Hard to see this as anything but good news for the perpetually troubled (but amazingly hard to kill) Hong Kong film industry: Shaw Brothers
and Golden Harvest
moving back into film production.
With money, talent, and material all in ample supply thanks to prudent management and their connections with television giant TVB, Shaw Brothers has long been in a position of simply being able to say "OK, we're gonna make some movies now." On and off, they've done just that - besides operating under the Cosmopolitan Film Production Co. Ltd. name for much of the 1990s, Shaw Brothers used their own name on 1996's THE KING OF MASKS
, 1997's HERO
(not the Zhang Yimou film), and 2002's DRUNKEN MONKEY
. This, however, is the first time I've heard about them having what's looking like an actual slate of films - Herman Yau's TURNING POINT
is imminent, and a sequel to the 1973 hit HOUSE OF 72 TENANTS
and a romantic comedy with the working title LOVE EXPERT are both forthcoming.
Golden Harvest's revival is a different and somewhat less promising (but still better than nothing) story - where Shaw Brothers is still Shaw Brothers
, the revived Golden Harvest is a Mainland company merged with the remains of the once-great Hong Kong studio which produced its last film in 2003. They are relaunching the brand with a few low-to-medium budget productions, and ultimately it has about as much to do with Golden Harvest as the current incarnation of MGM has to do with the company that made SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Like MGM, their library is, for the most part, long gone; unlike today's MGM they don't own several other studio's mammoth-sized libraries to compensate - just the few Golden Harvest films produced between mid-1998 and 2003, and an unknown number of films made by Win's Entertainment (including Stephen Chow/Lee Lik-Chi's FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE
) that they bought at some point after selling the remnants of their own library to Warners in 1999.