Friday, July 30, 2010

Young Lovers (1979) with Derek Yee

I went into my viewing of Young Lovers (1979) with very low expectations but -- and here's the thing -- even a bad Shaw Brothers film from this era will usually provide some pleasure. In this case, it's a lot of location shots of Hong Kong circa 1978 and 1979.

Okay, so Derek Yee plays poor college student Junming who is love with rich girl Lamjin (Candice Yu). Her parents -- Goo Man Chung playing a modern character for a change and the ubiquitous Ouyang Sha-Fei -- disapprove. Junming's brother is involved in a murder case and the drama ratchets up from there.

To help support his family, Junming gets a job at the Holiday Inn (in Tsim Sha Tsui?) and meets the lovely Yili (Lam Yi-Wa) while busing tables. She's "a rich man's toy" (to quote a Luke Haines song) and now Derek is in love with two different rich girls.

Anyway, the film takes a decidedly weird turn with a slow-motion wet T-shirt scene involving the girl -- the result of Junming's turning the garden hose on her. Is Young Lovers a sex comedy or a distaff Romeo and Juliet like the DVD case promised?

So, because of the crime his brother is associated with -- a crime that gives the producers an excuse for a brothel scene with some surprising full frontal nudity for a HK film -- Junming has to flee to his relatives' house on Lantau Island and Candice Yu comes along.

There's more class drama, doomed romance, and copious nudity from Lam Yi-Wa.

Really, it's hard to recommend Young Lovers for anything beyond the nudity and views of Hong Kong streets circa 1979.

This was a fairly early release in the Shaw Brothers reissue series and, unsurprisingly, it's not anamorphic widescreen. However, it is a bit surprising that a 1979 film is not presented with a Cantonese language track as surely this was shown in Cantonese in Hong Kong when originally released, right?

You can order Young Lovers on DVD here.