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Princess Iron Fan

Hong Kong 1966
produced by
Shaw Brothers
directed by Ho Meng-hua
starring Ho Fan, Yueh Hua, Peng Peng, Cheng Pei-Pei, Pat Ting Hung, Lily Ho, Cheng Miu
based on the novel Journey to the West

Journey to the West, Monkey King, Monkey (1960's Shaw Brothers)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Continuing their journey to the West from The Monkey goes West, monk Tang (Ho Fan), Monkey (Yueh Hua), Pigsy (Peng Peng) & Sandy encounter the Flaming Mountain, a mountain so heated up that the whole surrouhndings suffer a great drought from it. Our heroes soon come to the conclusion they have to have a magic Fan that is owned by Princess Iron Fan (Pat Ting Hung). But the princess is an evil person, who puts her own belongings over mercy or caring for others. So Monkey decides to use some trickery (he has magical powers after all) to get to the fan, first shrinking to microscopic size, entering her stomach & giving her pain from the inside. She now agrees to hand over the fan, but only gives monkey a fake. Now Monkey decides to take on the form of the Princess's husband, Brother Ox Demon (Cheng Miu), & the way to the fan even leads Monkey, as Ox Demon, through her bed. But then the real Ox Demon shows up, & he soon picks a fight with the Princess, who still thinks the fake one & the real one one & the same demon. Enraged, Ox Demon leaves again, making her cry. Monkey, almost out of the Princess' palace, decides to turn into Ox Demon again out of mercy & console the woman. Soon confusion ensues & Monkey is unmasked by the real Ox Demon. & even when Monkey finally manages to escape with the fan, Ox Demon tricks him once more by turning into Pigsy, taking the fan from Monkey again. A fight ensues that can only be stopped by the deities, who, due to the monks sacred cause, are on his (& thus Monkey's) side & force Iron Fan & Ox Demon to lend them the fan for safe passage over Flaming Mountain.

But even though this danger is mastered, evil still awaits our friends on their journey, as 2 monsters turn into pretty girls (Cheng Pei-Pei, Lily Ho) & try to kidnap monk Tang. Of our travellers, only Monkey smells foul play, & he fights the girls - much to the shock of his companions. When the monster-girls even fake their deaths during fight, the monk is shocked of Monkey's fierceness. & not only that, then the parents of the girls (who are in fact the very same monsters) show up ... again only Monkey sees through their disguise. When he fights & (seemingly) kills them too, monk Tang sees no other way but to expell Monkey. 

He, Pigsy & Sandy go to a nearby temple to mourn for the dead, only to encounter it's not a temple after all but the monsters' cave, & they went into a trap. Pigsy manages to escape, & he begs Monkey to come back - who shows little interest though, & soon Pigsy is caught by the monsters too. When the monsters' mother arrives, too, everything seems to be set for a banquet with monk Tang as the main course - until mother has the monsters vividly describe the trickery with which they caught the monk, making it finally apparent to him & his companions of how they misjudged Monkey. But fear not, monkey is already in their midst, as he now appears as - the monsters' mother. & he beats the monsters & frees his friends to continue their jouney to the West.

 

Second movie in a 4-movie-series based on Journey to the West, this is another childish, colourful & enjoyable fantasy-romp full of delightfully cheesy special effects, costumes & studio-sets. Besides, it has garnered some reputation of being the first movie that co-starred Cheng Pei-Pei & Yueh Hua, who only months later also starred in the seminal martial arts movie Come Drink with Me by King Hu.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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