張寶堅 | CHOR Yuen

Looking back, I had made films in many different genres, served in companies of various sizes, and had made the transition from Cantonese to Mandarin films. I most treasure the period at the end of the Cantonese film era, about the time when I made Winter Love and The Prodigal. I was at the age when I was most developed. The other memorable period was when I made the Ku Lung films. From Killer Clans onwards, I think about ten of the films are still watchable. In the film business, only one in ten thousand achieve success, and among the successful, one in a hundred made money, and of filmmakers who made money, only one in a hundred managed to save any. Looking at the whole film industry, few enjoy a good living. Even those who made a box office hit may not last and disappear after one or two years. Isn’t this too much?

(Quoted from Grace Ng and Kwok Ching-ling ed., Oral History of Hong Kong Film Professionals: Chor Yuen, Hong Kong Film Archive, 2006, pp 44-45.)


Chor Yuen was born in 1934 in Guangzhou, the son of famed Cantonese film actor Cheung Wood-yau. He came to Hong Kong in 1956 and worked under such directors as Ng Wui, Chu Kea and Chan Man as screenwriter and assistant director. The following year, he was promoted to the post of co-director and completed Blood Valley (1957 )and Moon over Malaya (1957) with Chun Kim.

In 1959, he directed Grass by the Lake on his own, but he rose to fame with the 1960 The Great Devotion, which depicts the lives of poor and ordinary Hong Kong people. Much of his work during this period of his career was literary in nature, and included such works as A Man Betrayal (1962), Love & Roses (1963), The Mad Woman (1964), Winter Love (1968), The Joys and Sorrows of Youth (1969) and The Prodigal (1969). Love & Roses was produced under Rose Motion Picture Company, which he founded with his wife, the actress Nam Hung, and explored the struggle between art and commerce through the story of a painter.

Chor Yuen also directed many comedies, including The Precious Mirror (1967) and Young, Pregnant and Unmarried (1968), which fully utilized the comedic potential of the young stars Josephine Siao and Chan Po-chu. In The Dairy of a Husband (1964), Chor Yuen allowed veteran Cheung Ying-choi to give a performance quite unlike his usual persona. In addition, he made the action films Black Rose (1965) and Spy with My Face (1966), forerunners of the Jane Bond films popular in the late 1960s.

At the end of the 1960s, as the Cantonese film industry suffered a downturn, Chor was forced to switch to making Mandarin films. In 1970 he joined the Cathay Film Company, and made four films that included Violet Clove & Fire-bird and Cold Blade. The next year he joined Shaw Brothers Studio and directed the suspense martial arts drama Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972). Not only is the story driven by dramatic twists and turns, it also features a rare erotic lesbianism, and the film went on to become one of Chor’s best-known works. In 1973, he adapted a Shanghai stage play into the comedy The House of 72 Tenants in the Cantonese dialect that had been banished from films. The film, with its keenly observed social satire, broke box office records and led to a renaissance of Cantonese cinema.

Starting with Killer Clans (1976), Chor adapted over twenty Ku Lung martial arts novels into film, including Magic Blade (1976), Clans of Intrigue (1977), Murder Plot (1979) and The Proud Twins (1979), etc. He injected a sense of romanticism and a literary touch into Ku Lung’s fantasy martial arts novels, breaking new grounds for the martial arts cinema. In 1979, he won the Best Action Film Director Award at the 25th Asia Film Festival for Murder Plot. Chor also adapted many Louis Cha novels to the screen, including Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (1978) and The Emperor and His Brother (1981), as well as writer Wong Ying’s Bat Without Wings (1980) and Roving Swordsman (1983). In 1985 he left Shaw Brothers and directed such films as Last Song in Paris (1986) and Sleazy Dizzy (1990).

Chor had also appeared in front of the camera, receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 4th Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in Cherie (1984). He joined Television Broadcast (TVB) as an actor in 1991 and retired in 2004.

