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Comicality in Long Live the Mistress and the Making of a Chinese Comedy of Manners

《太太萬歲》的喜劇性及中國式風俗喜劇之製作

Abstracts


This paper examines Wenhua Studio's 1947 film Long Live the Mistress, an exemplary collaboration between Sang Hu and Zhang Ailing, from the perspective of comedy of manners. More specifically, it explores how the scriptwriter Zhang Ailing has modified the Western model of comedy of manners in consideration of the film's targeted Chinese audiences. The analysis is divided into three parts. The first part discusses both Sang Hu's and Zhang Ailing's emphasis on comedy, analyzing in detail how the former's use of close-ups, mise-en-scene, and non-diegetic sound as well as the latter's application of techniques such as conflicts, coincidences, suspense, contrasts, contradictions, and twists in the storyline, have contributed to the film's comicality. The second part delves into some of Zhang Ailing's essays. It points out that both convincing characterization and attention to Chinese context, in Zhang's view, are key elements for great Chinese films. It also explains how Zhang's characterization in Long Live the Mistress can be see as a parody of the May Fourth radicalism and traditional "talent and beauty" romance. The third part compares the comicality of Long Live the Mistress with the Hollywood screwball comedies, analyzing the film's various characteristics that make it a good example of Chinese comedy of manners. It concludes that Zhang's characterization in Long Live the Mistress echoes with her fictional writing, as social-historical problems are omitted and individual experience highlighted. It, too, posits that comedy provides Zhang a form through which individual sorrows can be effectively articulated. It is within Zhang's desolate aesthetics and urban middle-class viewpoint that the comic vision of Long Live the Mistress should be understood. This understanding revises previous scholarship hailing the female protagonist Chen Sizhen as a triumphant embodiment of women's power.

Parallel abstracts


本文以風俗喜劇的角度分析文華公司1947年出品,由桑狐執導,張愛玲任編劇的電影《太太萬歲》,尤其是張愛玲如何將此源自西方的影劇形式稍作更動,以使其能更符合中國觀影者的品味。文章分三部份,首先討論桑狐以及張愛玲兩人對喜劇的重視,細論桑狐的特寫鏡頭、場景調度、畫外音之使用,以及張愛玲在情節衝突、巧合、懸疑、對比、矛盾、轉折的技巧運用,如何成就了此片的喜劇性。第二部份檢視張愛玲的數篇散文,說明她認為可信的角色形塑和對中國脈絡的關注為成功的中國電影的要件,並闡述張愛玲在《太太萬歲》中的角色塑造如何戲謔了五四的激進主義和傳統的「才子佳人」羅曼史。第三部份比較《太太萬歲》中的喜劇性和好萊塢神經喜劇的異同,分析《太太萬歲》何以可被視作中國式的風俗喜劇的諸多特點。結論指出《太太萬歲》中的角色塑造呼應了張愛玲小說中對社會歷史議題的省略和個人經驗的強調。也論證喜劇提供張愛玲一個可有效地表現個人悲哀的形式。《太太萬歲》的喜劇性應從張愛玲的蒼涼美學和都會中產的視角來理解,而此理解則修正了將女主角陳思珍視為女性權力的成功彰顯的前人研究。

References


Burchfield, R. W.(ed.)(1972).A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary.Oxford:Clarendon P.
Butcher, S. H., ed. and trans. The Poetics of Aristotle. 4th edition. London: Macmillan, 1936. Print
Burge, Duane,Miller, Robert Milton(1991).The Screwball Comedy Films: A History and Filmography, 1934-1942.London:St. James P.
(1998)。超前與跨越:胡金銓與張愛玲。Hong Kong International Film Festival。
陳子善(2001)。說不盡的張愛玲。Taipei:Yuanjing。

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