Bruce Lee connection, Betty
Ting Pei, and goes back to her apartment for a little fun and frivolity.
Shades of Bruce! Here he hides from some of her other paramours – Wu Ma
and Lo Wei – in the bathroom.
Sam continues to con and scam his way around Hong
Kong until he finally scams the wrong people – triads – and is on the run
again – with about six hoodlums in close pursuit. Out of nowhere comes
Angela Mao playing herself to save the day by knocking them about in a
less than well-choreographed action sequence. Afterwards though, Sam goes
“They say you fake your kung fu” to which Angela replies “Not me”. It is
the little bits like this and Sam’s singing that make this a painless if
not particularly rewarding viewing experience.
My rating for this film: 6.0
Bruce Long - webmaster of the terrific Angela
Mao site - sent in these
identifications of actors in this film - thanks very much.
The suicidal guy is Lee Quin aka Li Quin aka
Lee Kwan aka Li Kun He was in tons of 70's films including The Big Boss,
Fury, The Invincible Eight (the cook), Thunderbolt,
Back Alley Princess (car driver), Fearless Hyena, Skyhawk (weak gambler)
The suicidal guy's wife, whom you call Tanny,
is Tien Ni aka Tien Niu. She was also in The Association (the widow) and
A Queen's Ransom (Wang Yu's sister, the bar girl).
Sam's skinny landlord at the beginning is Wei
Ping-Ao aka Ngai Ping Ngo He usually plays a slimy collaborator (Fist of
Duel with Devils).
The wife's boyfriend is Tony Liu, aka Lau Wing
He was in The Big Boss (the villain's son), all 3 other Bruce Lee films,
and Back Alley Princess (the lawyer).
The stout gambler boss is Fung Yi, aka Fung
Ngai He was in Fist of Fury (karate instructor), Back Alley Princess (one
of the 2 henchmen), Police Woman (police superintendent). He almost
always wears thick glasses or sunglasses.
When Sam and Lee move into the place where
other people live, the other tenants include:
Wang Lai aka Wong Loi (Angela's mother in When
Taekwando Strikes, foster mother in Broken Oath, kidnapped girl's mother
in Back Alley Princess).
Tien Feng (Lee Khan, head of household in Back
Alley Princess, Jackie Chan's father in Young Master and Dragon Lord)
Chin Ti (Sammo's friend in Hapkido, military
bully in Fate of Lee Khan, Bruce's co-worker in Way of the Dragon, he's
a squinty chubby-faced guy).