My Young Auntie (Cheung Booi) (1981)

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Released 14-Aug-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts Interviews-Cast-Kara Hui
Audio Commentary-Film Critics Andy Klein & Elvis Mitchell
Featurette-Interview with film scholars David Chute & Andy Klein
Trailer-My Young Auntie trailers, other Shaw Bros. films
Gallery-Photo
Notes-Commentator Biographies
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 114:19 (Case: 116)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lui Chia-liang
Studio
Distributor
Shaw Bros
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Lui Chia-liang
Hui Ya-hung
Hsiao Hou
Wang Lung-wei
Tang Wei-cheng
Chaun Yung-wen
Tsao Ta-hua
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $24.95 Music Eddie Wang


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Chinese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    In Hong Kong cinema long before Golden Harvest and superstars such as Bruce Lee and Jacky Chan introduced Hong Kong films to Western audiences there were the Shaw Brothers. Thankfully some of their prodigious output is now getting a DVD release in Western markets, including Australia. My Young Auntie is perhaps not a typical example of their kung fu portfolio nor the best regarded work of Director Liu Chai-liang (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) but that does not mean it is not an entertaining, fun filled romp full of broad comedy, swordfights and Kung Fu. Not to mention the comic and physical talents of the wonderful Kara Hui.

    To avoid his property and inheritance going to his wastrel brother, a dying man weds a young woman named Cheng Tai-nan (Hui Ya-hung, known in English as Kara Hui), intending that she will be able to pass on the inheritance to his nephew instead. After his death Tai-nan travels to the home of the nephew, the middle aged Yu Ching-chuen (Liu Chia-liang) with a son of his own, Charlie (Hsiao Hou), about to return from university in Hong Kong.

    For the first half of the film the comedy revolves around the inversion of traditional Chinese values as the young auntie, with her senior rank in Chinese society, affirms her position over men much her senior, while gradually becoming attracted to Charlie despite herself. He in turn is annoyed by having to treat a woman his age as his "senior" and predictable mistakes and miscommunications occur. The other thread of the film concerns the conflict between the modern "civilized" values (and western dress) of Charlie and his university friends and the older, traditional Chinese values of Tai-nan and Ching-chuen. And of course, the wastrel brother is not about to give up the inheritance easily. What follows is a masquerade ball with costumes, music, dancing, kung fu and sword fights, all played for comedy, before the inheritance documents are stolen. This requires Tai-nan, Charlie and Ching-chuen and his elderly friends to show their true nature and fighting abilities to get the documents back.

    At the core of the film is the performance of Kara Hui, the young auntie. She won the best actress award at the 1982 Hong Kong Film Awards for her work and she carries the film with total aplomb. She is funny, sexy and radiant and her dancing background is fully exploited in her kung fu sequences. She is surely worth the price of the DVD all by herself. Some of the other comedy in My Young Auntie may not necessarily work for western audiences but, for example, if you ever wanted to know how a young woman can fight in a long split skirt and high heels while trying to keep her dignity more or less intact, this is the film for you. The fight sequences show their age, but they are mostly fun and played in such good, light-hearted spirit that one goes along with them. And of course it all comes out right in the end.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    My Young Auntie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is the original ratio and is enhanced for widescreen TVs. This is a good clean restored print without obvious artefacts, marks or blemishes. There is some loss in sharpness and clarity, especially in the outdoor scenes, but the scenes in the interior sets are generally clear and crisp - see for example the clarity of detail at 12.08 when the young auntie first arrives at the nephew's home. During the night scenes blacks are solid and shadow detail fine. Colours are mostly natural looking but in some sequences the reds especially seem boosted which does effect skin tones. None of this is particularly troublesome, and for an almost 30 year old film this is an excellent release. The quality of theatrical trailer (included on the DVD) shows just how much the print has been restored.

    Lip synchronisation is very approximate – as usual in Hong Kong films of the period all dialogue was added later and it it pretty obvious. Subtitles available are English, Spanish and English for the Hearing Impaired. The English subtitles are generally good but occasionally flash past too quickly and do contain errors such as “don’t meddle with these scums” (10.26 m) or “want to take people’s advantage” (10.56 m). The hearing impaired subtitles do not add a lot of information.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio options are Mandarin 2.0 and English 2.0, although both are mono tracks with all audio directed to the centre speaker and no surround encoding. However, it does do what is expected and dialogue and effects are clear and well defined. Obviously there is no sub woofer use.

    The score is a diverse mix of undistinguished stock music; it neither really enhances or detracts from the film experience.

    The English dub is not as bad as some I have heard. However, some of the comedy in the film occurs in the Mandarin when Charlie uses English phrases to put down Tai-nan, which of course is lost in the dubbed version.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Interviews-Cast: Kara Hui (Chinese with English subtitles 12.34 minutes)

    Hui is an engaging speaker who obviously remembers My Young Auntie with affection. She speaks about her background as a dancer, her various co-stars on the film plus some on set memories, including how she filmed her first fight scenes when she could hardly stand because she was recovering from a very recent appendicitis operation and how she was required to do 140 takes of an action sequence that left her the worse for wear.

Audio Commentary by Film Critics Andy Klein & Elvis Mitchell.

    The cover slick incorrectly identifies the commentary as being by Andy Klein & David Chute but it is actually Andy Klein & Elvis Mitchell who are recorded together. The commentary is chatty rather than technical and does drift into “this is a good bit” territory. Plot points are covered, with some interesting observations, but the commentary does not provide a lot of information about the filming. The short interview also included on the DVD is better background for an understanding of the film.

Interview with Film Scholars David Chute & Andy Klein (7.17 minutes).

    This is an interesting and useful introduction to My Young Auntie. Filmed separately, they discuss the influence of female martial artists in Hong Kong films, star Kara Hui & director Liu Chai-liang.

Trailers

    My Young Auntie Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer (not in great condition - 2.35:1, DD 2.0, 4.11 minutes), New Home Video Trailer (2.35:1, DD2.0, 1.02 minutes).

     Shaw Bros. trailers: The One-Armed Swordsman (very poor condition with many scratches and artifacts – 2.35:1, DD2.0 mono, 3.52 minutes), The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (not in good condition - 2.35:1, DD2.0, 3.43 minutes). These two trailers are the original Shaw Bros. trailers.

    The Shaw Bros. Collection: A montage totalling 1.29 minutes of available Dragon Dynasty releases; included are One Armed Swordsman, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, King Boxer & My Young Auntie. Good condition.

Gallery-Photo

    Stills Gallery 40 stills; they are silent and you must use the remote to advance.

Commentator Biographies

    One silent text page each for Andy Klein and Elvis Mitchell.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 and Region 4 are identical, except for NTSC / PAL differences. Region 3 has an NTSC release with Cantonese & Mandarin DD5.1, a behind the scenes photo gallery and English subtitles. However, there have been issues reported with the audio. There is no reason to go beyond our R4 release.

Summary

    In Hong Kong before Golden Harvest, Bruce Lee or Jacky Chan there were the Shaw Brothers. My Young Auntie is perhaps not a typical example of their Kung Fu output nor the best regarded work of Director Liu Chai-liang (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) but that does not mean it is not an entertaining, fun filled romp full of broad comedy and Kung Fu. And of course it is a great showcase for the wonderful comic and physical talents of Kara Hui.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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