Over a career spanning more than 40 years, Chor directed over 120 films, most of which struck the difficult balance between the demands of box office and art. In 1998, he was awarded the Professional Spirit Award at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards in recognition of his contribution to Hong Kong cinema.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1990 《小偷阿星》
Sleazy Dizzy
1990 《李香君》
The Legend of Lee Heung Kwan
1990 《血在風上》
Blood Stained Tradewinds
1988 《大丈夫日記》
The Diary of a Big Man
1987 《良宵花弄月》
That Enchanting Night
1986 《偶然》
Last Song in Paris
1985 《花心紅杏》
Fascinating Affairs
1985 《替槍老豆》
Let's Have a Baby
1984 《魔殿屠龍》
The Hidden Power of Dragon Sabre
1984 《愛奴新傳》
Lust for Love of a Chinese Courtesan
1983 《大俠沈勝衣》
Roving Swordsman
1983 《瘋狂83》
Mad, Mad, 83
1983 《日劫》
Descendant of the Sun
1983 《妖魂》
The Enchantress
1982 《楚留香之幽靈山莊》
Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman
1982 《浣花洗劍》
Spirit of the Sword
1981 《魔劍俠情》
Return of the Sentimental Swordsman
1981 《書劍恩仇錄》
The Emperor and His Brother
1981 《陸小鳳之決戰前後》
The Duel of the Century
1981 《黑蜥蜴》
Black Lizard
1980 《插翅難飛》
The Convict Killer
1980 《碟仙》
Haunted Tales MOU Tun Fei
1980 《英雄無淚》
Heroes Shed No Tears
1980 《無翼蝙蝠》
Bat Without Wings
1979 《圓月彎刀》
Full Moon Scimitar
1979 《孔雀王朝》
Murder Plot
1979 《絕代雙驕》
The Proud Twins
1979 《小樓殘夢》
The Forbidden Past
1978 《陸小鳳傳奇之一綉花大盜》
Clan of Amazons
1978 《蝙蝠傳奇》
Legend of the Bat
1978 《倚天屠龍記》
Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre
1978 《倚天屠龍記大結局》
Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre Part II
1978 《蕭十一郎》
Swordsman and Enchantress
1977 《白玉老虎》
The Jade Tiger
1977 《多情劍客無情劍》
The Sentimental Swordsman
1977 《明月刀雪夜殲仇》
Pursuit of Vengeance
1976 《流星.蝴蝶.劍》
Killer Clans
1976 《天涯.明月.刀》
The Magic Blade
1976 《五毒天羅》
The Web of Death
1976 《辭郎洲》
Farewell to a Warrior
1976 《楚留香》
Clans of Intrigue
1975 《新啼笑因緣》
Lovers Destiny
1975 《大劫案》
The Big Holdup
1974 《舞衣》
Sex Love and Hate
1974 《香港73》
Hong Kong 73
1974 《朱門怨》
Sorrow of the Gentry
1973 《土匪》
The Villains
1973 《小雜種》
The Bastard
1973 《煙雨斜陽》
Haze in the Sunset
1973 《七十二家房客》
The House of 72 Tenants
1972 《大殺手》
The Killer
1972 《愛奴》
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan
1972 《壁虎》
The Lizard
1971 《一劍勾魂》
The Ghost's Revenge
1971 《火併》
Duel for Gold
1970 《火鳥第一號》
Violet Clove & Fire-bird
1970 《錄音機情殺案》
Dial for Murder
1970 《玉樓春夢》
The Lost Spring
1970 《我不要離婚》
I Don't Want to Divorce
1970 《龍沐香》
Cold Blade
1969 《冷暖青春》
The Joys and Sorrows of Youth
1969 《聰明太太笨丈夫》
Wise Wives and Foolish Husbands
1969 《浪子》
The Prodigal
1968 《玉女痴情》
The Long Three-Year Wait
1968 《冬戀》
Winter Love
1968 《紫色風雨夜》
Purple Night
1968 《玉女添丁》
Young, Pregnant and Unmarried
1968 《青春戀歌》
1967 《鐵膽恩仇》
1967 《玉女神偷》
The Precious Mirror
1967 《藍色夜總會》
The Man from Interpol
1967 《少女情》
Young Love
1967 《死亡通行証》
A Death Pass
1967 《紅花俠盜》
To Rose with Love
1967 《鑽石大劫案》
Diamond Robbery
1967 《嬌妻》
His Loving Wife
1966 《親情深似海》
Blood Relation
1966 《殘花淚》
Running Tears
1966 《問君能有幾多愁》
How Much Worry You Can Have
1966 《遺產一百萬》
1966 《黑玫瑰與黑玫瑰》
Spy with My Face
1966 《賊美人》
The Thief with Baby Face
1966 《神秘的血案》
A Fatal Adventure
1966 《我愛紫羅蘭》
The Violet Girl
1966 《小康之家》
Little Foursome Family
1965 《黑玫瑰》
Black Rose
1965 《化身情人》
Lover in Disguise
1965 《春怨》
Spring Obsession
1965 《罪人》
The Sinner
1965 《罪人下集大結局》
The Sinner Part 2
1965 《蜜月》
1965 《丈夫的秘密》
Secrets of a Husband
1965 《原來我負卿》
1965 《情海茫茫》
Boundless Love
1965 《情海金枝》
An Ocean of Love
1965 《春殘花未落》
Love Never Fades
1965 《情天劫》
A Love's Tragedy
1965 《相思湖畔》
Silent Love
1964 《高處不勝寒》
Too High to Touch
1964 《大丈夫日記》
The Dairy of a Husband
1964 《糊塗太太》
A Blundering Wife
1964 《死亡角之夜》
A Deadly Night
1964 《情海幽蘭》
Everlasting Love
1964 《魂斷奈何天》
Their Lost Romance
1964 《大丈夫日記下集》
The Dairy of a Husband, Part 2
1964 《瘋婦》
The Mad Woman
1964 《滿堂吉慶》
Happiness Reigns Everywhere NG Wui
1963 《情之所鍾》
Love will Tell
1963 《含淚的玫瑰》
Love & Roses
1963 《昨夜夢魂中》
1962 《患難真情》
Miracle of Love
1962 《孽海遺恨》
A Man Betrayal
1962 《孽海遺恨續集大結局》
A Man Betrayal Part 2
1962 《清明時節》
Ching Ming Festival
1961 《情天未老》
Love Never Die
1961 《夜半幽靈》
The Psycho
1960 《秋風殘葉》
Autumn Leaves
1960 《可憐天下父母心》
The Great Devotion
1959 《湖畔草》
Grass by the Lake
1959 《風雨幽蘭》
Twilight of Love
1957 《九九九海灘命案》
Murder on the Beach CHAN Man
1957 《血染相思谷》
Blood Valley
1957 《椰林月》
Moon Over Malaya
1077 《三少爺的劍》
Death Duel