Empress Yang Kwei-Fei

“Empress Yang Kwei-Fei is a love story that becomes a ghost story before it is over. It concerns the Emperor Huan Tsung, the last great power of the T'ang Dynasty (618-907), who falls in love with and takes for his concubine one Yan Kwei-fei, formerly a scullery maid in her cousin's house. Huan Tsung is an artist, a musician, and a doting lover, but not much of an emperor, and the government of China comes under the control of the girl's relatives, the evil clan of Yang, which includes not only corrupt politicians but also three useless, nasty sisters to the sweet and accomplished Kwei-fei."(Roger Greenspun)
Mizoguchi's first film in color was a co-production between Daiei and Run Run Shaw, though there appears to be some uncertainty as to whether it was shot in Hong Kong or Kyoto studios. In any event, this first Sino-Japanese co-production bears remarkably few traces of the usual aesthetic inflation endemic to international, big-budget ventures of this sort. “It was the first time a film had been made inspired by Chinese history... I believe he's studied the colors of Kyoto's temples and art treasures to find the right colors for his film.” (Yoshikata Yoda)

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