Saturday, August 02, 2008

Old Chinese Movies (For Free!)

I've become a fan of old Chinese movies, and I'm trying to put my entire collection online. Unfortunately, this has proven problematic, for too many reasons to get into. However, here are a number of older Chinese movies that are freely available for download - Chinese movies become Public Domain the year following their 50th anniversary of creation.

For those who just want to try a new cinema out, I'll quickly recommend the toppermost of the poppermost. My favorite is probably Spring in a Small Town (1948), with English subtitles separately available. It's a minimalist melodrama and quite lovely, there's also a decent re-make from a few years back.

Other top movies include The Goddess (1934), which is a silent movie with English intertitles, and Scenes of City Life (1935). These are both set in a corrupt 30s Shanghai, and both have been talked about before on this blog. "Scenes of City Life" was followed up by the slightly more upbeat Street Angel (1937) which has English subtitles separately available.

I'll make a quick list of the movies I know are available. They're all taken from archive.org. Many of them are available on DVD in the US, and can be rented from, say, Netflix.

English Subtitled:
Spring in a Small Town (1948) (subtitles)
The Goddess (1934)
Scenes of City Life (1935)
Street Angel (1937) (subtitles)
Princess Iron Fan (1941)
This Life of Mine (1950)

Chinese Only:
The Big Road (1934)
New Women (1934)
Queen of Sports (1934)
Song of the Fishermen (1934)
Crossroads (1937)
The Spring River Flows East, Part 1: Eight War-Torn Years (1947)
The Spring River Flows East, Part 2: The Dawn (1947)

I personally view my videos using BSPlayer 1.37. Unlike newer versions of the program it's spyware-free, but it's starting to show its age. Additionally, most computers made in the last five years will have video-out, and can be easily plugged into a TV.

I'll try to write an update to this post soon, as I find more Chinese movies and get more posted online. I'd appreciate any tips if people know where to find more. Thanks a lot to archive.org for freely hosting these movies.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you name this Chinese movie for me?
Here is what I remember... It's all so vague. A woman's mother is ill, on her death bed perhaps. The daughter comes to visit, her mother clearly does NOT want her there. She ignores her mother's request to leave. She cuts herself and bleeds into some soup she's prepared for her mother to drink, to make her better. Supposedly the highest honor you can do for your sick parent.. I think. The woman had a child out of wedlock, but you dont learn till the end of the movie that she was raped. Her having a child out of wedlock is what brought shame to her parents house and is why her mother hates her. The man this woman married has other wives. She is not the fist wife. She and her daughter (the child she had out of wedlock) are treated poorly by the other wives. I think at one point she has a son, but one of the other wives steal the child from her and go on to raise it as her own?? She ends up killing herself and somehow the daughter discovers that the boy is in fact her brother and blames the sister wife for the death of her mother. What is th name of this movie??? It was so long ago that I watched it. Thanks in advance for your help!
Email me at danielandjennifer@gmail.com

Mia said...

The movie you are referring to is based on a book from 1992 I think by Amy Tan called "The Joy Luck Club" and that was one 4 stories. There's actually 8 stories in total: 4 of the moms, 4 from the daughters.

tristansegovia said...

have you heard of a movie called Susanna? I saw it as a young girl in korea around 1970. Please if you have where could I get hold of it. Thanks.

Sara said...

hey there.. im glad i found ur blog... i too have a memory of a very old Chinese movie my grandfather used to play when i was very little.. but its title was missing.. its about a chinese empire.. where there is a king and a queen and their daughter mariam/malium who is about to get married to a handsome prince... the queen dies and the new queen is really evil.. she thinks that the king will give everything to her.. so she burns mariam's face.. the only one whos knows about this is an old maid who takes care of mariam .. then the king dies too .. and the evil queen makes the maid drink poison and kills her... then she makes the maid's daughter dress up and act as a bride and her face is hidden with a veil so that the prince wouldnt know since he and mariam were in love... but this girl loved mariam and she writes a letter to mariam letting her know all this... and when the prince comes in.. she tells him too and drinks poison and dies...
meanwhile the queen sends mariam away to the mountains.... so while she's on her way .. the prince has already found out.. and he is racing against time to reach his love.. but by the time he reaches her.. i think mariam has jumped off a cliff and committed suicide.. i think.. and the evil queen burns herself and the entire place too.. something like tht.. would u happen to know this movie.. please please tell .. thanks..