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The Bride with White Hair
Special Edition, DVD Video
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Ronny Yu (The Bride of Chucky, The Phantom Lover, Warriors Of Virtue) directs this highly operatic fable based on a well-known martial arts novel with LESLIE CHEUNG (Temptress Moon, Farewell, My Concubine) and BRIGITTE LIN (Dragon Inn, Deadful Melody) as doomed lovers caught in the crossfire of warring clans. With beautiful cinematography by PETER PAU (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and over-the-top action sequences, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR is one of the best swordplay fantasy film ever made.
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Second, the DVD: Blech. A soft, non-anamorphic transfer of an ugly print. Gargantuan subtitles fill a big chunk of the image. Not a significant improvement over the Tai Seng US release laserdisc.
5 star movie, 2 star DVD.
First, a few words to prepare you for, or, alternately warn you away from, this film and others of its genre. The print itself looks bad--blurry, grainy, and with some snap, crackle, and pop. This is typical of HK films of this time period. For some reason they even looked like this when shown in theaters.
The subtitles are awful. Most Tai Seng releases re-use the subtitle translation that was inserted by the film studio at the time of production, which was mandated by British Colonial law. In Bride, the subtitles are not only poor translations, they are pasted over the picture of the film, instead of being under the letterbox, and obscure a lot of the shots. Also, at the time, most HK films were shot without sound, which was then recorded later and dubbed in, which produces a slightly off lip-syncing effect, and is very jarring if you are not used to it. For those considering the English dub, it isn't quite as bad as those 70's chop socky flicks they ran on Sundays on Channel 20, but it's close.
Lastly, in terms of caveats, this movie, like others at the time, was produced on a budget that wouldn't get a decent half-hour TV show made in the States. The special effects are crude, to say the least.
That's just the technical stuff that may keep you from enjoying this movie. The other news is that the story, characters, style of filming, costumes, and other assorted elements are so over-the-top and bizarre as to be almost insane by Western standards. However, that is part of this film's great and enduring charm!
The basic story is sort of a fairy tale or legend, and it needs to be viewed as such. The characters and situations are larger than life and in many cases, completely berserk. This film lacks the impressive martial-arts demonstrations of a Jet Lee film, but that doesn't mean it is not enjoyably action-packed. It is just stylized action of a different type. The action is frenetic, swirling, and at some points, ridiculously blunt and bloody.
One of the main joys of the movie is the incredibly stylized art direction: the the colors, lighting, sets, costumes, and camera compositions are delirious and other-worldly, and stunningly beautiful.
Finally, the sheer screen presence and charisma of the star, Brigitte Lin, is an indispensable element of this film's magic.
If you can properly prepare yourself for this exotic experience, you will find one of the true treasures of international cinema: a crazed fairy tale, with an operatic sensibility and an incomparably visceral mixture of the beautiful and grotesque.
Brigitte and Leslie had tremendous on-screen chemistry and the cinematography is breathtaking. This is not a karate chop and sock film. There are some short fight scenes. I feel sorry for people that did not understand this movie. It is a true ART film and displays Hong Kong filmmaking at it's best.
Most recent customer reviews
Not a good Wuxia movie.
Not a good romance movie.
What is it good as?
Not much besides extremely weird cinema.Read more
i would rate as 3.5 but that's not possible.