Girl with the Long Hair

Perhaps almost thirty years ago in 1975 this film passed for titillating entertainment. Times have changed and so one has to take this into account when judging some of these Shaw films. With the visual sexual revolution of the past ten years when everyone is bombarded constantly by images of beautiful and scantily clad women in everything from advertising to magazine covers a film like this has certainly lost its prurient impact. The advent of the Internet and cable television has also allowed anyone to partake of steamy sex scenes to one’s heart content in the privacy of their homes. Last week I read that an artist was paid $20,000 to have sex video taped with a client and it will be displayed as an art performance piece in a gallery. The lines between mainstream and pornography are becoming bizarrely blurred and one has to wonder if not too far in the future it will become almost common for actresses to have real sex in films for the sake of art and more likely to jolt indifferent audiences by breaking taboos. There have been a few minor films that have played in Cannes that have already crossed this line with real actors having real sex on the screen.
All this is somewhat off the subject of this film review I suppose, but it is to put into context why so many of the Shaw erotic films feel so horribly dated and dull. The ones that have held up are the films that mix the nudity and sex with other exploitation elements and manage to create wonderfully gnarly films like The Sexy Killer, The Bamboo House of Dolls and The Kiss of Death that may seem cheesy now but still feed some guilty pleasure zone in our brains. They also had real stories that held our interest. The ones that feel like a week in purgatory are the sex comedies in which every male acts like a lecherous nine year old winking at the camera and after all the nudity the director feels obligated to send the audience a moral message. This film clearly falls into this latter category.
Directed by Ho Fan who as an actor is most famous for his role as the monk in the Shaw Brother’s Monkey King series and according to the biography on the DVD had films shown at Cannes! Not this one I would guess (unless that is real sex taking place in the film!). This is generally a chore to sit through – broad silly comedy that falls on its face like some of the pratfalls and a plot that generates absolutely no interest at all and doesn’t really exist for any reason other than getting women out of their clothes. But sit through it I did because well . . . I paid for it and there is of course Dana. I would venture that Dana (a.k.a. Shun Shuk-yee) didn’t attend many acting classes or spend much time learning her lines – no Stanislavsky acting techniques for her – but when she is on the screen she does manage to hold your attention – and all she has to do is purse her lips. She is a walking advertisement for female hormones.
Just how basic is the plot? Let’s see if this is basic enough. Frankie Wei and his wife check into a hotel in Pattaya Thailand for a little rest and relaxation. He runs into his male friend (played by Yu Yang) who immediately tries tempting him to have some fun away from his wife. Wei’s wife is blind to which his friend sympathetically says “how convenient for you!” – like everyone should be so lucky, but Wei is only too easily tempted to leave his wife alone – in fact two minutes after they check in – he tells her to wait for him – like she has a choice.
He soon spots Dana in the hotel and begins to chase after her – usually after knocking out his wife with sleeping pills at night. She plays coy as does the director as he makes the audience wait quite a while before he reveals her many charms – unlike being in a doctors office though, its worth the wait. His wife - played by Terry Liu – isn’t nearly so shy and she shows her stuff with the speed of runway model changing clothes. Liu was rather a well-known Shaw erotic star with her hard to forget roles as the camp lesbian security guard in Bamboo Dolls and as Princess Elzibub in Super Inframan. Often cast as the Chinese Dragon Lady type, she is actually fairly normal here though she does enjoy the company of a giant sponge in the bathtub. So there is lots of nudity and sexual situations, but it is an otherwise turn off the lights honey and go to sleep film.

My rating for this film: 4.0