Ah Gen’s mother died young, and the boy lives with his father, Hu Yuan, and a shrewish step-mother. Mrs. Hu #2 disapproves of her husband’s gambling, loafing, and fishing and is cruel to them both, sometimes spanking father and son and sending them to bed without supper. She also has a lover, the thuggish Li Cheng, who commits murder and plans to run away with Mrs. Hu, leaving her “turtle” of a husband to take the rap. Who will save poor daddy! Heroic son to the rescue!
This slapstick narrative film draws on stock (misogynistic) comic themes, such as the hen-pecked husband, a role that character actor Liu Jiqun was to reprise in many films for United Photoplay Service (Lianhua) in the 1930s, such as Playthings (1933). Be sure to catch the dramatic cliffside see-saw stunt during the final finale.
Pa laopo, youming Erzi yingxiong 怕老婆, 又名兒子英雄
Original English title: Poor Daddy
Directed by Dumas Young (Yang Xiaozhong 楊小仲)
Screenplay by C.C. Chen (Chen Zhiqing 陳趾青)
Cinematography by T.K. Lee (Li Wenguang 李文光)
Art direction by James Wan (Wan Guchan 萬古蟾)
Produced by the Great Wall Film Studio (Shanghai) 上海長城畫片公司
Cast: Zhang Zhede, Liu Jiqun, Xu Jingzhen, Gao Weilian, Hong Jingling, He Zhigang, He Meiying, Wang Zhengqing
Silent film with bilingual title cards
Original English title cards by C.Y. Sun (Sun Yu 孫瑜)
English subtitles translated by Christopher Rea
Princess Iron Fan 鐵扇公主 (1941)
Monkey and companions try to outwit a demon's wife in this animated feature film, which adapts an episode from Journey to the West.
The Great Road 大路 (1934)
In this genre-bending romp, a band of road workers, aided by two women, build a great road to help China fight off invaders.
Playthings 小玩意 (1933)
Artisan toymakers struggling to survive amidst war and competition from big business.
The Peach Girl 桃花泣血記 (1931)
The Peach Girl co-stars Ruan Lingyu and Jin Yan as lovers in rural China tragically separated by social class.