A horror-musical! Phantom of the Opera (1925) inspired Song at Midnight’s premise and the genre atmospherics, but this film has a lot more going on, including a convoluted revolutionary backstory for the maimed “phantom” and a violent love triangle. The marketing campaign claimed that the film scared a child to death.
Director: Ma-Xu Weibang
Date of release: February 20, 1937
Music: Sinn Sing Hoi (Xian Xinghai)
Lyrics: Tian Han
Cast: Hu Ping, Jin Shan, Zhou Wenzhu, Shi Chao, Xu Manli, Gu Menghe, Wang Weiyi
English subtitles translated by Christopher Rea
See the video lectures and other material on the Song at Midnight (1937) module of the Chinese Film Classics online course.
Song at Midnight (1937) is discussed in chapter 7 of the book Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1949.
Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1929 (2021), by Christopher Rea
An essential guide to the first golden age of Chinese cinema, offering detailed introductions to fourteen films.
An Amorous History of the Silver Screen (2005), by Zhang Zhen
The first sustained historical study of the emergence of cinema in China, An Amorous History of the Silver Screen is a fascinating narrative that illustrates the immense cultural significance of film and its power as a vehicle for social change.
Hua Mu Lan 木蘭從軍 (1939)
A young woman takes her father's place in the army and protects the Tang empire from invaders in this wartime adaptation of the Mulan legend.
Street Angels 馬路天使 (1937)
Zhou Xuan sings two hit songs in this social drama by experimental filmmaker Yuan Muzhi, costarring heartthrob Zhao Dan.