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 HKCinemagic 2

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The HUI Brothers saga
Start of the Hui Bros 1/1 - Page 1
Info
Author(s) : Laurent Henry
Thomas Podvin
Date : 1/11/1999
Type(s) : Information
Analysis
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Michael Hui Kun Man
Sam Hui Koon Kit
Bruce Lee
Li Han Hsiang
Movies :
Games Gamblers Play
The Last Message
The Warlord
Companies :
Golden Harvest
Shaw Brothers
 
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Page 2 : A successful trio


Michael, Samuel and Ricky Hui dominated the box office from the mid seventies to the mid eighties. The most popular films the trio made together were The Private Eyes, The Contract and Security Unlimited. The recipe was the same for the three movies: no real story, gags one after another, and the brothers jokingly denounced the HK society shortcomings.

 

From Shaw Brother to Golden Harvest

Employed by the Shaw Brothers, Michael Hui, a former teacher, started in TV shows in 1971. He was quickly joined by his brother Sam Hui, one of the most popular singers in Hong-Kong in the sixties with his band The Lotus. They both hosted the 'Hui Brother Show', a programme mixing sketches and songs performed by Sam. It was a tremendous success and they did over 50 episodes of the show.

In 1972, Michael developed some interest in the cinematic world. He participated to a few Shaw Bros. productions and worked with the comedy specialist Li Han Hsiang (The Warlord by Li Han-hsiang, 1972, being the most noticeable). But he realised quickly that the rigid and strict system of the Shaw studios didn't let him enough freedom to express himself.

 


The Warlord

 

Meanwhile, Sam left the Shaw Bros. Company to work with Golden Harvest, where Bruce Lee, very fond of his songs, taught him some martial art moves. Sam did a few action films for Golden Harvest. Michael joined him at the Golden Harvest and they were immediately successful with the Game Gambler Play (1974), a comedy about HK people number one hobby, i.e. gambling. This was written and directed by Michael. They carried on with The Last Message released in 1975. It's a comedy taking place in a mental hospital, where Michael and Sam always try to perform the best con.

Sam and Michael's first movies made huge hits because they integrated a social satire to Cantonese sense of humour, a novelty in the local cinema. They allowed then the Golden Harvest to stand up after the lost of Bruce Lee. It's worth noting that these successes have contributed to rehabilitate films in Cantonese language and to outdo movies in Mandarin language. But if Game Gambler Play and The Last Message grossed a lot of money in HK, the sense of humour displayed was mainly verbal and very much full of Cantonese jokes. Full of typical HK features, these first films worked for locals. But the Hui Bros. had to find a way to conquer South East Asian markets.

 


Michael Hui
 
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