Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lily Ho in The Casino

The Casino (1972)

This 76-minute film started promisingly enough but, unfortunately, The Casino quickly descended into a standard kung fu picture. Of course, when the beatdowns are being served by Yueh Hua, it's probably still worth watching, right?

Lily Ho stars as casino owner, Miss Cui -- the subtitles never indicated a first name. Enter Luo Tianguang (Yueh Hua) who, in a clever sequence, proves himself to be an almost supernaturally good gambler which may be due to his unique ability to hear the dice as they are rolling under cover.

Not only that, Tianguang roots out master cheater, Hao Lishan (Shek Kin).

Luo Tianguang reveals himself to be the man that Miss Cui has been betrothed to by her family and so the two start to discuss marriage. However, Tianguang almost wants Miss Cui to close the casino for moral reasons which is sure to anger the many people making money from the place.

Feng Chen from the The Human Goddess plays Yueh Hua's friend, Lun Liu who enters the picture at about this time.

Shaw stalwart Fan Mei Sheng plays the crooked Captain Fan who gets involved in the action as enemies grow around Luo Tianguang.

And -- SPOILER -- Lily Ho's character gets murdered mid-way through this thing as well.

That plot point kind of robbed me of some of my interest in the picture as the fighting intensified. But, like I said, Yueh Hua is a great performer and the fight scenes are brisk and expertly framed and shot.

The score also had some nice touches.

On the whole, an average -- maybe rushed? -- picture from the Shaw Studios, circa 1972.

You can order The Casino on DVD here.

Photos: [Yes Asia/Celestial Pictures]