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HK Film Archive's "Morning Matinee" to screen films featuring radio stars
     The flourishing of radio broadcasting in the 1950s and '60s created numerous radio stars such as Li Ngaw, Siu Sheung, Stephen Chan Chu-kwong, Wan Fong-ling and Tam Bing-man, some of whom became so popular they even crossed over to films. To showcase their charms on the big screen, the Hong Kong Film Archive of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will present "Broadcast Heroes Turned Screen Stars" from January to March next year as part of the "Morning Matinee" series, which is held at 11am on Fridays. In addition, Siu (January 6 and 27), Chan (February 3) and Tam (March 3) will attend the post-screening talks to meet the audiences.
     Li Ngaw was a renowned writer and actor of "Airwave Novels" and worked as a radio broadcaster in Guangzhou, Macau and Hong Kong over three decades. The "Airwave Novels" scripted by Li were often adapted into films, including "The Renewal of an Old Garden" (1955), "The Hypocritical Heart" (1955) and "Painstaking Lovers" (1964), which will be screened. Apart from acting in the former two films, Li also narrated the stories as he did on air, impressing the audiences with his vivid narration. "Painstaking Lovers" is the onscreen collaboration of Li with other radio stars, namely Tang Kei-chen, Chung Wai-ming and Wan.

     Li's wife Siu Sheung is well-known for her solo "ethical fiction" broadcast on radio. Although her acting debut in "Song of the Exile' (1990) was brief, her ringing voice brings to one's mind her radio performances from those early days.

     Stephen Chan entered the broadcasting world in 1957 as a television programme host who was also involved in scripting and translation work. He found fame after the success of the radio drama "The Love of a Rickshaw Coolie". The original broadcasting cast subsequently joined forces to co-finance and co-star in the film adaptation of the same title in 1965. Chan plays a rickshaw driver in this acting debut and gives a lively performance. The film offers a rare glimpse of the Hong Kong cityscape in the '60s seen through Chan's perspective as he travels around the city with his rickshaw.

     Dubbed "The Queen of Broadcasting", Wan Fong-ling began her broadcasting life at the age of 12. Her gentle and richly emotional voice moved listeners across the city. Wan partnered with Woo Fung in the bitter romance "The Unaffected Love" (1965), in which she exhibits her Cantonese opera singing talent on screen. In "Broadcast Queen" (1967) Wan, with her gifted and heavenly voice, is discovered and groomed by Lui Kay to become the queen of broadcasting. The scene-stealing performances of comedy stars like Cheng Kwan-min, Yu Ming, Lydia Sum and Nancy Sit Kar-yin, turn the film into a cheerful and charming piece. Later, in the breakthrough performance of her screen persona, Wan plays an heiress who has affairs with various handsome young men in "Red Light, Green Light" (1969).

     Known as "The Prince of Broadcasting", Tam Bing-man has been performing on and off the screen for more than six decades. He started his career as an announcer at the age of 18 and remains active nowadays as a dubbing artist. He acted in over 80 films and recorded 30 albums. "The Modification of a Country Girl" (1964) is Tam's first foray into acting, in which his kind and handsome persona drew much popularity. In his second film, "Farming is My Profession" (1965), Tam gives a convincing performance in a complex role which requires him to transform from a hard-working family man to a man destroyed by temptation. Tam co-stars with Tina Ti in the comedy classic "Lucky Seven" (1970) alongside a star-studded cast including Cheng Kwan-min, Helena Law Lan and Lee Hong-kum. Though seen as an erotic work at the time, the film ends on a moralistic note that teaches one to be a "good person". "The Country Bumpkin" (1974) and "Enjoy Longevity - 300 Years" (1975) are representative of Tam's acting career. In the former he plays a rural man starting a new life in the big city, while in the latter he is offered two wishes as a reward for setting a wizard free.

     Except for "Song of the Exile", which is in Cantonese, English, Japanese and Mandarin, all films are in Cantonese. "Song of the Exile" and "Red Light, Green Light" have Chinese and English subtitles, while the other films are without subtitles. The programme is guest-curated by Yuen Tsz-ying.

     Tickets priced at $30 are now available at URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk). For credit card telephone bookings, please call 2111 5999. For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp/en_US/web/fpo/programmes/2011mm/film.html.
Ends/Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:00
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Film still of "The Renewal of an Old Garden" (1955).
Film still of "The Love of a Rickshaw Coolie" (1965).
Film still of "Red Light, Green Light" (1969).
Film still of "Lucky Seven" (1970).
Film still of "Enjoy Longevity - 300 Years" (1975).