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A Spray of Plum Blossoms/Two Stars in the Milky Way


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Product Details

  • Actors: Zhanfei Gao, Yan Jin, Jiqun Liu, Juanjuan Ye, Luolian Zi
  • Directors: Dongshan Shi, Wancang Bu
  • Writers: Shilin Zhu, Yicuo Huang
  • Producers: Ming-Yau Lo
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Cinema Epoch
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000RXZIGG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,674 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Spray of Plum Blossoms/Two Stars in the Milky Way" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A double feature of two rare Chinese classic silent films, with newly recorded music scores by Toshiyuki Hiraoka.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Underwood on September 28, 2007
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The two Chinese silent films on this DVD are of a high standard, and being made at the very end of the silent era, they have a well-developed style much on the same level as American and European films of the late 1920s. This is especially evident in "Two Stars in the Milky Way" which opens with two very artistic scenes, showing that Chinese filmmakers had a good eye for photography and cinematography in general. The settings are basically contemporary and might surprise some viewers due to their modern look at times, but they also have an unmistakable Chinese character. The very pleasant musical accompaniment is also an interesting blend of Western orchestral music and oriental sounds, and is very well suited to the scenes in both films. Unfortunately, the picture quality of "A Spray of Plum Blossoms" leaves a lot to be desired, having a number of scenes too light, as well as jumping in and out of focus, and intertitle frames cropped so that often not everything is easily legible. All these drawbacks make this excellent film somewhat annoying to watch, but thanks to the music and an overall good and interesting story, I still found it worthwhile viewing. In fact, the DVD is good value because the second film, "Two Stars in the Milky Way" has very good picture quality throughout, and is a delight to watch. It is a nice and simple story about a country girl who is discovered by a film crew because of her beautiful singing voice. When she becomes a popular actress and develops a romance with her leading man, things seem like a fairytale for her until his secret is revealed.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cody K. on March 30, 2009
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[This review refers to the Cinema Epoch DVD of 'A Spray of Plum Blossoms' and 'Two Stars in the Milky Way'.]

I bought this DVD recently out of curiosity after reading Barbara Burkowsky's excellent review. Both films sounded interesting, and both are, but I'm completely enthralled by 'Two Stars in the Milky Way'. I'm surprised that it's not much better known -- it's an excellent silent film, head and shoulders above many. It's a very late silent (1931), and one that was apparently sent to theaters as a hybrid of silent and sound. (There's a scene in which a master of ceremonies, about to roll a scene from a film, engages a radio to provide sound for the song in the film; and though whatever soundtrack there originally was is not included on this disc, there are credits for sound among the opening titles.)

Polished, sophisticated, and in every aspect a world-class entry, it's a delight throughout, and very much up to the standards of European or American films of the time.

'Two Stars' is greatly enhanced by Toshiyuki Hiraoka's minimalist score, composed largely of synthetic small-orchestra-style variations on a handful of recurring themes, which create a meditative, dreamlike mood throughout the film, breaking out of the pattern only occasionally where the film calls for scene-specific music, such as in the scene of a tango exhibition performed by the two stars. But even then the music remains dreamy -- it's closer to a waltz than a tango, but somehow, it still works beautifully with the dancers' elegant performance.

The entire cast deliver fine, natural, "modern" performances without much trace of the over-emoting often associated with silent films.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Gomer on March 7, 2008
Barbara's review is comprehensive as to story details and the technical quality of these films. I'm a big fan of silent films and I enjoyed these, the only two examples of silent Chinese cinema I've ever seen. However, the poor video quality will put most viewers off. The stories are typical melodramas for the period and reasonably well acted. The DVD case gives the running times of the films as 100 minutes each. Actual running times are 86 minutes for Two Stars in the Milky Way, and 112 minutes for A Spray of Plum Blossoms.
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I purchased this DVD to see one of the very few film adaptations of Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona. This Chinese silent film takes a very interesting approach. Set in a militarized then-modern China, the film says much more about the time and place in which it is set than the themes of friendship and love emphasized in the original play. The Speed/ Launce characters are conflated into one character and much of the slapstick and burlesque qualities of the play are omitted. The two female leads are exceptional and the quality is good considering it is remastered from the original 1931 film.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Jeffers on May 31, 2010
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Sunday May 30, 4:30pm, The Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema (Nesholm Family Lecture Hall), Seattle

Friday July 16, 2:00pm, The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, The Castro Theater, San Francisco

Two military cadets, friends since childhood, graduate and return home to pursue their lives. Hu Luting/Valentine (Jin Yan) diligently follows his career, while Bai Lede/Proteus (Wang Chilong) is infatuated with Valentine's sister Hu Zhuli/Julia (Ruan Ling-Yu).

Produced by the Lianhua Film Company as a showcase for it's two biggest stars, Yi Jian Mei/A Spray of Plum Blossoms (1931), is to date the only screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ambitious in scope, the treatment is more melodrama than farce with thrilling equestrian elements, swashbuckling banditry, fickle ardor and set design reminiscent of Erté. Presenting a challenge to viewers, the film suffers from its technical shortcomings, while surviving print quality and preservation is only fair at best. But where film surpasses the stage, by the intimacy of the close-up and the breadth of landscape, Yi Jian Mei is magnificent. Ohhhhhh, but where is that dog?

Post-show update May 30, 2010 -
Richie Meyer primed the house with a superlative introduction. Donald Sosin was predictably great. His Wagnerian outburst in the pre-show demo was hilarious and the film seemed to translate well to the enthusiastic contemporary audience. The big surprise was the print. The most significant condition related issues I had previously noticed exist in the poor quality of the commercially available dvd. The exteriors are the best part of this film.
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