Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Young Lovers (1970) with Jenny Hu

I've had this review saved up for a few weeks but it was only this last Sunday when someone on Facebook hipped me to the fact that today is Jenny Hu's birthday. So, happy birthday Jenny Hu. She turns 65 today.

Director Umetsugu Inoue turns in another bit of silliness in Young Lovers (1970). And -- yet again! -- he provides an excuse to take his young and attractive cast outside of Hong Kong and to Japan.

You'd think that the director's name would inspire more confidence in a viewer as a film starts but the weird version of the theme song from TV"s "Bonanza" that plays under the credits doesn't inspire as much confidence but, rather, dread at another sloppy Shaws comedy from this era.

Ho Fan, future director and star of the Shaw Brothers' Journey to the West series, steps off a plane in Hong Kong looking like one of the guys in The Moody Blues. Seems the rich young man's had a bit of an awakening or something. Yingwei (Ho Fan) now has to break that news to his family and his company's caretakers, including Jenny Hu as Yufeng.

The guy's old grandmother warns Yingwei that he must cut his hair before he can take over the company. The rich kid refuses and the hijinks begin.

Yufeng's father (Paang Paang) is the college graduate's chauffeur and Dean Shek Tin is the company president's assistant.

You know, for all the silliness on display in something like this, there's something cool about the fact that only a few years before this and the two male leads were in that Journey to the West series. Does that say more about the versatility of the Shaws' stable of stars or more about the thriftiness of the studio in reusing talent?

Okay, so Yufeng dons a blonde wig to disguise herself and seduce Yingwei and get him to change his mind and cut his hair so he can takeover the company. Or something.

About a third of this film is devoted to a haircut and I'm not spoiling anything by saying that the guy cuts his hair thanks to Jenny Hu as the mystery blonde.

As the guy dances around his room with a Playboy Playmate centerfold -- ripped from the magazine -- in his arms, he starts to pine for the mystery blonde and so calls up the chauffeur to find the gal and soon Ho Fan is singing a song with Jenny Hu's friends and their rock band.

For a film that pays lip service to the counterculture of the era, it's funny how much of the action centers around getting the rich kid to be a better company president. So much for rocking the status quo in the Shaw Brothers universe.

Soon, the film turns serious as the president gets involved in a sex scandal -- a result of chasing the wrong mystery blonde -- and he sets out to see the "real world" and so leaves Hong Kong.

The guy ends up in a snowy part of Japan and wrapped up with a bunch of kids who are attempting to keep their resort out of the hands of greedy developers.

Really, Young Lovers runs out of steam as the plot takes this turn. Gone is the farcical stuff from the film's opening and in its place is this serious bit about the kids, including the very cute Yue Wai as the girlfriend of one of the roughed-up guys.

A bit more of this silliness and Young Lovers ends in the snow in Japan. Not an essential Umetsugu Inoue flick but one with a few pleasures, notably in that first section of the film.

I watched Young Lovers on VCD, but you can buy it on DVD here.