Director: Hoh Gin Yip
Chan, Lui Kei, Petrina Fung Bo-bo, Ha Ping, Lydia Shum
Publisher: Winson; Format: VCD, DVD
English subtitles: Yes
Full credits and synposis from the HKFA online catalog
A woman runs a restaurant
together with her two daughters, the older Suk-lan (Connie Chan) and
the younger Suk-fan (Petrina Fung Bo-bo). When a relative introduces
the rich and eligible Tsi-min (Lui Kei) to Suk-lan, it’s love at first
sight, but Tsi-min’s mother, at least in the beginning, isn’t so eager
to let her son become intimate with a mere waitress. Instead she tries
to hook him up with the very rich—and very fat—Ting (Lydia Shum), who
has just returned to Hong Kong from Sidney after graduation. Tsi-min
doesn’t like her choice, so at the first opportunity he introduces Suk-lan
to his mother. Even she has to agree with him: Suk-lan really is a very
beautiful and polite girl. Everything’s fine until one day when Suk-lan’s
sister spots their mother entering a sketchy building in one of the city’s
worst neighborhoods. The two sisters try at first to reassure themselves,
reminding each other that their mother gives ikebana lessons every Saturday.
Maybe that’s what she does in the building. But then Suk-lan decides to
find out for herself; she follows her mother and discovers something decidedly
unpleasant. And even if it were something that she and her sister could
bear, having a mother with shady dealings in the bad part of town is not
the best thing when one is planning a marriage into high society.
In director Hoh Gin Yip’s films there is often a parent
or adult who is by convention meant to set a good example for the
younger generation. This person represents an indisputable authority,
especially on moral matters; but as we discover later, he or she has
a dubious past, frequently much worse than the small infractions of morality
for which the sons and daughters are blamed. In this context, the choice
of Ha Ping as the mother with a checkered past who raises two daughters
by herself is absolutely perfect. Not particularly good-looking, but always
passionate and with an unforgettable scratchy voice, this actress has so
often played a wasted—even violent—yet always big-hearted woman, that when
she arrived at the end of the sixties to play this role in
Incredible Rumor, she had such an on-screen past that as soon
as she appears, you immediately anticipate the unfolding of some uncomfortable
Perfect too is Connie Chan, but for the opposite reason:
her characters have always been so responsible, so irrepressible and
so full of positive energy, that as soon as she appears you know that
she will try with all her strength to right every wrong. At her side
stands Lui Kei, who can’t avoid his characteristic moments of rage;
but for once, in his perpetual role as the rich, handsome and sometimes
spoiled boy, he has the guts to put aside all moral issues and simply tries
to discover what’s going on with his fiancée’s mother, not to condemn
her but simply to find a solution. Finally, let’s not forget Petrina
Fung Bo-bo, who doesn’t have a strong presence but surely has the best
scene: a wild dance with a guy during a party that is entertaining, funny
and very groovy. Quite the dancer, Petrina is delightful to watch, with
her pigtails and green shoes!
Beside the performances, Incredible Rumor is also
well made: for example, the use of voice over to provide sharp irony
(Lui Kei commenting to himself about Lydia Shum’s “qualities”) and
the use of a split screen to present a flashback. All in all, it’s a
very satisfying movie, even if the characters do lack a bit of depth,
something that seems to be missing in Hoh Gin Yip’s other films (Four
Darling Daughters, for instance). Considering that it was made in
1968, when Cantonese cinema was entering a difficult period of change
before its temporary demise in 1971, Incredible Rumor manages to
be entertaining without being mired by nonsense, silly songs, shocking
situations and good performers stuck with bad scripts.
Lui Kei would rather stay a
bachelor then marry Lydia Shum.
On the other hand, Connie would make
a perfect wife.
Fung Bo-bo gets down and shows her
Looking forward to a life spent together....
But will her mother’s secret get in
Crushed and forlorn, Connie has lost
all faith in her mother.
But Lui Kei is determined to find out
the facts behind the terrible rumor.
In the end, happiness prevails as Connie
and Lui Kei get married with his mother’s blessing.